Monday, September 21, 2009

Red Sox Rule

Well we are still in Baltimore even though we were supposed to leave Saturday morning because frankly we are just having too much fun!! We went to Camden Yards to see the Red Sox dominate the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night - what a blast! If you have never been to Camden Yards, it is just one of the coolest stadiums around with not a bad seat in the house (take it from us, we got our tickets at the last minute and were up in the nose bleed section - at least until we moved pretty far down on the first base line around the third inning since the stadium was only about 1/3 full and most of those were Sox fans at that!!) and amazingly good food (not just hotdogs and pretzels at this stadium!!)
Orioles Park at Camden Yard (courtesy of the Orioles Website)
Seriously though - they had a tough time with the fan cam finding orange jerseys and not red ones - I guess if your team is as bad as the Orioles have been for the past ten years and your team has been out of the pennant race since June, there's just not that much to cheer about! Walking around the streets of Baltimore the past few days you would have sworn you were in Boston around the time of the playoffs - it was just a human sea of red! After donning our Sox gear, we took the water taxi form where we are staying in Fells Point over to the Inner Harbor to walk to the game and every single person on the boat was sporting sox tee-shirts or hats or sweatshirts or all of the above! It was certainly a fun fest! And did I mention we won the game too!! That always makes for a better evening although it was also gorgeous weather under a star filled sky! It just doesn't get any better!!

On the way home from the game, we stopped in at a little bar Shuckers for a bite to eat and found our bar of choice in B'more (we always find at least one!) - we wound up there until about midnight which is late for us nowadays - we felt like big people!
After sleeping in a little in the morning (we're not used to getting to sleep that late and believe it or not the boat rooster let us sleep!!), we suddenly decided that it was going to be windy on the Bay so we might as well stay, explore B'more a little and then we could watch the Red Sox game again that night at Shuckers!! Done deal - our plans are always subject to change upon whim at any time!! So we hopped on the water taxi and headed out to see Fort McHenry at the mouth of Baltimore harbor - it is only open until the end of September and by the time we get back here it will be October so now was our chance. Who knew it would be such a cluster??? There weren't enough water taxis running on such a glorious day with the whole influx of Red Sox fans, so it took awhile to finally get a taxi out to the fort and then once we got there, the water taxi captain didn't have a key to let us into the park...or let the folks out who wanted to head back into the city!!!
The Captain Just Didn't Know What to Do!
What a riot - you just can't make this up - so we all had to sit on the docks waiting for someone with a key to let us in - now why would they have the gate locked when anyone can drive to the Fort???? Things that make you go hmmmm?? We felt bad for the captain who had come in early to help out for the day - having 40 highly annoyed people on your hands is not a good way to start any day let me tell you!!!

But anyways, we finally got the gate opened and had a ball walking all around Fort McHenry - the star designed fort that has protected the port of Baltimore for hundreds of years. During the War of 1812, a British sailing fleet headed up the Chesapeake Bay to capture Baltimore and on September 13, 1814 the British force attacked Fort McHenry at dawn with the bombardment lasting for 25 hours!! The Fort, under the leadership of Major George Armistead, withstood the firing of over 1,500 shells and rockets - miraculously only 2 sailors at the Fort were killed despite the devastating gunfire.
Major George Armistead
By 7:00 am on September 14th, the British attack had been repelled and the fleet turned tail and sailed out of Baltimore harbor - the large flag that would later be known as the Star Spangled Banner was hoisted over the Fort and a replica still flies there to this day - the original is in the Smithsonian Museum.
The Stars and Stripes Flying over Fort McHenry

What was one of a few American victories of consequence in the War of 1812, the battle for Baltimore took on much more significance as a result of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner which became our national anthem in 1931. Francis Scott Key was a young Washington lawyer at the time who had traveled out to the British fleet to secure the release of a friend who had been arrested after the battle of Bladensburg outside of Washington. While he was successful in securing the release of his friend, Key was detained by the British out in the harbor pending the attack on Baltimore so he could not warn the town. Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the deck of a truce ship out in the harbor and penned the Star Spangled Banner as he saw the flag still waving above the Fort at dawn on the morning of the 14th when the bombs and rockets stopped falling. First titled the Defence of Fort McHenry, Key's poem was published on September 17th and was soon being sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" - as a song, it was later renamed the Star Spangled Banner as we know it today!!

In addition to the Fort, all the cannons that are aimed out at the harbor
The Cannons of Fort McHenry
Doug Checks Out the Cannons
and the statue of Major Armistead, there is also a statue of Orpheus on the grounds - who??? and why??? Orpheus was a poet, musician and singer in Greek mythology and I guess someone in Congress thought he'd be appropriate to celebrate the centennial of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner - go figure it was Congress - wouldn't you think a statue of Francis Scott Key, the guy who wrote the poem, would have been more appropriate?? Again, things that make you go hmmmm.....

