Ridgely's Delight: Filled with Character, Close to Everything
Nestled between downtown Baltimore, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the University of Maryland's graduate and professional schools, and the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ridgely's Delight is a tiny gem of a neighborhood, characterized primarily by 19th century brick row homes on intimate, tree-lined streets. The two homes featured in this photo boast relatively rare front yards; the building on the right is an award-winning bed & breakfast, Rachael's Dowry.

Ridgely's Delight attracts many students and employees affiliated with the university and hospital. I know of more than a few nurses who have lived in this stretch of row homes, attracted both to the location and character of the neighborhood.

The warehouse conversion boom is alive and well in Ridgely's Delight. Local development company Zahlco is transforming this former warehouse into 32 apartments with generous natural light, heated bathroom floors and exposed brick.
I cannot think of a restaurant more perfectly suited to Ridgely's Delight than the Corner Bistro and Wine Bar. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, the Corner Bistro offers attentive service and an intimate, welcoming atmosphere. The menu is not overly fancy or complicated, and the food is prepared with great care - in my opinion, the perfect recipe for a neighborhood restaurant. Corner Bistro is more than a neighborhood restaurant, however; thanks to many positive reviews, Corner Bistro is ranked #4 out of 1,812 restaurants in Baltimore on Trip Advisor.
Of course, no neighborhood is complete without a coffee shop, and Ridgely's Delight has two. As its name implies, Peace and a Cup of Joe is ... peaceful. A zen-like vibe permeates this two-story coffee house and sandwich shop.
Also in Ridgely's Delight, Cafe Tesfa is a coffee and sandwich shop with a mission. The owners partner with community organizations to provide internships in event coordinating and food service to local youth aging out of the foster system.
Ridgely's Delight is a very walkable neighborhood, both for people and their pets! Here, on an early spring day, a resident walks her dog on one of the neighborhood's quiet streets.
If you look closely, you can see residents participating in the time-honored Baltimore tradition of "stoopin," catching up with neighbors while sitting on the front steps (glass of wine optional).

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Ridgely's Delight was home to one of baseball's all-time greats, Babe Ruth, and is now home to the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.
Good night from National Register Historic District and home of Babe Ruth, Ridgely's Delight, Baltimore, Maryland!

Elegant - and a Bit Artsy - Bolton Hill
This image captures a quintessential Bolton Hill street scene. Located in central Baltimore, Bolton Hill is known for its stately brick homes with exquisite architectural detailing inside and out.
Once home to F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the future president Woodrow Wilson, Bolton Hill is primarily a residential neighborhood, though it does boast one of Baltimore's best restaurants, B. This bistro, which I haven't photographed yet, earns consistently high marks for a welcoming atmosphere and delicious, seasonal fare.
The neighborhood also offers a few surprises in the midst of the row homes, such as two 19th Century brick cottages, one of which is pictured here.
Small parks, such as the one in this photo, and landscaped boulevards elevate Bolton Hill from a neighborhood of pretty homes to a great place to live. The communal pumpkin gathering in this photo makes me think that despite the sophisticated architecture of their homes, the residents have a playful side.
Though primarily comprised of single family homes, Bolton Hill also offers apartments and condominium options. The Beethoven Apartments,  shown here, offers one and two-story apartments, complete with high ceilings and hardwood floors, just as you would expect from such a refined neighborhood.
No discussion of Bolton Hill is complete without mentioning MICA, the Maryland Institute College of Art, a fantastic institution that deserves its own post. MICA's students and graduates have infused all corners of Baltimore with artistic sensibilities, through their volunteer work, exhibits and shows, adaptive reuse of old buildings, business development and innovation. Nestled on the eastern boundary of Bolton Hill, the school's physical imprint has expanded in recent years, both on the edge of the neighborhood and in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, which also deserves its own post.

