What: Fort McHenry’s 70th Anniversary as a Historic Shrine
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
When: Tuesday, August 11; Summer Saturdays & Sundays
Why: While Fort McHenry was built in 1803, and shelled by the British in 1814, it wasn’t until 1939 that it was granted special status by the US National Park Service. Now the country’s only National Monument and Historic Shrine, it’s recognized as the home of the original star spangled banner—commissioned by the fort’s commander to taunt the British Navy—that Francis Scott Key saw “by the dawn’s early light.”
Touring the fort just southeast of Inner Harbor is worth a trip in its own right, but rangers also host a twice-daily “flag changing” in which they explain why the banner flying over the fort had 15 stripes instead of 13 and how to properly fold the flag. While this year’s anniversary falls on a Tuesday, weekend visitors this summer will also get a full 19th-century experience thanks to re-enactors doing living history and artillery demonstrations throughout the national park.
How to get there: Both Amtrak and BoltBus stop at Baltimore’s Penn Station, at 1515 N. Charles St. Check schedules and fares at amtrak.com and boltbus.com. To reach the fort, use the Baltimore Water Taxis—get more info at thewatertaxi.com—or take bus #1, which stops at the park main gate. (Fort McHenry, 2400 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, nps.gov/fomc)
Photo: Courtesy of Toshio (Globetrotting)