Monday, April 16, 2012


I spent 2 days in Baltimore Maryland over the weekend and got a glimpse of this beautiful and historic city for the first time. We spent Saturday wandering through Ellicott City's antique stores, enjoying Maryland's local beers and taking photos of the buildings including America's oldest surviving railroad station. Ellicott has been named one of the most haunted cities on the East Coast, we explored an old private family cemetery but didn't run into any ghosts.

On Sunday we headed to Westminster Hall and Burying Ground to find the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. For years I have followed the stories of the "Poe Toaster", a mysterious man who appeared at Poe's original grave every year on Poe's birthday bringing 3 roses and a half full bottle of cognac. The man's identity has never been known and this year the 75 year tradition was declared over after a 3 year absence of the Poe Toaster. When entering the graveyard Poe's monument and new grave is immediately to the right of the gate. To locate Poe's original grave you must wind your way through the historic graves to the back of the graveyard.

When I was a little girl I first read Poe's tragic and haunting poem, Annabel Lee. Like so many of Poe's works, this poem explores the death of a young woman, often believed to be his own young bride, his first cousin Virginia whom he married when she was only 13 and who died when she was 24. Virginia and her mother are buried with Poe in the graveyard.

If you haven't read the works of Poe I suggest starting with his poems. The Raven being his most famous (another tale of a dead young woman with a frightening talking bird, "Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore" and madness thrown in) but his other works, often darkly romantic and of course macabre are also unforgettable. Favorites of mine include, "Fairy-land", "Spirits of the Dead" and "To One in Paradise".

I eagerly look forward to a return trip to Baltimore for more laughter and fun with our friends, exploration of the city, a drive up the coast and more time to immerse ourselves in the history of the area. Maybe even find time to climb aboard the ship USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Barbour where we enjoyed lunch before we headed home to Chicago.

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