• Photo: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

Fells Point

The dockside neighbhorhood of Fells Point is enjoying an upscale makeover thanks to the addition of high-end condos and apartment homes. Historic buildings retain their centuries-old charm, as do the many bars that have been around for decades. Shops and restaurants line Broadway, running north–south, and Thames (pronounced with a long "a" and thick "th"), which runs east–west along the water. Head here in the afternoon and tour the shops and two small museums; afterward stay for dinner and drinks at one of the neighborhood's many pubs—most of which host live local bands daily. From the Inner Harbor it takes about five minutes to reach Fells Point by car. You can also opt for the water taxi, a much more fun way to get there.

Standing in the heart of Fells Point, you get the feeling little has changed since it was founded several hundred years ago. Englishman William Fell purchased the peninsula in 1726, seeing its potential for shipbuilding and shipping. Starting in 1763 his son Edward and his wife, Ann Bond Fell, divided and sold the land; docks, shipyards, warehouses, stores, homes, churches, and schools sprang up, and the area quickly grew into a bustling seaport. Fells Point was famed for its shipyards (the notoriously speedy clipper ships built here annoyed the British so much during the War of 1812 that they tried to capture the city, a move resulting in Fort McHenry's bombardment). Frederick Douglass worked at a shipyard at the end of Thames Street in the 1830s. Around the 1840s the shipbuilding industry started to decline, in large part because of the rise of steamships, which were being constructed elsewhere.

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