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Charm City Architecture

Rowhouses -- Part of what makes Baltimore "Charm City" is its rowhouses: long rows of flat fronted houses. Three marble steps lead to the front door. A pink Baltimore brick probably faces the exterior -- but you just might see the pink-and-gray fake-stone veneer known as Formstone. Baltimore's rowhouses have been undergoing a renaissance since the 1970s, when the city sold vacant houses for a buck apiece. You'll find these beauties in Otterbein, near Oriole Park, in Federal Hill, Canton, and Fell's Point. The longest row of rowhouses, at 1,800 feet, is in the 2600 block of Wilkens Avenue in west Baltimore.

Mansions -- If you want to see really spectacular houses, castles really, you'll want to go to the Brandywine Valley near Wilmington. Sure, there are great houses in Maryland (the Carroll and Garret mansions in Baltimore and the Paca House in Annapolis, for example) but the du Pont family has built the most striking examples open to the public. Not only houses, but gardens, too, make Nemours, Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, and Hagley spectacular.

Colonial Style -- Williamsburg's Colonial streets may be famous, but Annapolis's and New Castle's buildings were actually built in the 1700s, and some even in the 1600s. Carefully preserved Georgian and Federal beauties line these streets.

Beaux Arts Style -- Tired of those symmetrical brick buildings? For a taste of architecture with a European flair, you've got to take a walk up Charles Street in Baltimore. You'll find palatial homes facing the parks around the Washington Monument.

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