Lovely and Gracious Roland Park
North Baltimore's Roland Park neighborhood dates from the early 20th Century and was designed in part by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the son of the famed landscape architect behind New York's Central Park. Roland Park boasts quiet, tree-lined streets and beautiful homes.  

Eddie's of Roland Park opened as "Victor's" in 1944 and is within walking distance of much of Roland Park. This relatively small grocery store packs an amazing variety of high quality prepared foods, meat, produce, and baked goods; patrons can also pick up beer or a bottle of wine for dinner, a unique prospect in a city with liquor laws that restrict grocery stores from selling alcohol. Eddie's must predate that law!
Originally constructed in 1921 and expanded and renovated in 2008, the Roland Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library serves many communities in north central Baltimore.
Though single family homes comprise the majority of Roland Park's housing stock, the neighborhood does offer some condominium and apartment options, as shown here.  Nice balconies!
Locally owned businesses within walking distance of most of the neighborhood add charm and convenience and contribute to the local economy. 
Some homes are more formal than others.
The hilly terrain means that some homes sit at an elevation lower than the road.  This house looks like it is in the middle of a massive forest. 

I do not have much to say about the following pictures, but I am including them to give readers a sense of the varied architecture of Roland Park.

This lovely home has an awesome glass sun room and shady front yard.

Roland Park does have less formal but equally charming homes, too.
Good night from Roland Park!

Guilford in Bloom

I visited north Baltimore's Guilford neighborhood today, intent on photographing the famous tulip beds at Sherwood Gardens, where 80,000 tulips bloom annually.  Alas, the tulips have yet to bloom, but this flowerbed brought a big smile to my face, as did the pint-sized bench with animal motif.  I am only posting one photograph of the park, because I hope to return soon to take photos of it in its full glory.  Stay tuned!

I may not have found tulips, but I discovered a lot of beautiful homes in the neighborhood, which was developed in the early 20th Century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I have a thing for glassed-in sun porches, a feature of many Guilford homes.  This home has four!
Most of the homes are constructed of brick or stone, and mature trees shade most of the lawns. 
This home stands out due to its brightly painted facade.
Though single family detached homes are the norm, Guilford also offers town homes, such as the beauties featured here.  Great condominium buildings exist in the immediate vicinity of Guilford as well.
Since I have never spent any time in Guilford, I did not know what to expect.  I found a quiet, peaceful neighborhood, but I also saw a lot of people out and about enjoying the beautiful afternoon, walking, bicycling, picnicking and looking for Easter eggs in the park, and working in their yards. 
The famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted oversaw the planning of the neighborhood, which explains the obvious respect for topography in its layout and the community's lovely public parks.  For those of you who grew up in the 1980s and watched a lot of John Hughes films, doesn't this look like one of his sets?

Guilford's quiet streets make it ideal for bicyclists traveling to nearby Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, Notre Dame University of Maryland, and nearby commercial amenities, as well as ....
... downtown Baltimore.  Despite Guilford's bucolic setting, it is actually within walking and bicycling distance of great amenities, from the Baltimore Museum of Art to the 32nd Street Farmers Market, not to mention downtown.  Careful, though, the ride home from downtown is uphill!

Beautiful Hunting Ridge in the Snow
Hunting Ridge is a very pretty, peaceful, tree-lined neighborhood in far West Baltimore populated by homes built mainly in the 1920s and 1930s - mostly cottages, bungalows, and Sears Roebuck Four Squares.
A portion of the neighborhood is located in a local historic district to ensure that its charm remains intact.
Many of the homes feature neighborly front porches.  Technically, this porch is on the side of the house, but it fronts on the street, so it counts as a neighborly "front" porch in my mind.
Residents of Hunting Ridge have easy access to Leakin Park and the Gwynns Falls Park and Trail, one of the largest urban parks in the country.
Good night from Hunting Ridge!

