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Thank you for visiting the Blue Door
on Baltimore Blog!
We are Roger and Cecelia, inkeepers of The Blue Door on Baltimore Bed & Breakfast in Butcher's Hill. We love our life as inkeepers and feel our Bed and Breakfast is a natural extension to who we are. We will use the Blue Door on Baltimore Blog to share some of our favorite recipes, tips and experiences.

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Monday
Jan202014

Bon Voyage! Exploring Baltimore Before Your Cruise

One of the best things about living in Baltimore is how close we are to the historic Inner Harbor. This isn’t an attraction just glossed over in describing a place. But, rather,  an exquisite representation of our city’s past and what the Urban Land Institute has lauded as “the model for… waterfront redevelopment around the world”. Exciting words for an exciting place.

Each year growing numbers of visitors climb aboard cruise ships departing from our waters. As these guests prepare for their voyages, we often have the opportunity host them and share in their bon voyage excitement. It’s like a two-for-one holiday, a stepping stone between ‘real life’ and ‘cruise life’, as  they take in the city.

Relax -  As calming as cruises can be - the multitude who cruise every year can’t be wrong - the lead-up can be hectic. Last-minute activities and checklists, finishing up work, and packing can all lead to feeling seriously stressed instead of the laid-back break wished for. Including two days in Baltimore can solve those issues before setting off on your voyage (maybe Bermuda, Canada in the fall, or the Bahamas). It’s enough time to take in a few sights, begin the regimen of relaxation, pick up a last minute missed item in your luggage, or snap up a good read along a leisurely stroll through Butchers Hill and the Inner Harbor.

It’s also very easy to get used to the feeling of being pampered while cruising, maybe a stay in Baltimore for a night or two after your cruise to emerge slowly into your everyday life (and get your land legs back) will be in order.

Look For Adventure - Some people, of course, are drawn to cruising for the chance to let loose and explore! Planet Cruise explains the appeal clearly: “the memories of cruising [...] will stay with you forever” - from a cruiser's most popular cruise destination. For some adventures in Baltimore before setting sail, plan your time around a scheduled activity - make sure to book tickets early - like baseball games, plays, concerts, or a visit to the Inner Harbor’s National Aquarium. Once you know where you absolutely want to be, you can give yourself some breathing room for the unanticipated find you will easily usually make in Baltimore. There is so much to see and do in Baltimore you could easily exhaust yourself before the cruise even starts!

Looking Back  - Some of the smaller cruise lines which stop in Baltimore as they celebrate historic port towns along the east coast. We know that anyone with a taste for history will love our city as much as we do. Our own inn is located in the Butchers Hill neighborhood - a city and national historic district - but there are plenty of other sites to see, including Fort McHenry where the Star Spangled Banner becomes center stage. Some history buffs will want to plan their days around themes, checking out a museum for the back story and then heading off to see the sites themselves. While others take things a little more slowly and just exploring a given area in depth before moving along. It’s tempting to focus purely on your area of interest, but it can be fun to try something new as well. A morning breakfast conversation with your Innkeeper may help shape your day. 

Wherever your ship takes you, we know you’re going to look back on your time in Baltimore with just as much (or almost as much) affection and delight as you’ll remember your cruise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan092014

Absolutly Febulous 2014

As the calendar turns now into January and winter sets in upon us, thoughts  stray toward vacation planning.  Baltimore has a lot on tap this year. Here are some notable items and guest stand-by favorites  for launching your plans, many of which the Blue Door is just steps away from and will participate with special pricing.

February - "Absolutly Febulous"has our Visit Baltimore Tourism Bureau in the spotlight bringing three recognition and celebration events into focus February 14-24.  Restaurant Week, Hotel Week and Museum Week will all take place at the same time. Savor fixed-price three course dinner options (Feb 16-23). Stay at choice accommodations at special package pricing, and take advantage to Buy-one/Get-one ticket offers at Baltimore's Museums.  A Hot deal in Baltimore even if it still is cold outside.  

