Last weekend, I stopped in Baltimore on the way up to see family in New York.
I first moved to Charm City in 2011, after living with my parents post-college for 13 months. I jumped on an opportunity to move into a small room in a big house with three perfect strangers in Federal Hill. The rent was cheap, my commute to work was fast and my male roommates were gracious. Even though I grew up 30 miles south of the city, I didn’t really know anyone. Baltimore was a blank canvas and I spent a lot of time exploring on my own.
I have roots in Baltimore. My grandfather, Charles Donald Stegman was born in Baltimore. “Poppy” studied accounting at Johns Hopkins University and after retiring as a Colonel in the army, he worked at Stegman & Associates which was founded by my Great Grandfather in 1915. He taught me how to crab. Poppy would pick Maryland crabs so clean they wouldn’t draw flies.
During my seven years in Baltimore, I lived on Hanover Street, Gittings Street, back to Hanover Street, Grindall Street and then Riverside Avenue. My visit last week brought me to the rowhouse on Riverside that my husband bought when we were just friends back in 2012. We stopped by to take photos of the newly renovated rooms and roofdeck to update the rental listings. I shared photos and videos on my Instagram Story to spread the word that the house is available for rent and featured neighborhood highlights including its walkability, close proximity to parks and nearby businesses. I showed off the sunrises, sunsets, rainbows and iconic Domino Sugar sign views from the roofdeck.
Around the same time, the President of the United States shared a series of tweets about Baltimore. One sentence stood out to me: No human being would want to live there. I won’t speak to the politics around why he tweeted this, mainly because he’s not the point here. The purpose of this post is to highlight a few of the businesses, particularly in food and beverage, that made living in Baltimore so great. Behind these businesses are people, and these genuine human beings are the reasons why I lived there for seven years.
During my time in Baltimore, I often went to Startup Soiree, a networking event/organization founded by my friends at Pixilated Photo and Intrinsic Events, that brought together various small business owners and entrepreneurs. I met Farmer Nell of CityWeeds, Carlee Pipitone of Tenth Harvest, Andrew Buerger of B’More Organic, Dana Sicko of Gundalow Gourmet. I eventually joined the Baltimore Emerging Businesses Roundtable led by Jon Wachs (Offit Kurman) with some of these entrepreneurs, plus Michele Tsucalas of Michele’s Granola, Sid Sharma of Wild Kombucha, B.G. Purcell of Mouth Party Caramel and many more. If you see their products at your neighborhood Whole Foods Market or have the time to explore their sites, I highly recommend supporting these local businesses. They’re run by some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met who have chosen to build their business in Baltimore.
This list is nowhere near complete, but I included businesses and organizations that I supported and got to know. I hope if you can, you’ll check them out. Please share your favorite Baltimore-based companies in the comments section and let me know if you have any questions or want to chat about Baltimore. This is just a start, but I wanted to do something to shine light on some goodness.