Thursday, August 1, 2013

Baltimore B&O Museum

We have been wanting to visit the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for quite awhile. It's a bit of a hike from NOVA but Hubster had an early flight out of Maryland on a Friday in late June, so we decided we'd drive him there and then make our way to finally see the trains.

Mike's flight was crazy early out of BWI and the museum didn't open until 10, so we decided to eat breakfast at Miss Shirleys Cafe in the Inner Harbor. Holy good lord almighty. What an amazing breakfast joint. I ordered the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer and then a giant veggie egg-white omelet with cheesy grits for the main dish. I was too stuffed to finish even a quarter of it... and there has not been a day that's passed that I have not wished I'd risked some sort of food poisoning to box it up and leave in my hot car all day so I could've finished it all. It was. That. Good.

I'm sort of twitching over the thought of going back for the Maryland Omelet with lump crab meat and dusted with Old Bay. Um, yes please.
After breakfast, we had a short drive to the museum.

Aside for the major flaw of it being in Baltimore, the museum is amazing!! Like, AMAZING! Charlie has been train-obsessed since he was two - and even though he will deny it now and brush off all his willinginess to see trains as "doing it for Henry", he just loves the heck out of them still. And this museum is literally little-boy heaven.

Pulling into the {free} parking lot, several huge trains lined the parking spaces.
How cute is this? Charlie thought up the pose and the words and insisted I instagram it! :)
The museum is basically a giant roundhouse, which for anyone who has never had a train-obsessed child, this is where the trains were housed when not in use during the old-timey days of train travel. Displayed trains are placed in a circle of chronological order from the origin of the B&O rail line with covered wagons and progresses through the civil war as they circle around the room. Side note: chronological order is my favorite order.

I was completely intrigued and interested. Unfortunately, little boys don't care much about the history, or following the order... they just want to walk through all the things {quickly} and climb on whatever is permitted for climbing.

My most favorite cars were the passenger cars. Sans kids, I could have spent a rather sizeable amount of nerdy time looking at all the details in the passenger cars, especially the ones that were used in the Civil War for the soldiers. I've always been fascinated with people so it was absolutely amazing to see what sort of accommodations were available back in the 1800s. What did people do back then?
In between some of the trains was a giant play area of Thomas toy trains. It took all my patience to convince the boys that we would get to those toys AFTER we looked at all the trains. And it took all of their patience to stick it out.

When we finally made it to the play area {which I was really avoiding because, omg, the school groups...}, Charlie was totally into it supporting his brother's interest in toy trains. I actually thought the play area was pretty amazing. They had four or five Thomas train tables so there were enough trains and tables for all the kids. They had train books and train puzzles and train dress-up outfits. But really, for my boys... it was all about the train toys.
And then, at 11:30am, it was time for our ride on a REAL train! Yup... our admission to the museum came with tickets to ride about a mile west and then back again on a MARC passenger train. Like I said, little boy flippin' heaven.
Henry's face when the train started to move, y'all. Priceless!!!
Charlie was so interested in what was being explained over the loudspeaker that he "sssh-ed" me about 15 times. He's just so adorable and nerdy-licious. I love how much he likes to learn.
That whole 20 minute ride is hard, work, huh, Henry?? :)
Returning from the ride, we walked over to the North Building which houses trains so big that they wouldn't fit in the roundhouse! Seriously, they were massive. They were diesels built in the 40s and 50s and, as the guy who worked there explained, they were terribly inefficient -- even though they were extremely beautiful machines. There were lots of guys all over the place who were extremely kind and helpful and excited to tell you all about the trains.

Also, the low light ooey-gooey photographic goodness. So. Much. Photog. Fun.
I was so pleased with the "SAVE COAL" sign. I'm sure it wasn't exactly meant to be environmentally friendly like I read it to be, but I still thought it was cute.
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Hungry for lunch, and believing we had seen it all, we headed out for the day. It was only once we got into the parking lot that we noticed that we missed the platforms where several trains were open for walking through! We almost went back inside, but we always need a reason to go back! And go back, we will!!
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  1. Almost impossible to pick favorite photos. PROBABLY going to go with the ones on the train. Just beautiful Jenn!

  2. When I have my life back together, let's go. And have a fake party?