We woke up on Monday to another day of beautifully clear skies. Our flight was scheduled to leave BWI at 10PM, so we had plenty of time to wander the city some more. We slowed down for the morning, and took our time with breakfast at the hotel and packing up our bags. Once we checked out, we left our bags in storage again, and hit the road.
We walked down to the nearest Charm City Circulator stop, and took the Banner Line all the way out to Fort McHenry. I knew I wanted to see the fort, but I saved it for Monday due to the free admission dates for 2017 from the National Park Service. The National Park Service is also waiving fees for a few days in April, August, September, and November. It couldn’t have lined up any better – the weather was perfect for walking along the water’s edge at the park, and the kiddo loved exploring the old fort and checking out the massive cannons that protected the harbour during the War of 1812. Fort McHenry is the subject of the Star Spangled Banner, and has been passed off between active military forces and the National Park Service a number of times throughout it’s history.
We continued to ride the Circulator throughout the day, and took the Banner Line back to Federal Hill Park (that’s the featured image in last night’s post. We let the kiddo run the playground, while we looked for someplace to eat. We decided to head back down to Fells Point for lunch, this time taking the Banner Line back into the city and then the Orange Line out to the Fells Point area that we enjoyed so much the previous night.
We dipped into the Fells Point Tavern for some lunch and cold beer with the sun overhead. The food was good, and we sampled some more local flavors from Raven Beer. We took our time with our late lunch, enjoying the sunshine and savoring the last meal of the trip. We followed lunch up with a walk back to the inner harbour and then to the hotel, ice cream cones in hand.
Having picked up our bags, we hung out in the hotel lobby for a bit, and then caught the light rail to airport. Only in the last hour of the trip did I start to catch onto everyone’s warnings about the city. Honestly, the light rail wasn’t very different from the MBTA in Boston, but I understand when people get nervous. Different folks on the train make for very different experiences, and if you’re tired or in a new environment, your sense of danger is only heightened (even if the danger is imagined). Understanding that Baltimore is a city, and every city has good and bad parts, and a huge range of people living there, we smiled and settled into the light rail for the ride down to BWI. The airport is about 45 minutes to an hour south of downtown Baltimore via the light rail.
We arrived at the airport around 7:30PM, far too early for our 10PM flight. Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was virtually empty at that time of night on a Sunday, though there was a notable influx of travellers around 9PM for some Southwest departures. Southwest flies through BWI frequently, and has even made it somewhat of an international hub for the area. In fact, we’ll be flying through BWI on our way to Costa Rica and on the way back! The flight home was harmless. Flying between BWI and Boston Logan is the shortest flight I’ve ever taken, and this was the third time I’ve flown that route so far!
This trip falls distinctly in the “I’m bored. Let’s go somewhere.” category. The real motivation for the trip went something like this: Cheap flights? Check. Relatively short travel time? Check. Amtrak points for the train down? Check. IHG points for a hotel? Check. Only after the train and the flights were booked did we really figure out what we were going to do for the weekend. Still, I was pleasantly surprised with Baltimore itself, and our weekend getaway. Plus, our friends were able to come up from DC for Sunday, which was a huge bonus.
I find that these kinds of trips tend to work out pretty well! Sure, everyone wants to go to Paris, or the Amazon, or see the Taj Mahal. But how many times do you just pick a place on the map, and say, “Let’s go!”
That’s one thing that travel hacking has allowed me to do. I’ll put up the spending breakdown and all the details in a few days, and you’ll see what I mean. All in, the trip cost under $370. That’s $41/person/day, including way more than we typically spend on food! The hotel, train, and flights were all covered under points, enabling us to explore a new spot without breaking the bank.
Although I didn’t get my passport stamp for 2017 quite yet, I loved the opportunity to get out of the house, and explore somewhere new!