March- Of course St. Patrick's Day is again on tap in Baltimore. Visit  your friends and take in some Final Four action. Baltimore Oriole Baseball begins with an opening day visit by the Boston Red Sox on the 31st. Tickets and lodging book fast for visits by the New York Yankees and the Red Sox.  Check out this year's schedule.

April - Two of our guest favorites are in the spotlight. The Open-air Farmer' Market is back and the Privateer Festival in Fells Point.

May - Favorites, the AVM Kinetic Race and the run for the Triple Crown at the Preakness take center stage.

June, July, August -Will feature summer baseball, and the many festivals of Baltimore including the not to miss HonFestin Hampden June 14 and 15. For additional details stay tuned to the Visit Baltimore site.

September - The Star Spangled Spectacular will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Battle for Baltimore September 6th through 16th. Re-enactments, Tall ships, Firework, and Parades will put Baltimore Harbor on display.

October  - Baltimore Beer Week and the Fells Point Festival are steps away from the Blue Door

AND MUCH MORE... Bookmark the Visit Baltimore site  and our Facebook Page to watch for more events.

Tuesday
Dec312013

Baltimore - New York but Less Wired

 

In a recent  message, our Visit Baltimore Tourist Bureau shared an article from a foreign travel writer highlighting the charms of Baltimore.  His perspectives were of interest to us, especially being transplants from the New York metro area ourselves. We hope that these highlighted articles might provide some added information about a future Baltimore visit.

Visit Baltimore hosted Australian travel writer Mark Juddery for a visit to explore Baltimore's neighborhoods. Mark's experiences are in his travel article that ran December 7 in the Sydney Morning Herald called New York but Less Wired recounting his travels and reflections on Baltimore.

Mark isn't the only travel writer to take notice of Baltimore. You can read more about Baltimore in 10 hidden gems near top vacation destinations in USA Today; the Washington Post's coverage of where to eat, drink and explore; and ideas for family-friendly experiences in the Huffington Post.

We are very happy to have all of these highlights available to us and our guests to enjoy. 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Dec312013

Best ways of choosing a Bed and Breakfast

Many of our Blue Door on Baltimore guests are experts in searching out the perfect Bed and Breakfast to host their stay, and we are grateful to be able to serve our B&B loyalists. They will pour though internet review and search sites, booking applications, map searches, or mobile app inquiries to find their perfect stay. Being an urban Inn, we are more often given the delight to host a first time Bed and Breakfast guest.  

 But for first time guest (and maybe the seasoned B&B traveler), what is the best way to find that perfect Inn to host your stay? 

Here are some of our top choices to help identify that perfect place:

1. At some time in one's web surfing experience an About.com  article has come to the top of a result list.  Did you know there is an entire section of About.com dedicated to Bed and Breakfasts? Hop on over to THIS LINK to check out a video library which includes the definition and history of the Bed and Breakfast and many more aspects of a B&B stay.

2. There is an organization dedicated to supporting Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers (PAII for short), one of their outreach campaigns for guests is the Better Way to Stay website.  There you will find on-going and special promotion offerings along with traveler aids and a video collection differentiating B&B's with Hotels.

3. Travel review sites offer a large social network of information about perspective Bed and Breakfast visits and what previous travelers have experienced.  You can view the thoughts of other travelers and comments from the Innkeepers, see what special pricing deals there may be, and often book directly from them. You may wish to check out tripadvisor.com, Bedandbreakfast.com, and yelp.com (we have provided our pages as examples).

4. Social sites like Facebook also are a wealth of information to get to know more about the Inn and the Innkeepers. Innkeepers will share their passions and provide advanced notice of things coming soon to their respective regions, all having links to their websites for details about their Inn's.  Doing simple search on "Bed and Breakfast" and a city or state may be just what you need to made a weekend stay be a long lasting memory. And, of course you are welcome to "LIKE" the page to stay connected.

Happy searching...

