Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baltimore . . . part 1

Prelude to Poe: Last Thursday we went to the Frazier Museum for a “Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” which was a staging of several of Poe’s writings accompanied by period music. My favorite story was “The Tell-tale Heart” because you felt like you were listening to the murderer talk about what he did. It was like the book in many ways; that’s another reason I liked it. It was a good prelude for our trip to Baltimore because Poe lived, died and is buried in Baltimore.

Wednesday, November 3:

Our trip to Baltimore started when Dr. J. had a conference, so Merkin and I just tagged along. On the way there, we stopped at the Civil War battle of Monocacy which saved Washington, D.C. from being attacked by confederates. The Union commander at Monocacy was Lew Wallace who later wrote Ben Hur.

Then we flew like the Raven to Baltimore just in time to eat dinner at Annabelle Lee’s, a Poe-themed tavern, where they served drinks like “Masque of the Red Death,” “Descent into the Maelstrom,” and “Ulalame.” Merkin chose a beer called “The Raven.”

Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick, Md.

The Thomas House . . . where the most intense fighting took place.

Thursday, November 4:

We went to the Maryland Science Museum. There we saw a good exhibit about dinosaurs and talked to a person cleaning dinosaur bones. There was also a presentation about inertia which helped me remember several facts. I will list them here: objects at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force; objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

Baltimore is home to the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) which is the odds and ends of self-taught artists—and I do mean odd. The buildings were works of art in themselves. Much of the buildings are covered (and filled) with mosaics that Mane would love. In the mosaics we noted little figurines of presidents. In the yard there was a bus and a giant egg covered with mosaics. There was a giant bird made out of old parts and a giant nest. Inside we found a Lusitania made completely out of toothpicks, and it was several feet long.

One of my favorites was an Abe Lincoln statue made out of wax. The gift shop was just as crazy as the museum: from rubber chickens to George bush voodoo dolls and all sorts of other items you wouldn’t find anywhere else. The person at the counter taught me several neat magic tricks.

The American Visionary Art Museum

Mosaics for Mane . . .

Friday, November 5:

The next stop was the B&O Railroad Museum which has one the biggest collection of American trains. The Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) was the first commercial railroad in America. We saw one of the largest engines ever made: the 1604 Allegheny. Only two of these trains still exist. We also went on a train ride along the first mile or so of B & O track. This was my favorite place on our trip.

The roundhouse at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

Moving on down the line . . .

The engineer of the 1604 Allegheny . . .

That afternoon was our scary tour of Baltimore including two cemeteries and the neighborhood of the Poe house. We went to the Poe house when it was supposed to be open, but it was closed! At least we got to see the outside. We visited Poe’s grave at Westminster Burying Ground. When Poe died, he was buried in one part of the cemetery with his father. Later he was moved to a spot near the main gate. Merkin says it’s a perfect graveyard for Poe. It’s full of ancient-looking above-ground crypts and there are even catacombs under the church.

The Poe House

Westminster Hall and Burial Ground

Notice Poe climbing back into his grave after a night of debauchery . . . or maybe it was just a bum passed out behind Poe's grave.

The original gravestone for Poe

We traveled from the spooky Poe cemetery to the park-like Green Mount Cemetery where several important Baltimorians are buried. John Wilkes Booth lies in an unmarked grave in his family plot, so we don’t know his exact grave. We also went to the resting place of Joseph E. Johnston, Confederate general. Since Baltimore is famous for its crabs, we went to Obrycki’s Crab House and stuffed ourselves with crabs. They covered the table with paper. They gave us bibs, knives, and mallets, and dumped the crabs on the table for us to demolish.

John Wilkes Booth

Joseph E. Johnston

As you can see . . . Dudeboy was very crabby this night.


Anonymous said...

You certainly are verbose! Feeling crabby about you eating all those crabs. Should have been ME! I'm gonna set aside the Alan Parsons Poe album for you.
Roderick Usher

Aunt Pee said...

Would love to go to the visionary art museum. Dude you can get the crabs if you want - I'll have no part of those crustaceans.