Thursday, October 25, 2012

Literary Spots: Edgar Allan Poe - Baltimore, MD

I'm a bibliophile. Give me a place with some history entwined with literature and I am set. While I have focused a lot about the Washington, DC area in this blog I want tobranch out a little for a moment (or two, because I have plans for other posts) and focus on Baltimore, Maryland and my impromptu visit to Edgar Allan Poe's home and grave.


Baltimore holds a lot of mystery to me. My experience can be recounted quite quickly with the details of this: I stopped there for lunch on my way home of my senior class trip when I was in High School. While most of my class went for lunch at Hooters (that was kind of a big deal to a bunch of teenagers that were set loose) I spent my time at the multi-leveled Barnes and Noble. Other than that, I have not spent any time in Baltimore other than an occasional drive by and bathroom stop. This brings me to July... yes, months ago but I've been busy so bear with me.

 

My roommate is from Baltimore and on a trip up to the area for a birthday party I begged asked to stop by Poe's house. I mean, this is Edgar Allan Poe we're talking about! For the few years I lived in Pennsylvania I unfortunately was unable to see his home in Philadelphia but now I was on the brink of being near one of his other homes and his grave. I couldn't pass that up! Much to my joy we were able to visit both locations.

  

Word of forewarning for those traveling to his home: it isn't in the most safest of areas so please, do not walk to his home! If you drive, make sure to hide your items in the car and lock the doors. The house is easy to miss so keep a look out for the historical marker but sure enough  it's there. Small and haunting, it's an old little building with tiny rooms and cramped stairwells. I can't imagine living in such tight quarters unless I was completely alone. It certainly had a haunting feel to it which added to the mental  picture of Poe writing by candle light and succumbing to his creepy little world.

  

A few blocks away is the fascinating church that houses Poe's grave. The church itself is really neat as it was built over the cemetery so you literally have graves underneath the structure. The land is controlled by the University of Maryland so the gates aren't always opened - it really depends on whether or not campus security remembers to swing by - but if the gates are open you're welcome to come in and tour the graveyard. If you're at Poe's house the nice guys who work there have driving directions (remember, you don't want to walk around in this area) to the grave so be sure to ask for them!

   

Even if the gates are closed and you can't access the graveyard, Poe's grave is literally at the corner of the graveyard and you can see it through one of the gates. But here's a couple of tips for those of you who do go into the graveyard:
  1. Check out the rest of the graveyard because it's that cool!
  2. There are a lot of other historical and interesting graves in the graveyard so be sure to read the info blots.
  3. The large resting place of Edgar Allan Poe and various family members wasn't the original resting place for him - that's around back so be sure to go looking for it. You'll know it for his original grave for the raven on the stone and the items left behind from fans.


This post is cross-posted at my travel blog: Absconding to Wander
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