A Little Bit in Love with Otterbein
One of Baltimore's most beautiful and historic neighborhoods, Otterbein is nestled between Federal Hill, downtown, and the Inner Harbor.  People love this location because they can walk to work or take the MARC train to Washington, DC, from the Camden Line stop, a mere 5-10 minute walk away; they can also stroll to the many shops and restaurants of the Federal Hill Main Street.
Location is not Otterbein's only draw.  Many of the neighborhood's historic homes date from the mid-19th Century and still retain their historic charm.
Despite its proximity to the lively Federal Hill Main Street and the attractions of the Inner Harbor, Otterbein itself is very quiet and peaceful.  However, Otterbein does have one big and very busy attraction: the Otterbein Swim Club.  The Otterbein Swim Club appeals to both kids AND their parents, with play groups, gas grills and a picnic area, evening swims for adults, movie nights, and sometimes even some live music.  What's not to love? 
Otterbein also sits in the shadow of Camden Yards, one of the country's most accessible ball parks.  Assuming seats are available, residents of Otterbein can literally decide thirty minutes before the singing of the National Anthem to catch the game and be in their seats by the first pitch.  (Photo courtesy of my very own O's fan, Jim Mitchell!)

Otterbein boasts some lovely newer homes, such as the one shown here, in addition to its historic stock.

Flower-lined walkways make strolling the neighborhood even more pleasant ...
... and cobbled alleys and pocket parks make Otterbein just that much more special.
Many of the homes boast small front garden areas - just enough space to satisfy the need to personalize one's front "yard" without requiring an entire weekend to maintain it. 
Goodnight from Otterbein!

Stately Elegance in Butcher's Hill
Classy Butcher's Hill boasts quiet streets with easy access to the urban wonderland that is Patterson Park, the dining, shopping, and entertainment options of Fell's Point, and the employment engine of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, all of which are a short walk from the neighborhood.

Residents are frequently drawn to Butcher's Hill, a designated historic district, because of the architecture.  Most of the homes have high ceilings, tall windows, beautiful crown molding, and distinctive architectural elements. 
Butcher's Hill has a variety of housing options, with many alley streets such as this offering more modest homes.
The tree-lined streets of Butcher's Hill provide a nice dose of shade in the summertime.
Residents walking along Patterson Park Avenue take in the nice fall day.
The rear of this home features ornate ironwork, again showcasing the architectural charms of this historic district.

Goodbye from Butcher's Hill!

A Bit on Mount Vernon
A National Register Historic District and long the cultural heart of Baltimore, Mount Vernon boasts elegant architecture, world-class art institutions such the Walters Art Museum and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, fantastic restaurants and a bustling nightlife. 

Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Baltimore, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Peabody, and the Baltimore School for the Arts infuse Mount Vernon with an intellectual, energetic, and eclectic vibe and contribute to its strong cultural diversity.
The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, a renowned school of music with 650 students, graces the southwest corner of Mount Vernon Place, inspiring the students within and bringing an amazing resource to the community through the Peabody Preparatory.  More than 2,000 students of all ages and levels of ability attend the Peabody Preparatory, a community school for performing arts.
As mentioned previously, Mount Vernon has an amazing selection of restaurants to meet every taste, from the Helmand's Afghan cuisine to the sumptuous Sascha's, which serves "Creative American" fare in a dramatically restored 19th c. town house.  Pictured here, the Brewer's Art is renowned for its craft brews, rosemary fries, and generally delicious cuisine.

Mount Vernon hosts many special events throughout the year, such as the Baltimore Book Festival, where people can meet authors, browse selections from area bookstores and other exhibitors, attend readings, workshops, or panel discussions, share the joy of reading with their children by visiting the storytellers and hands-on workshops for kids ....
... or play a very public game of Words with Strangers.
The sophistication of Mount Vernon is on full display at the Spirits of Mount Vernon, a well-loved neighborhood wine shop which offers free tastings and good company on Friday evenings.

