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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Sitting right on Baltimore’s inner harbor near an industrial area on the edge of downtown is Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It was during the War of 1812 that a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key penned the now famous words. He had been aboard a US truce ship on the river while witnessing the battle between the Americans defending Baltimore at Fort McHenry and the British navy. The British had sailed up the Chesapeake Bay after burning Washington and filled the river with its ships aiming to capture Baltimore. After the battle in September of 1814, Key was inspired to write the poem when he saw that the garrison flag “yet waved” by the dawn’s early light over Fort McHenry. The poem was set to an adapted tune of an 18th Century European song called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, and in 1931 “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the National Anthem of the United States. Did you know that the original title of Key’s poem was “The Defense of Fort McHenry”?

A smaller replica of the original garrison flag, which bore fifteen stars and fifteen stripes and measured 30′ x 42′, flies over Fort McHenry today. The original flag, made by Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore at the request of the fort’s commander, Major George Armistead, now resides in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Fort McHenry was built between 1798 and 1803 and is named for James McHenry who hailed from Baltimore and was George Washington’s Secretary of War. During the Civil War, the fort was used to hold prisoners of war, but it was primarily used as a prison for pro-succession Maryland residents. During World War I, the grounds around Fort McHenry were home to 100 buildings composing a 3,000 bed hospital. Called General Hospital 2, which was one of the largest in the US at the time, it was used to treat wounded from the battlefields of France. Fort McHenry is the only national park site that has been designated as a shrine.

Prison cells at Fort McHenry
These cannons swivel on a round track so they can be aimed in different directions
These cannons are aimed toward the harbor. Baltimore’s harbor is actually the Patapsco River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Inside the fort
Outside the fort
Sallyport (entrance) to the fort

We’re going to call this trip done, but in closing the post we want to leave you with a couple of cool shots at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is where the Baltimore Orioles baseball team plays, and the stadium is next to M&T Bank Stadium where the Baltimore Ravens football team plays. Both fields are in downtown Baltimore.

Eutaw Street Entrance
The great Babe Ruth was a Baltimorian who was born just a few blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In fact, his father once owned and ran a bar that sat about where the ballpark’s second base is located today.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please come back again soon for another great destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We appreciate your shares, likes, follows, and comments! Until the next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesdays: Vehicles

Today we’re sharing some interesting vehicles that we have come across during our travels. We hope you enjoy seeing them!

USS Cairo gunboat. One of the first ironclad warships built during the civil war, she was sunk by a torpedo (or mine) in the Yazoo River while helping other ships sweep for mines in 1862. Luckily there were no casualties. Having been raised in the 1960s after lying in the silty bottom of the river for over 100 years, she now resides at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Tour bus in Yellowstone National Park. Beginning in the 1920s, these “National Park Buses” carried visitors on various excursions through the park, with some of the buses still running in the 1960s. Eventually all of these classics were all sold. Several of them have now been relocated and refurbished so that today’s visitors to the park can experience what it was like back in the early days – with modern amenities and roads, of course.

USS Constitution. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, she was initially launched in 1797. She is the world’s oldest ship that is still afloat, and she is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, which means she is still served by U. S. Navy officers and crew. Her home is the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

This truck is called a Peacekeeper. They were once used by security officers who patrolled near minuteman missile silos. These armored Dodge trucks were usually outfitted with a machine gun turret on the roof. This one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota.

This is a rail truck at the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Montana. The unusual vehicle was an important part of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway (BAP) which was the first railroad to convert from steam to electricity. Built in the early 1900s, this truck was used to maintain the overhead wires of the railroad.

These huge ships are docked in Baltimore and are Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships used to preposition or move supplies, vehicles, and other cargo needed by the military. Interestingly, MSC ships are served by civil service workers who are employed by the Navy and are not active military personnel. We captured this shot in the rain thus the monochromatic image.

Old snow blower train in Skagway, Alaska with a rotary snowplow on the front.

