I didn’t have any fancy clothes with me so I threw on a polo shirt and hoped for the best. I put my key into the elevator and made my way to the 13th floor. I followed the sign to a small doorway immediately next to the elevator. The door leads down a small hallway to a small room with fancy tables and overstuffed chairs.
The woman at the concierge stand didn’t ask for a name or room key. She simply pointed over to the seating area, saying I could sit wherever I wanted (though there were only about 3 guest tables in the room). I was somewhat disappointed by the selection on their continental breakfast, but the panoramic view of the downtown with the river was almost enough to make up for it.
I finished my meal, grabbed my backpack off the floor and headed downstairs. I decided to take the sky bridge across to Whitaker Center (via Strawberry Square Mall). It was after all the only reason I made the trek to this city in the first place. One doesn’t get to see giant mechanized dinosaurs on a daily basis in Baltimore, but that doesn’t automatically make the exhibit any good, but (you can read the rest of my thoughts here).
When I finished walking around the exhibit, I shoved my pen\notebook into my backpack and returned to Strawberry Square to find something to get for lunch. Sadly, there was absolutely nothing in “The Square.” It was literally as devoid of shops as it was of visitors, the only other people I saw walking through the area were the ones unfortunate enough to work at the food court on the second level (so much for hanging out at the mall on a Saturday).
It was just after noon when I left the abandoned husk of urban land known as “Strawberry Square,” and I made my past the Capitol Complex on my way to the State Museum of Pennsylvania.
One would think that a state the size of Pennsylvania would have a fairly large “state museum,” and you’d be wrong. Granted, the building isn’t nearly as small as it looks from the outside, but it isn’t nearly as immense, encompassing or engaging as I would have hoped. Yes, there were some interesting displays here and there, but the entire museum felt hopelessly dated (circa late-70s-early 80s).
I didn’t really get a chance to explore the entire museum (as it closed at 5pm), but the 3rd floor was Entomology, Geology and Paleontology along with the impressive taxonomy collection of native mammals. 2nd floor was history (civil war), archaeology (presented though a series of life-sized dioramas showing the life of a Delaware Indian tribesman) and technology (I didn’t really have time to go through, sorry). The 1st floor was Village Square which showed various shops in a colonial era town and around the hallway in the middle of their contemporary art wing (also didn’t really go through) was something called the “Brockerhoff House” (a recreation of 18-19th century home life).
I left the State Museum shortly after 4pm, and immediately sat down on the cement wall outside the building to find somewhere to eat on my smart phone. I didn’t really see anything that interested me so I decided to take a walk over to City Island. Unfortunately, no sooner had I come off the sidewalk of the Market Street Bridge it started to drizzling. I was able to make it to the train depot on the other side of the island without getting caught in rain, but as soon as I came off said attraction, it starting raining more steadily (albeit relatively lightly).
Fortunately, I had a rain jacket in my backpack because the rain really started coming down as I crossed the iron pedestrian bridge going back towards the hotel. By this time, it was close enough to dinner that I simply ducked into the hotel restaurant. The service was good, but I wasn’t impressed with the sandwich I ordered.
It was still pouring when I arrived back at the room. I was inside now so I decided to just change into drier clothes and stay inside for the night. I was checking out the next day, and it was a long trip back to Baltimore.