July 17: Farmers’ market, Fort McHenry, the Inner Harbor, and the drive-in

Today was a four-part day.

We got up early and went to a farmers’ market under a freeway in downtown Baltimore, where Teri picked up her weekly CSA allotment of veggies, then, after we dropped them back off at the house and ate a breakfast of big, gooey cinnamon rolls also purchased there, we headed to Fort McHenry, a national historic site on a point of land in Baltimore’s harbor, where the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem took place. It’s a classic star fort (the shape of the embankments and buildings), with re-enactors marching around wearing wool in this ungodly heat, and playing the fife and drums. In a way, it kind of reminded me of Fort Larned in Kansas, only instead of being surrounded by prairie, it was surrounded by water.

This is the commander of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, which is the battle the national anthem was written about. You can't see the expression on his face, but he looks *bored.*
This is the commander of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, which is the battle the national anthem was written about. You can’t see the expression on his face, but he looks *bored.*
This was a neat map of Chesapeake Bay in concrete behind the visitor center.
This was a neat map of Chesapeake Bay in concrete behind the visitor center.
Soldiers doing the fife and drum thing in wool uniforms in the hot sun in 90+dF temperatures and humidity at Fort McHenry. They were good at it, though.
Soldiers doing the fife and drum thing in wool uniforms in the hot sun in 90+dF temperatures and humidity at Fort McHenry. They were good at it, though.
A view of the inside of Fort McHenry. That's the powder magazine in the barn-like building.
A view of the inside of Fort McHenry. That’s the powder magazine in the barn-like building.
Looking out over Chesapeake Bay from the embankment trail at Fort McHenry.
Looking out over Chesapeake Bay from the embankment trail at Fort McHenry.
And another statue (I think this one is of Armistead, too, but I wouldn't swear to it). Anyway, he was startling when I came around the corner.
And another statue (I think this one is of Armistead, too, but I wouldn’t swear to it). Anyway, he was startling, staring so intently, when I came around the corner.

I learned a lot about the battle, and the War of 1812, and that Key was actually in the custody of the British when he wrote the lyrics, and lots of good bits of information to fit into my mind as steel trap for useless trivia (well, not useless, but you know what I mean).

The Enoch Pratt Free (public) library, which is famous in certain circles (I remember it being written up in Library Journal years ago). It happened to be near where we ate lunch.
The Enoch Pratt Free (public) library, which is famous in certain circles (I remember it being written up in Library Journal years ago). It happened to be near where we ate lunch.
Baltimore has a Washington Monument, too.
Baltimore has a Washington Monument, too.

We were going to take the water taxi over to the Inner Harbor area to eat lunch, but it turns out you can only buy tickets on the Inner Harbor side, so we got back in the car and Teri drove us through downtown Baltimore again [wry g] to a place to eat lunch, and then parked near the Inner Harbor where we explored around. This was the place that reminded me of Victoria, although it’s more just the geography (the harbor surrounded by the city thing) than anything else.

"Chessie" paddle boats on the Inner Harbor. Apparently Chesapeake Bay is supposed to have a Loch Ness type monster the way Lake Champlain is supposed to.
“Chessie” paddle boats on the Inner Harbor. Apparently Chesapeake Bay is supposed to have a Loch Ness type monster the way Lake Champlain is supposed to.
The USS Constellation, on Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The USS Constellation, on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. It's a screwpile lighthouse, which was common on Chesapeake Bay. In the 80s it was relocated to the Inner Harbor and renovated into a museum. I'd never seen a screwpile lighthouse before, so I found it fascinating.
The Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. It’s a screwpile lighthouse, which was common on Chesapeake Bay. In the 80s it was relocated to the Inner Harbor and renovated into a museum. I’d never seen a screwpile lighthouse before, so I found it fascinating.
An interesting old building near the waterfront. I'm told it was a museum, but it's no longer open.
An interesting old building near the waterfront. I’m told it was a museum, but it’s no longer open.

The highlights were McCormick Spices’ flagship store, the USS Constellation, and one of the more unusual lighthouses I’ve ever seen. But it was ungodly hot again, and we were all fading fast by the time we got back to the car. I really enjoyed it, though.

Then, that evening, we drove to the other side of Baltimore, to a drive-in theater which claims to have the biggest screen in the United States. It’s gigantic, I’ll give you that. The whole place, though, is a serious throwback to the 1950s, including some of the most un-PC concession advertisements I’ve ever seen in my life. They’ve also got rules out the ying-yang and are apparently control freaks about them. But it was fun. Oh, and I enjoyed Finding Dory, and, to a lesser extent, The BFG (double feature and a short to begin with – the short was a Pixar thing about sandpipers). But we didn’t get back to Teri’s house until almost two a.m. It was worth it, though.

Today we’re just sitting around – we were going to go to the Great Falls of the Potomac and hike around a bit, but it was 95dF when I went outside this morning, so that got nixed. After three days of pretty much solid sightseeing in this heat, we’re taking it easy (and I’m doing laundry) until this evening when we’ll be driving down towards DC for the listee dinner. I’m really looking forward to that. Then tomorrow I shall be picking Loralee up at the airport!

Which reminds me, I really need to clear off Merlin’s passenger seat and make space in the back for her suitcase before then.