This is President Lyndon Johnson’s Jetstar, nicknamed Air Force 1/2. The runway at his Texas ranch couldn’t accommodate Air Force One, so this smaller plane would carry him from a larger airport (usually in San Antonio or Austin) to the ranch. The plane is on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (LBJ Ranch) at Stonewall, Texas.

Here is a shot of the Goodyear blimp which we captured on a gorgeous fall afternoon in our own city. Did you know that up until 2005 (with a couple of deviations) Goodyear named its blimps after the American winners of the America’s Cup yacht race? Now the public gets to submit suggestions for naming the blimps.

We’re going to close the post with a shot inside a hot air balloon while it’s deflating – just because we think it’s a cool pic.

We hope you enjoyed our post and will come back again for more exciting road trip destinations, a Quick Stop, some tips and tricks, or another Wish We Were There Wednesday. Better yet, come back for all of our posts, and join our family of followers so you never miss one! We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

We’re Finally Back on the Road!

Covid threw us (and everyone else) for a loop, but after a too-long hiatus, a lot of research, and many hours of soul searching, we decided to mask up, pack our hand sanitizer, and get back to business. We are thrilled to share our 1200 mile, five state Mid-Atlantic road trip with you over the next weeks and months, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Our trip began and ended in Baltimore, MD because…well, Southwest flies there. We try to always fly Southwest if possible – gotta love those points! Plus, Baltimore was a perfect central location for everything we wanted to do and see. What we didn’t expect was the heavy traffic. (Wilmington and Baltimore, we’re looking at you!) For a couple of folks from the wide open spaces of West Texas, we weren’t used to taking two and a half hours to go 68 miles. That said, the trip was great and the bumper to bumper traffic in some areas just added to the adventure.

Here’s our cute Kia Sorrento rental car.

Catoctin Mountain Park (Thurmont, Maryland)

Our very first stop on the trip was at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. It is a free entrance national park site that includes a scenic drive, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, streams, fishing, rock climbing, and cross country skiing in the winter, and it abuts Cunningham Falls State Park, which is the site of the highest waterfall in Maryland. You may not have heard of Catoctin Mountain Park, but we bet you’ve heard of Camp David. The presidential retreat established by Dwight D. Eisenhower and named after his grandson is located in Catoctin Mountain Park. Camp David is not accessible to the public and its location is apparently kept very secretive. We happened to see what we believed to be the entrance because it had official looking gates with signs that prohibited parking, standing, and picture taking.

Oh, the beauty, the delightful bird calls and the earthy smells of the forest. We love a good trail, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Pastoral Catoctin Mountains farm scene from the overlook at the end of the trail

Here’s a handy link to Catoctin Mountain Park for more information: https://www.nps.gov/cato/index.ht

National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

We didn’t have this stop on our itinerary, but it was on the way to Gettysburg so we took a chance. What a great place to see! The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The grounds, walking paths, and gardens are beautiful. We got to witness a pilgrimage to the Grotto while we were there, which was an exciting first for us. That is why there are no pictures of the actual Grotto, but below are some shots from in and around the area. While viewing the pictures, imagine walking through a serene garden setting on a mountain top while a carillon rings out “How Great Thou Art”.

Chapel
Reflecting Pool
Beautiful Jesus
Saint Anthony Shrine (dedicated in 1859) near the National Shrine Grotto in Emmitsburg

Here is the link to The National Shrine Grotto if you would like additional information: https://www.nsgrotto.org/

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Also in Emmitsburg, MD, is the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Born in 1774, she was the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Shrine and Basillica

Also of interest in Emmitsburg is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which is located just down the street from the Seton Shrine.

Here is the link to The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: https://setonshrine.org

Here is the link to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: https://www.firehero.org

That is all we have for this post. You won’t want to miss our next exciting destination, Gettysburg. We appreciate you for visiting our site and riding along with us on our adventures. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road. 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021