Star Spangled Sailabration

Some days I really love living in Baltimore, and today was definitely one of those days. Baltimore is currently hosting what they are calling the Star Spangled Sailabration to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. That war obviously being a big deal in Baltimore since it was during the War of 1812 that Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Though the song wasn’t actually written until 1814. The festival started this past Wednesday and runs through Monday. I had previously decided to take off today and Monday because I had vacation time to use or lose and Monday is my birthday so it seemed like a good weekend to make extra long. Since I wasn’t working and the weather was supposed to be gorgeous I decided that today would be an excellent day to go check it out.

There are ships from all over the world positioned at various places around the water in Baltimore. Most of them are clustered in the Inner Harbor, but there are a couple in Fells Point, and some that we could see across the water in Locust Point. Some of this information is going to be trivial to people not planning on going to Sailabration, but since I have a number of friends planning on going down this weekend I’m going to try and include some pointers. We parked in the Caroline Street garage on the edge of Harbor East and Fells Point, which was great because it let us avoid the craziness of traffic in the Inner Harbor area and put us right in between the two main areas of the festival. We walked along the Promenade over to the Inner Harbor.

We only boarded two of the ships because the lines were super long for most of them. We went on the Columbian ship and Ecuadorian ship because they had the shortest lines partly probably because we were there not too long after they started letting people board them and also because they’re farther out from the Inner Harbor where not as many people were venturing. The Columbian ship was definitely the best one because they gave me Columbian candy and a bracelet.

After going on the two ships we continued our walk around the Inner Harbor, which was insanely crowded around the actual harbor. If it was this bad in the middle of a work day I can’t even imagine how nutty it’s going to be around there tomorrow. We walked up to Federal Hill to get a good view of all the ships sitting the harbor. It’s amazing how tiny they look sitting there from up on the hill. We had heard that the Blue Angels were going to start flying at 1 to practice for the shows they’re doing this weekend and thought we would have a great view from up on Federal Hill. We hung around until 1:30 with no sign of them, so we finally gave up and grabbed some food by the booths they have set up at Rash Field. After that we started our way back towards Fells Point and as we were standing directly in front of Harborplace the Blue Angels flew over our heads at 2:00.

We found the best viewing spot for today was actually on the Promenade off the back of the patio where the new Four Seasons hotel is in Harbor East. It gives you a wide open view of a lot of the harbor area with no buildings in the way, which is key because the planes fly very low and if there are any structures in the way you can’t see them though you can certainly hear them. At that point we were just seeing individual planes doing tricks so after watching that for awhile we made our way over to Fells Point and took a peek at the outside of the Canadian ship there. We decided we didn’t want to wait in line to get on it.

Being in Fells Point on a hot day we of course had to stop and get gelato from Pitango. Then we decided to head back to our car when we got a real treat. We were just edging up on the Bond Street Wharf when the Blue Angels appeared again this time flying in formation and doing all kinds of tricks that way. It was another awesome spot to be able to see them without too many buildings getting in the way. It was so super cool. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to watch them flying around all the buildings down there. People in the Legg Mason building and Morgan Stanley certainly got some great views of the planes buzzing by their windows. The pilots were certainly having fun.

I’m glad we made it down there today because it doesn’t seem like watching the Blue Angels shows tomorrow is going to be nearly as convenient. Based on the suggested viewing areas for the actual shows it seems like you’ll need to be in other areas entirely to see them fly tomorrow. You may be able to see far away glimpses of them, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll get anything like we saw today at least from the viewing spots we were at.

If you’re in the Baltimore area I highly suggest getting down to enjoy Sailabration over the weekend. 

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