Homes for the holiday: Take mom on a house tour

The 2012 Annual Historic Harbor House Tour of Fells Point is held on Sunday, May 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Photo by Eve G. Gillison

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There are plenty of home improvement shows, but for the real thing, you just can’t beat a house tour.

Here in Baltimore City, the Annual Historic Harbor House Tour of Fells Point returns year after year. It’s a Mother’s Day tradition, with a dance card of 10 homes. Those homes vary each year.

This year, many of the homes date from the War of 1812, although, according to Ellen Von Karajan, who works at the Preservation Society of Fells Point and Federal Hill, there are some new properties as well, including two condominiums: one at Henderson’s Wharf, and another at Belt’s Landing.

The idea, according to Kay Hogan, president of the board of directors at the Preservation Society, is “to show Fells Point is made up of both old and new places.”

In addition to the 10 buildings on the tour, an additional three are included each year. Two are residential (one on Dallas Street and one on S. Ann Street) and one is the Robert Long House, headquarters of the Preservation Society.

Most of the historical houses on the tour were owned by Fells Point residents throughout history, many of whom worked in the maritime trade. The tour, therefore, becomes as much as a tour through Fells Point’s economic and social history as it is a way to look at works of historically sensitive renovation.

Those who buy tickets for the self-guided tour are given a walking map of the area. Von Karajan and Hogan say participants are encouraged to visit the houses at their own pace, with lunch on their own at some of the local eateries.

The tour is limited to 10 houses, says Hogan, “so that people can just walk through Fells Point and not feel they have to race to get through them all.”

Note: The 2012 Annual Historic Harbor House Tour of Fells Point is held on Sunday, May 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the tour. Info: 410-675-6750, ext. 16,

by Mary Helen Sprecher

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