veen on the road: a week in baltimore.

i spent the last week of september in baltimore with my friend jane, opting to drive so i could be mobile while jane was at work and so that i could tack it on to my visit to chattanooga for my high school reunion. i had made a previous visit in september 2017 but that was a quick one; this time i was able to see more of the city and have a bit of a routine.

jane coaches field hockey at johns hopkins so i timed my visit to be in town for a weekday home game against dickinson, and then we built the rest of my visit around that. below are all the shenanigans we got into while i was in town.


baltimore is a 13.5-hour drive, which is not for the faint of heart. i made two stops to take power naps at rest stops and two additional stops to refuel and get food, so the entire trip took me about 15.5 hours — i left memphis at 5am cst and made it to jane’s around 8.30pm est. apart from the stops i made pretty good time on the road, but it’s a haul. we unloaded my car – i had lots of goodies – and then caught up for a bit before crashing.

photo of an everything bagel on a foil wrapper.
yes please. baltimore, maryland. september 2021.


i slept in on sunday, and then we picked up roland park bagels and took them with us to lake roland. we ate our bagels and walked with prism along some of the paths, exploring a small portion of the trails that are there.

i relaxed at the house while jane worked a clinic for a few hours that afternoon, and when she returned we walked over to papi’s to gorge ourselves on tacos. it was great to sit out on their patio and snack and catch up, and then it was back home so jane could finish prepping film and i could watch the packers game.


jane made breakfast monday morning before we both had calls to join. she finished and headed to campus, and once i wrapped up my facilitation i made my way to penn station to catch a train to dc*. i had texted matt haygood the day before to see if he was free, and he invited me to join him and maggie for dinner and to meet their sons.

i had some time to wander once i got to the city so i spent a while at the temporary covid memorial** on the national mall. there was a small white flag for each american who has died of covid since march 2020, with new ones added each day. it was quite stunning to see them all laid out, and i walked through and read the messages that were written on some of them.

since chinatown** is close by, i walked there from the mall to have a look around. it wasn’t the right time to eat otherwise i would have ducked into one of the restaurants, but instead i enjoyed the beautiful weather and wandered until it was time to head to matt’s.

i hadn’t seen matt and maggie since 2014 and hadn’t met their boys, so it was great to spend some time at their house chatting and playing and eating. when it was time to head out matt dropped me back at union station, and i caught the 9pm train back to baltimore.


i allowed myself a pretty lazy tuesday while jane was at work and mostly read and watched tv and took prism on an afternoon stroll through the neighborhood. between the long drive on saturday and the dc jaunt on monday my body needed some rest.

that evening jane and i went to an orioles game at camden yards. i have always wanted to go to a game there, and as luck would have it jane had 2 comped tickets. we grabbed a hot dog and some chicken tenders and settled in to cheer on the o’s. they didn’t have a great season this year, but with us there as lucky charms they beat the red sox.


jane had a home game on wednesday evening and so didn’t have to go into work until midday, so we took advantage of a free morning and drove out to north point state park. jane’s favorite trail includes a view of sunken barges, an awesome abandoned building [we think an old power plant?] covered in graffiti, an observation “deck”, and a hidden beach, so we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through all the sites.

after we finished at the park, we drove through the town of edgmere and dreamt of the day we’re able to retire to a house on the water and live happily ever after.

i spent the afternoon catching up on some emails and various other housekeeping things, and then that evening i went to hopkins to watch jane’s team beat dickinson. andy joined me, and along with the dogs we cheered on the team and pretended we know the rules of field hockey. after the game jane and i picked up dinner from bodhi corner and made our way back home.


thursday morning we treated ourselves to a final long walk together, this time on the grounds of the arboretum. it was nearly empty – we saw one other person – and a gorgeous morning, and it was such a nice way to enjoy our final alone time during my visit.

maggie and her friend lorrainne had sent me a long list of baltimore recommendations, and one from their list is in jane’s neighborhood – golden west café – so i went there for thursday lunch. it was a beautiful day and they had the garage door up, so i enjoyed a view of the street and a very incredible aztec burrito. after i finished eating i walked up and down 41st st, checking out the various restaurants and bars and shops that line the street.

later that afternoon i went over to laura and andy’s house to hang out for a bit. i hadn’t seen them since my last visit to baltimore, so it was great to see their new house and spend some time on their front porch. i then met jane and her assistant james after they wrapped up practice, and we went to koco’s for dinner — the one thing i knew i had to have in baltimore was a crab cake, and theirs are delicious. the three of us shared a jumbo crab cake and then ordered our own entrees; my burger was amazing and was the perfect meal to round out my time in baltimore.


i hit the road early on friday to get to chattanooga, so all i grabbed on my way out was a bundt cake for the road.

it was so great to have that time with jane after not seeing her since summer 2020, and i enjoyed getting to see a bit more of the city and learn my way around a new neighborhood. it was also really good to get out of memphis for a bit and have a change of scenery. maybe i’ll head back there soon…


*i could write for a long time about how great this was. it’s an easy 50-minute train ride between the two cities and costs $18 for a round trip on the marc train. the convenience of things like this are one of the many reasons i want to live on the east coast for a few years.

**thanks to sarah and micah for the covid memorial and chinatown recommendations, respectively.

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