I’ve been at Hopkins for two years now, so I’ve gotten much more of a sense of the city and surrounding areas. I’ve also become much more adept at using the public transportation system here in Baltimore, as well as different ways to travel between cities. Three of the things I love about the East Coast are how much more compact the cities are, how close they are together, and how much more efficient public transportation is. When people ask my why I chose Hopkins, one of my reasons has to do with Hopkins’ location on the East Coast. Although that initially was a desire to leave California and experience something new, I’m coming to love the East Coast for itself, not just that it’s not the West Coast, and cheap travel has certainly played a role in that!
I’ll use this blog entry to discuss travel in the Baltimore area, and then next time I’ll discuss travel from Hopkins.
Baltimore is an ideal college city for me in that there are always many things to do, and it’s always easy enough to access places. I LOVE that I’m in an urban environment and have access to everything a city offers (both in terms of events/amenities/cultural attractions and in terms of being able to see hands on things I’m learning in the classroom about urban politics and urban education). I also love that I can easily take the bus/light rail/walk to places, and that transportation and distance doesn’t have to limit my explorations.
One of my favorite walks this spring/summer has been from Penn Station or Mount Vernon to the Inner Harbor. From there, I usually go up to the top of Federal Hill (which has the best view of Baltimore, in my opinion). From Federal Hill, you can see the Inner Harbor (shopping, restaurants, the Science Center, the Aquarium, a carousel (!!!), the American Visionary Art Museum (which has an awesome courtyard you can explore, and also has free Thursday nights this summer from 5-9, as well as movies!), beach volleyball courts, M&T Bank Stadium (where the Ravens and occasionally Hopkins play), and Camden Yards. Camden Yards is about a ten minute walk from the Inner Harbor, in addition to being a stop on the light rail. If you take the JHMI shuttle from Homewood to Penn Station, you can take the light rail straight to Camden Yards (total price = $1.60, total travel time = 30ish minutes). Camden Yards is another wonderful Baltimore attraction. It’s a smaller ballpark, and they always seem to be having free t-shirt nights. They also have very reasonably priced tickets, which is nice for when you just want to see a game (me) or want to see a team that has ridiculously priced home game tickets (Yankees fans??).
Back to the walk. I then usually circle around the Inner Harbor, and stay close to the water. Heading east, I go past the aquarium and Pier Six Pavilion (where the Wiz Khalifa Homecoming concert was held), and keep walking over to Fells Point. Fells Point is a fun area to explore, even when you aren’t 21 (for the 21+ crowd there is also a lot to do), with gelato, ice cream, and frozen yogurt all within a block of each other, as well as other delicious restaurants (which is what restaurant week was made for). The pier there also has wonderful views of the Harbor.
This summer, my friend and I decided that we would walk the rest of the bus route, and see what was in Canton. We’d both heard the name mentioned in conjunction with restaurants (so naturally, we had to explore). We kept walking east, along the water, which turned out to be another great place to walk. There’s a path alongside the water, with tons of boats and new buildings. Finally, we did reach Canton (which meant we could take the #11 bus all the way back to Hopkins)!
The transportation here is great for practical things like getting to the airport (take the JHMI to Penn Station (free) and then the MARC (weekdays, $4) or the light rail (every day, $1.60), getting to the grocery store (walk, take the Blue Jay Shuttle), getting to Towson to set up my apartment (the #11 or #3 bus all year or the Collegetown during the school year), or getting to my internship downtown (the JHMI shuttle to Mount Vernon then taking the Charm City Circulator or walking). But most of all, I’m glad that it’s given me a sense of this city, and a way to become more independent and explore.