Mount Vernon is truly a mixed-use community, where people live, work, and play.  This office building is located on the same block as sophisticated condos and down the street from graciously restored town homes and more affordable apartments. 
 Residents often meet up with each other at the parks that flank the Washington Monument, the first ever monument to George. This photo features a portion of the south park on Mount Vernon Place.
One of the most walkable neighborhoods in Baltimore, Mount Vernon is also very well-served by transit, including the Charm City Circulator's Purple Route, city buses, and Penn Station, located just to the north of Mount Vernon.  Both the Baltimore Metro and Light Rail are within an easy walk of Mount Vernon, too.
Mount Vernon has SO much more to offer than I can share in this brief post.  To understand more about this gem of a neighborhood, visit the Mount Vernon Cultural District or Midtown Benefits District. Good night from Mount Vernon.

A Bit on Federal Hill
Well-known for its charming and historic row homes, the busy and beautiful Federal Hill Park, a bustling commercial district (Federal Hill Main Street), a very strong public elementary school (Federal Hill Prep), and easy access to the jobs of downtown Baltimore, Federal Hill is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city.
  These gracious homes face Federal Hill Park.
This woman is taking an early morning stroll with her baby and dog past colorful alley houses that sit atop much-coveted garages.  The compact mix of uses in Federal Hill means that people can get to many of their daily destinations by walking, bicycling, or taking transit.  According to, Federal Hill is the most walkable neighborhood in Baltimore, scoring 97 out of 100 possible points.

Introduced in 2010, the Charm City Circulator is very popular with residents - who prefer not to drive if they can help it - and tourists.  It also helps business owners by providing employees with reliable, direct, and FREE public transportation.
I took this photo while walking to work near the Inner Harbor's Science Center.  People traveling to and from Federal Hill on their way to work and school keep the bike lanes hopping.
Bicycling aficionados take note: Baltimore has an ever expanding network of biking facilities.
I am cheating a little bit.  For those of you familiar with South Baltimore, you know that this picture features Riverside Park, not Federal Hill.  However, it is one of my favorite pictures because it shows a dad pedaling his child to a local pool (either in Federal Hill or Riverside Park), using the Fort Avenue bike lane to do so. 
Federal Hill Park serves as a popular neighborhood spot for walking dogs, catching favorite movies on summer nights at "Flicks From the Hill", sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum, and having impromptu gatherings with neighbors.
Another favorite activity ... burning calories on the steps leading to the park, which are far superior to a treadmill.
Federal Hill Park boasts a postcard-perfect view of Baltimore's distinctive skyline.
Goodbye from Federal Hill!

Proudly Independent Hampden
Well-known as a shopping and dining destination due to its eclectic shops and extensive restaurant options, Hampden - located in central Baltimore and wedged between I-83 and and Johns Hopkins University - has an equally diverse mix of housing types, including these single family, porch-front homes.
These row homes are located two blocks south of The Avenue, Hampden's main shopping street. 
This photograph shows yet another type of housing in Hampden, though I am not sure what the proper terminology is.
The once-ubiquitous Baltimore facade covering, Formstone, still exists in many neighborhoods, including Hampden.  In this picture, Formstone covers the house on the far left, though the owners of neighboring homes have chosen to re-expose the brick.
Ranked among the top hipster neighborhoods in the U.S. by Forbes magazine, Hampden's abundance of independent retailers includes coffee shops, organic salons, a shoe store where you can buy vegan-friendly footwear, a hole-in-the-wall pasta bar, and a bookstore dedicated to nourishing mind, body, and soul.  Check back soon for more posts on specific businesses in Hampden!  

On a recent weekend afternoon, customers browsed through the goods displayed outside at one of Hampden's many vintage shops.

Lovely and Hilly Arcadia
Nestled among the hills of northeast Baltimore, Arcadia is a charming neighborhood that boasts narrow, tree-lined streets, a mix of bungalows, cottages, farm houses, and "Four Squares," and walkable access to the shops and restaurants of the Hamilton/Lauraville Main Street.
Many residents of Arcadia are vocal environmentalists who practice what they preach.  The owners of this home have incorporated a bioretention facility into their landscaping plan, which basically means that the plants, in addition to adding curb appeal, also help to absorb stormwater runoff.

