In the past few weeks, I have followed through on one of my goals for this year by exploring more that Baltimore has to offer! The kids and I, with all five of their cousins and Uncle & Auntie, plus some friends of ours met up at Lexington Market when the Ringling Brothers were in town to see the Elephant Feast. It was pretty cool to see a small parade of elephants walking down the crowded streets of Baltimore, and Axton and Rhenner enjoyed meeting the clowns from the circus (they were not nearly as creepy as I had expected/remembered from as a child. The circus has been hearing our complaints, apparently). The day before, we had gone down to DC to see the cherry blossoms and it was such an interesting contrast to be in downtown Baltimore the next day – the two cities just give off completely different vibes and speak their own “language,” if you will. After the kids grew bored with watching the elephants eat their buffet, we took a quick tour inside the Lexington Market. I kind of loved it in there, despite it being crowded and nearly impossible to maneuver a stroller in there. They had food stands and fresh meats and produce, and knick-knacks. I think it’d be a really fun date night to go with Adam and each of us order a small appetizer from a bunch of different stands. They had food from nearly every culture there and all of it looked authentic and delicious.
Not long after our Lexington Market adventure, we explored the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The Conservatory had a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme at the time, which was kind of fun to see incorporated into the gardens. Mostly, though we just liked exploring the plants, feeding the fish, and splashing in the fountains. I really liked that each room was dedicated to a different type of climate – dessert, rainforest, Mediterranean, etc. I liked seeing how the plants differed according to their weather; the variety on this earth just amazes me! I told Emily this is the place I need to go when my soul needs to be revived with pretty, blossoming plants in the dead of winter. I also decided that I would love to shoot an engagement session here!! Hint, hint, wink, wink to any couples reading this 😉 The dessert room has the perfect lighting (and the best feeling climate, too!)
Note: While the conservatory does not charge an admission fee, they do ask for a donation.
Not far from the Conservatory is the Cylburn Arboretum. This place was much larger than I was expecting! Axton had asked me that morning if he could bring his scooter with him on our adventures and I begrudgingly agreed. Once we got to the Arboretum, I was glad he had – there were paved trails throughout the whole park and it was perfect for him to ride around on. The whole place was blooming with patches of tulips along the walkway, and we had ourselves a little picnic on a bench beside rows and rows of yellow tulips. The mansion was open that day, so we were able to take a peak inside….now I not only have a dream engagement session location, but a new Wedding dream spot too! The mansion had stunning architecture and I could just imagine shooting bridal portraits inside with the mirrors and windows! Then, behind the mansion there was a grove of blossoming magnolias – pink, purple, and even yellow ones!
I’ve been really glad I gave Baltimore more of a chance lately! I have only ever explored Inner Harbor, and knew that there had to be much more for this city to offer, given its nickname Charm City! I’m noticing that a lot of Maryland has hidden gems that you just have to go out and explore to find them, and every time I do I’m grateful for the adventure!