After absorbing so much history (and before the British schooner out in the harbor could attack again!),
British Ship Preparing to Attack Fort McHenry (actually just a ship that does tours)
it was time to hit the Inner Harbor for some sustenance and a little window shopping so we hopped on the water taxi (without too much of a cluster this time) and enjoyed the great views of the harbor
Approaching Downtown Baltimore
as we passed Gypsies in her snug little slip
Gypsies in the Palace Snug in Her Slip
and of Fells Point where we are staying
Fells Point from the Water
- the downtown area was a zoo with people listening to the various bands playing on the pavilions and in the bars, families riding in the colorful dragon boats on the harbor
The Dragon Boats
and just soaking in the rays along the water. The harbor itself was a sea of boats coming and going on a gorgeous day - some even anchored in the tiny basin amidst the dragon boats (not sure I would ever try that one!!)
Baltimore Harbor was a Sea of Boats
and tied up along the basin walls! Meanwhile the water taxis zipped in, out and around all the pleasure boats and the pirate ship shot its cannons of water at hapless boats- it was a wonder none of the dragon boats got run over!!!
The Pirate Ship (Doug Wants to Captain that Next Summer!)
We walked along the piers to the Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse that once stood 15 miles southeast of its current location at the outer entrance to the harbor - it was the second screwpile structure built by the US Lighthouse Service in 1856, was manned until 1948 when the Coast Guard automated the lighthouse and was finally retired in 1988.
Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse

Walking back along the cobblestone streets of Fells Point, which is a charming little section of Baltimore,
Fells Point
we enjoyed the waterfront views, the crab and fish statues set amongst little gardens or on the piers and the happy sounds emanating from quaint out of the way bars. This is our kind of place!!!
Fish Statues
and Crab Statues

That evening we headed over to our Cheers (you know where everyone knows your name...) in Baltimore - Shuckers - to watch the Red Sox game - our friendly bartender Roger from the night before busted laughing when we walked in as we had told him the night before that we were heading out that day. What can we say, we change our plans often!! We had a great night sitting at the bar, eating BBQ wings, drinking pitchers of Yuengling and watching the Sox thoroughly destroy the Orioles.
Doug Sitting at the Bar in Full Red Sox Gear
We were joined at the bar by Seve (really Steve but he wanted us to call him Seve when we joined his party at the pool tables and pretended to his wife that we were long lost friends...) who acted like he knew us - after Doug and I puzzled over whether we in fact had ever met the guy (NOT), turns out our only connection was that his daughter was a Sox fan which killed him as a true Orioles fan and he had seen our Sox gear!! Too funny!!

After another pretty late evening (it was well after 11:30 by the time we had gotten free of Seve), we woke Sunday morning with the grand idea of staying one more day to watch the Pats and the Red Sox play at 1:00!! Can you say Shuckers anyone?? We didn't need to be in Cambridge until Monday and it was only a 9 hour trip - piece of cake. So once again we trooped over to our bar in full Sox regalia to be greeted by Kevin (our other friendly bartender who just laughed at us again!!) - good thing we got there early because the bar filled up fast - you'd think it was a popular sports bar or something.
Tammy Sits at the Bar Waiting for the Pats Game to Begin
Well despite the contingent of Pats fans compared to the one lonely Jets fan, our Pats played abominably and figured out a way to lose to the Jets (GOD that hurts!!!!) But all was not lost as our Red Sox came through again with a final drubbing of the hapless Orioles. The Yuengling pitcher and wing special helped ease our pain but we all agreed that Tom Terrific needs to make an appearance next week instead of Tom Terrible or we are in for a LONG season!!

Back on Gypsies we told the boat kitties the bad news about the Pats and the good news about the Sox (they were very distraught over Mr. Brady's performance which numerous treats were needed to overcome) and got the boat ready for our trip to Cambridge the next day. As we told Roger and Kevin, we REALLY had to leave on Monday!!! 6:00 am came bright and early this morning let me tell you, but after a gorgeous sunrise
Sunrise Over Henderson's Wharf
we are on our way to meet up with September Song and Tide Hiker in Cambridge today - yippee!! We are just about to pass under the Bay Bridge (thank goodness we pass under it - I really hate traveling over that bridge!!) and have about 6 more hours of steaming. Luckily the weather is gorgeous - although it was cool this morning coming out of the harbor (we ran from downstairs), it is starting to warm up so think we will move to the flybridge shortly to enjoy the sun!! Sun pig is desperately in need of some sun and warmth!! Time to head south yet????

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