Last weekend, On Tap spent Friday the 13th in Baltimore for Rye Street Tavern’s Rye Day the 13th celebration. Read on to learn about my 24-hour excursion in Charm City, including my stay at the Pendry Hotel.
The Pendry Hotel
The Pendry Hotel is located right on the water in Fell’s Point, a historic community established by William Felt in 1760. It’s a booming area of commerce, with restaurants, bars and shops all nestled next to each other. The vibrant brick buildings are only to be outdone by the pitter-patter of boots skating across the cobblestone roads. Our room featured a large window with a view of the waterway, where boats came and went, offering a vignette of what life might be like on a riverfront property.
Rye Day the 13th
After checking into the Pendry, we enjoyed a boat ride over to Rye Street Tavern. Food for the swanky event included pulled pork tacos, with tender and succulent meat covered in shredded cheese and other toppings. There were baked oysters and roasted carrots on trays, and the bar featured a few beers and two cocktails, both made with rye whiskey from the neighboring Sagamore Spirit. Aside from eating, we were entertained by numerous games including blown-up versions of Pac-Man, cornhole and probably the longest foosball table in human history. No kidding, the thing had to be 237 feet long (all measurements approximate).
American Visionary Art Museum
The following morning, we had the opportunity to visit the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), a perfect post-party activity for our early Saturday outing. Here are six awesome things we experienced on our AVAM visit:
- A guided tour from founder Rebecca Alban Hoffberger
- Baller pieces of art that look like they’re painted, but are actually color penciled
- Sculptures that are so intricate, it’s mind boggling how someone could look at a piece of wood and think, “I see a fountain-like structure commemorating the atrocities of war, particularly World War I.” When I look at wood, I just imagine…I don’t know, a fire?
- America’s “First Robot Family”
- A giant, automated toy tiger on a tiger-scaled cat perch
- A statue of Icarus
Rye Street Tavern’s Brunch
After the museum, we hurried hungrily back to Rye Street Tavern for the final stop on our Baltimore staycation. Anytime a server asks you point blank – “Mimosa or Bloody Mary?” – you know you’re in a good spot. We were treated to multiple courses, starting with a fall salad and blue crab cocktail. A salad is always a safe way to begin a meal, especially one topped with apples and walnuts, but the crab cocktail was perhaps the most refreshing appetizer I’ve ever eaten. What followed was a healthy serving of fried chicken, which featured an impeccable crunchy-to-juicy ratio, as well as scrapple and flap jacks. We also enjoyed sides of house-cured bacon and honey butter “biskets.”
Baltimore is a city with many hidden gems, from unique restaurants to truly visionary art museums. The next time you feel like taking a staycation, head to Rye Street Tavern for Sagamore Spirit whiskey and delicious fare, and the American Visionary Art Museum for one-of-a-kind art with a story.
American Visionary Art Museum: 800 Key Hwy. Baltimore, MD; www.avam.org
Rye Street Tavern: 225 E. Cromwell St. Baltimore, MD; www.ryestreettavern.com