While my heart will always be in Baltimore, I want to talk about another place. I have lived in Baltimore for a long time and during that whole time, my family also lived in Baltimore. We lived in Baltimore County, Roland Park, Tuscany-Canterbury and Woodberry but Baltimore was always a constant. Even when I moved to New Jersey my mom was still back in good old Charm City. They say you can never go home again but I felt that I sort of could. Then my mom moved out of the city and my brothers and I became the new proprietors of the Baltimore apartment. I’m the only one who lives there, though. Meanwhile, my mom moved out to West Virginia. I then ended up working West Virginia for two years while still going home to Baltimore every weekend. This summer I returned to Shepherdstown.
When I first hung out in Shepherdstown, I worked where I lived so I was pretty isolated. Lately, I have tried to explore the place a little and enjoy it more. The family homestead outside of Shepherdstown is beautiful. It was designed by my mom’s third husband who is incidentally my stepfather. It is situated way back off the main road out in the boonies. This is great for me because I actually like anonymity and being separated from the hustle and bustle. The apartment in Baltimore is actually separate from the hustle and bustle too despite being in the middle of the city. There’s also this stuff called nature everywhere and it’s surprisingly beautiful. I can walk outside for hours without crossing one street if I so choose to.
This past summer I revisited the place to do some paralegal work and then I worked on my studies. When I took a break, I was able to drive out into the area to have a little fun. So where can you have fun in the West Virginia panhandle? Well, if you want to do stuff you would do in Baltimore County, for example, you need to do some driving. Almost nothing worth doing is really close by and there isn’t really a straight road in the area either. I used to say that I hated to drive. When I started driving out in West Virginia, I discovered that I loved driving along the curvy, picturesque roads no matter what the destination was.
So where is that Baltimore County-esque stuff? Well, the big box stores, chain restaurants and movie theater are all in Martinsburg. When I worked out here, I drove to Lowes in Martinsburg over and over. There is a great Japanese steakhouse called Kobe out there which does the whole show complete with knives, fire and flying shrimp. There is a small movie theater where I saw The Force Awakens for the first time. Every time I have seen a movie there, it has not been crowded at all. This is perfect since I feel claustrophobic when there are too many people in the theater. There are a lot of big box stores which are necessary evils for a person on a budget.
How about Shepherdstown itself? Shepherdstown is one part hippie town, one part college town and one part expatriates from nearby cities. It is a premiere stop in the area for tourists so everyone is friendly and welcoming and quirky. The town is full of all sorts of specialty shops and actually has a ton of restaurants. This past week, while I was off of school, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the middle of town and just soaking it all in. The town is busy while not being overly crowded and everyone looks like they’re having a good time. Even the busker on the street gave me a high five before making his pitch. It also did not hurt that Pokemon Go hit the town hard and everybody was totally cool with it.
There is a lot of history in the town as well. The area is rich in Civil War history but thankfully Shepherdstown is free of confederate flags. The town is built around Shepherd University which used to be a teaching college. So most of the historical significance has to do with the college buildings and the fact that Shepherdstown is West Virginia’s first incorporated town. It is a really cool little place to walk around (even if you’re not playing Pokemon Go). Just the other day I even discovered a new area to walk to called Rumsey Park where you can find plenty of green grass and an awesome, giant monument.
However, I have two favorite places in town. The first is Maria’s Taqueria which is hands down my favorite place to eat in the area. In fact, it might be my favorite place to eat period. The place does not take itself too seriously and makes great Mexican-styled food. It doesn’t stress itself over making sure the food is authentic but instead makes sure it tastes good. While you can sit down, the place does a lot of take-out business with a small but simple and tasty menu. Everybody is friendly there and the place is adorned with sugar skulls as a nod to the real Mexico. The other place that I love is Beyond Comics. While I haven’t been there too often, Beyond Comics is a clean and friendly comic book store which has a great selection. I look forward to visiting there again soon.
This place is great but today my semester begins in Baltimore and I have to return to my apartment. I don’t mind because I love Baltimore. However, now I have a new place to call home too.