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Things to do in Baltimore

Eat all you can in a big old boat

Maryland is world famous for its crabs - and there's no better place to eat them than at Captain James Landing (tel: +1 410 327 8600; www.captainjameslanding.com), a staple of Baltimore's culinary scene since 1978. Located inside an imitation merchant vessel, their all-you-can-eat crab deal will float every crab lovers' boat.

Get your skates on at Mount Pleasant

In the north east, cold weather is part of the landscape, so embrace it by slipping into some sweaty, 150th-hand ice skates. The place to head for a spin and stumble is the Mount Pleasant Ice Arena (tel: +1 443 984 4075; www.mtpleasanticearena.com), which offers free skate sessions and lessons for those unsteady on the ice.

Go grave spotting in Green Mount Cemetery

The historic Green Mount Cemetery (tel: +1 410 539 0641; www.greenmountcemetery.com) is notable for several long-term inhabitants. Not least Elijah Bond, the creator of the ouija board, who's at plot J20. You'll also find the final resting place of John Wilkes Booth, the actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln as well as Napoleon's sister-in-law, Betsy Patterson.

Poke around Edgar Allan Poe’s old house

From 1833 until 1935, Edgar Allen Poe lived in a little house at 203 Baltimore North Amity Street (tel: +1 410 462 1763; www.poeinbaltimore.org) where he wrote some of his best-known short stories. This unassuming house is now a memorial to the great writer and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Stagger along the Maryland wine trails

It might not be the first thing you associate with the region, but Maryland has its own thriving wine industry. There are six wine trails for any aspiring bon vivant to follow as well as a host of events throughout the year that bring local wines into the spotlight. Maryland Wine (www.marylandwine.com) will give you a taste of what to expect.

Featured Hotels

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Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore

There's something of a beaux-arts feel to this hotel, with marble staircases leading up form the grand lobby. The actual building has been around for more than 100 years, but this belies the modernity of the property, which is sleek and chic. Even the entry-level rooms are of a nice size, and the suites are enormous.

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel

This contemporary hotel features soothing earth-toned décor, good conference facilities, a fitness centre and all the in-room services you would expect from the Marriott chain. Seafood dishes are especially good at Watertable restaurant. The hotel is conveniently attached to the attractive Gallery mall and has lovely harbour views.

The Ivy

The luxurious accommodation in this 19th-century Mount Vernon mansion aims to give you the feel of staying in the home of a wealthy friend. Nine characterful rooms and suites are fitted out with cosy four-poster beds and sleek bathrooms. Curl up with a book in the library, tinkle the piano or dine in the upscale Magdalena bistro.

Wilson House Bed & Breakfast

Housed in a grand 19th-century mansion this elegant 10-room bed and breakfast offers cosy accommodation near Penn Station. It was here that William Jennings Bryant made deals that led to Woodrow Wilson taking the presidency in 1912. The home is within easy reach of Mount Vernon's cultural venues and eateries and around 5km (3 miles) from the Inner Harbor.

Lord Baltimore Hotel

A fixture in the city since 1928, this is a classic hotel in the French Renaissance style, the huge lobby chock full of chandeliers, staircases and everything you really want on old-style hotel to be. You're only a few blocks from Inner Harbor, and its 400-plus rooms are mostly a good size.

Sleep Inn & Suites Downtown Inner Harbor

A short stroll from the Inner Harbor this hotel puts you within walking distance of Baltimore's main attractions. Rooms are smart and modern with a choice of two double beds or a king bed. Many also have a pull-out sofa bed. A hot buffet breakfast is included.