Sunday, April 10, 2011

Back East, Pt I: Baltimore & Atlanta

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I recently spent a few weeks visiting relatives back on the East coast. While that’s not really appropriate fodder for this blog, I also saw some fantastic places that I took altogether too many photos of.

2,500 photos too many.P3170060I had never been to the East Coast before, and was most impressed with the great architecture, and the sheer quantity of it. Our first stop was Johns Hopkins University, to visit my sister and wait for her to finish classes, and it didn’t disappoint in  architecture either. IMGP1903_thumb2

My sister took us around to her favorite places on campus, including the building that houses a robot surgeon, and her favorite lecture halls.

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After that, we visited the Inner Harbor, where we ate tapas, bought shoes, and touched the Chesapeake Bay/Atlantic Ocean.  We also had some strange wafer-like cookie covered with frosting/fudge/ganache called a Berger. These are a regional specialty, but were a little too sweet for even my sweet tooth.

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I also tried octopus, which was basically like gnawing on a giant piece of whale blubber. It was good, as long as you didn’t think about the little crispy suckers.

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While in Baltimore, we stayed at the Baltimore Hostel, a charming, quiet hostel in a fancy old row-house. It was close to the harbor, and to some nice restaurants, so it made a good home base.

 

As soon as my sister was done with her classes, we jet-setted off to Atlanta. There, we spent about four days with one of my great-aunts, who is quite ill with Parkinson's. It was stressful being there, but it was really good to visit her, meet a few other family members, and finish up a few school assignments. It would have been nice to stay longer, but we had another aunt to visit before my sister’s break was over.

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My great-aunt was quite insistent that we go see Atlanta, so we spent an afternoon in the city. We started out at by visiting the Cyclorama, a circular painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta, which, if lain flat, would cover an entire football field. You sit on a stage inside the painting, and then the stage rotates slowly as a guide points out important facets of the painting. In the lobby of the Cyclorama sits the “Texas",” a steam locomotive involved in “The Great Locomotive Chase” of the Civil War. (The steam engines in this chase typically averaged a whopping 15 mph.)

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After that, we really wanted to see an antebellum house, and managed to find one that was still open – the Herndon Home. It turned out that the Herdon Home isn’t just a nice house, but also the home of Atlanta’s first black millionare, Alonzo Herndon. Alonzo Herndon was born into slavery, but became trained as a barber, and eventually opened up his own shop. He then proceeded to become involved in real estate, and then bought what became Atlanta Life Insurance Company. The house was mainly furnished by his first wife, an actress and elocution teacher at Atlanta University, who had great taste in home design. I had honestly just been looking for a pretty house, but the history behind the Herndon Home made it one of my favorite discoveries of our trip.

After that, we headed off to Virginia and Washington D.C., which really warrants a post in of itself!

1 comment:

Gaelyn said...

You really got around. Great architecture. I found octopus like chewing on a rubber tire. No thanks to that again. But that Berger looks yummy.