 

 

Monday
Dec022013

The Business Trip Holiday

How was Baltimore? Often business trip memories are reduced down to transportation experiences and its issues, what the lodging and meeting place were like, the people you met, and what happened. But, what can be said about this place you have shared a few days of your life with? 

With another year's set of scratches on your business travel bags and the New Year just around the corner our guest author, Evelyn Page, offers some thoughts on resolving to make a few changes so that you can tell an associate or friend something a bit more. 



The Business Trip Holiday: Making The Most Of Your Time 

The glamor of business trips wears off around the first day of your first trip. While your uninitiated friends and family might kid you about your all-expenses “vacation”, the truth is that being on the road can be exhausting, frustrating, and outright demanding. There are few things more frustrating than staying in an unfamiliar city full of excitement waiting to be discovered, then leaving it stressed out and without having seen any of it. Still, there are plenty of ways to make the most of what little time you have here in Baltimore; it might not transform your trip into possibly a mini-holiday, going home with more than memories of the business that is at hand! The secret is to plan your location and schedule carefully, to exploit even short periods of free time.

 Finding The Right Home Base

Whenever possible, try to choose where to stay yourself. The ideal location is as close as possible to both city attractions, wherever it is you’re likely to be doing business, at a place you’d be excited or fascinated with to staying. Bed and Breakfasts are, obviously, our top recommendation - you’ll get a chance to really relax, get the real feel of your destination at a neighborhood level, and have significant local knowledge at your fingertips; all at prices you can justify to accounting. The Blue Door on Baltimore, like many inns, has multiple amenities and perks for business travelers: corporate and special rates, a frequent stay program, the right equipment and plenty of room to work should that be on you after-hours agenda, 24-hour access to a local health club, and more.

When traveling for business, you definitely want somewhere that’s as comfortable as possible, since unwinding after work can be difficult enough in your own home! By choosing your home base carefully, you’ll ensure a good night’s sleep, plenty of energy for both work and play, and much less stress to wear you down. (Stress is the kind of thing that will make you decide to just stay in your room until you get to go home - anathema to business trip vacations.)


Show Your Schedule Who The Boss Is

 
On business trips, there are two different kinds of work: the kind that has to be done at specific times (usually meetings), and the kind that can be done whenever you get the chance. The latter should be done during time you wouldn’t be able to spend having fun anyway: while traveling, while eating alone, and before bed are all good choices. These are also great times to read through any reports or books that you need to be familiar with. If you run your own company or are otherwise in charge of scheduling, try to arrange the meetings to maximize your free time. Make sure to leave yourself breathing and travel time, but a long stretch of meetings is worth it if it means a free afternoon and evening! If you’re subject to the whims of scheduling, then mark out any longer periods. Even thirty minutes can give you the space to go for a walk around the neighborhood, refreshing you for the work to come.

 

Choosing What To Do 
 

You only have so much time to spare, so it’s important to make it count. One strategy is to plan your free time around themes. If you need to relax, for example, you might schedule in a massage, some park or neighborhood walks to soak in the atmosphere, and some exploring time at the Inner Harbor while in Baltimore. A traveler who is looking for excitement might try to take in a show and dinner, while another might want to visit museums or even go for a guided tour. By not trying to do everything, you’ll give yourself a chance to enjoy what you can manage. Of course your Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers are at your disposal to assist in picking the perfect thing to do to peak your special interests a for the amount time you may have. There may be significant local attractions nearby an appointment that can visited while traveling to an appointment or if a meeting is postponed.  There also may be a special restaurant to take an important client to, your Innkeeper will know of just the right one to suit your needs and tastes to make your trip a success. And if you know there will be specific time when you have time to do some concentrated exploring plan in advance.

 

Of course, relaxing on a business trip can also be as easy as turning in early to bed with a good book and the knowledge that tomorrow will bring good food and a trip back home. By giving yourself the chance to do whatever it is you really want to do, you’ll be taking care of yourself and making sure you go home less stressed than you felt when you arrived.