Arcadia boasts several "Little Free Libraries," where residents can leave books for others to read, or borrow books to read themselves.  Little Free Libraries grace neighborhoods throughout the City of Baltimore.
If you like wide wrap-around porches, you will like Arcadia.
Whimsical elements - such as these dragonfly (?) lights - adorn fences, yards, and homes throughout Arcadia, testimony to the residents' creative flair.
When I lived near Arcadia, this was always one of my favorite homes ...
... As was this one.  As you can see, I am partial to bungalows!
This shot shows the Walther Avenue bike lane, which skirts the edge of Arcadia.  I guarantee you that if you run, walk, or bike the hills of Arcadia, you will have very strong legs!
Another benefit of living in Arcadia: the new trail head that leads to Herring Run Park and ultimately to Lake Montebello.
One last closing photo of the homes in Arcadia.

Mount Washington

Pretty homes in hilly Mount Washington (North Baltimore)
Mount Washington is a great neighborhood for families with kids, and not just because of the big houses and big yards.  The Mount Washington School, a public K-8 school, is one of the most popular in the city.

The gardens in Mount Washington are very lush, and many of the homes feature great front porches.

I swear, there are houses in Mount Washington that aren't painted white or beige!

When you live in Mount Washington, you get to walk down the street to a village with a variety of restaurants and spas, a couple of clothing stores, and other attractions such as The Painting Workshop and Baltimore Clayworks.  Mount Washington also features a light rail stop for people who want to get around without a car.

Charles Village and Abell

Baltimore has every kind of home you can imagine, from sleek condos to rambling farmhouses, so there is something for everyone.  These Charles Village homes are very spacious and have a lot of character and great front porches.

Walking through the neighborhood, it is easy to get inspired by the fanciful paint ...
... and equally colorful and cheerful gardens.  Abell is a small neighborhood just east of Charles Village and west of the Waverly Main Street.
This yellow, pink, and green front porch is my favorite.
On the other hand, this more sedate porch might really be my favorite.  So much to look at and admire!
Fell's Point

Fell's Point is one of the most photographed neighborhoods in Baltimore, but this picture is not seen on the tourist brochures - it is taken from Canton.  The building under construction is the Union Wharf Condos.

Same view but with the water taxi in the shot.  Sometimes I cannot believe I live in a place where people use a boat to get to work (even though this one is probably filled with tourists).

Houses on a pier in Canton with Fell's Point in the background.

Reservoir Hill's Stately Architecture
 and Beautiful Park, Druid Hill
Pretty springtime photo of Druid Hill Park.  I am surprised Terrance managed to get a shot of the trail without people in it.  The Jones Falls Trail runs through Druid Hill Park and is a favorite among city residents for biking, walking, and running.
Homes in turn-of-the-century buildings overlooking Druid Hill Lake and Park (near the zoo).  Residents of Baltimore benefit from such easy access to recreational amenities and beautiful parks! 
The Druid Hill Park Pavilion.  I love the colors.
More beautiful architecture!
Grand brownstones grace Eutaw Street in Reservoir Hill, the neighborhood immediately south of Druid Hill Park.
The 745-acre Druid Hill Park covered in a blanket of snow.  Snowshoeing, anyone?
Riverside Park, South Baltimore
Riverside Park, Spring 2013 - another one of Baltimore's great urban parks gives residents a place to run, play organized sports, or just play in the playground.

Webster Street in Riverside Park, Spring 2013

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog. It's great to see so many of Baltimore's beautiful neighborhoods. I'd love to see stories about how some of these areas are thriving, as well as advice for neighborhoods whose main streets are struggling. Bravo, Kristen!