Let me introduce you to North Baltimore’s Hampden, a 19th-century blue-collar mill town that has evolved into a hipster Baltimore neighborhood – both cool and kitschy – fun destination for a ladies day out!
Made famous for its starring role in John Waters’ films (like Hairspray) and long known as the place where everybody calls you “hon,” Hampden centers on 36th Street – known to locals simply as The Avenue. They even host a HONfest, an annual spring street festival dedicated to the beehive, cat’s-eye glasses and all things “hon.”
After years of living in the pacific northwest finding a good coffee shop is a habit. Soon we are in line at Spro Coffee ready to sip an espresso drink and indulge in one of their homemade pastries (several of which are gluten-free). Spro Hampden is unique in the industry. They offer a variety of coffees from multiple coffee roasters and offer those coffees in multiple brew methods: vacuum pot, pour over, chemex, eva solo, aeropress, french press, clever and cold brew drip tower. Their approach comes from the Hawaiian teaching: A’ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka halau ho’okahi – Not all knowledge is taught in one school.
Hot drinks in hand we head to Bryan’s Finds & Designs which caught our eye as we parked the car. Handmade silver spoon bracelets downstairs and vintage clothing and hats upstairs, plus lots of other stuff, kept us entertained for awhile.
Soon it is time for lunch. My sister suggests Alchemy – a true gem – delicious food and comfy atmosphere. The Crab Bisque was excellent; salads were fresh, creative, and the perfect size for lunch. My sister ordered one of the Chef’s Recommendations – Burrata – fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream – served with smoked tomato honey, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, crushed spiced pecans, crostini and microgreens. Wow.
Time for a little more shopping… Trohv (full of stylish home goods), Wild Yam Pottery (where they have throw your own sessions), and Paradiso (exceptional furniture, lighting, contemporary jewelry, and fine crafts).