IMG_6928While at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist’s Association meeting in Baltimore, I had enough time to explore two neighborhoods.

First was the Inner Harbor.

Inner Harbor is the redeveloped waterfront. Historic ships including the USS Constellation, a frigate built in 1797, and the USS Taney, the only survivor of Pearl Harbor that’s still afloat, are docked and open to tours. Stores, restaurants, apartments and hotels ring the harbor.

I spent hours exploring a multi-story Barnes & Noble. Remember them? They’re a bookstore. Where they sell books. The kind you hold, not the kind you look at on a screen. What a luxury to walk among the shelves and be able to flip through actual books.

Mount Vernon Historic District is obviously the gayborhood. In addition to bars, shops and restaurants, there are numerous historic churches, brownstones, an art museum, theater and a library. OK, we have a library in Oak Lawn too, but this one isn’t in a Kroger parking lot. It’s in a historic building building.

The monument that serves as the centerpiece to Mount Vernon is a pillar topped by a statue of George Washington. Filmmaker John Waters, who spoke to NJGJA on Friday night, pointed out that from the front, Washington is extending his hand. From the right position from behind, it looks like Washington is better endowed than any of the current presidential candidates claim to be. Several of us walked to the monument and spent quite a bit of time making sure we saw our first president from just the right angle.

We had brunch at Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Gertrude’s is owned and operated by a gay couple who served a memorable brunch. A plate of cinnamon buns, a basket of rolls and a plate of berries and sliced fruit started the meal. The main course was sirloin steak topped with poached eggs followed by a cookie crumbled cheesecake for desert. We ate surrounded by magnolia trees in bloom. Eat first and walk it off with a stroll through the museum. BMA is known for its collection of Matisses. Among its Impressionist collection were a couple of Monets, Renoirs and a Seurat you’ve probably never seen before.