If Maryland is America in miniature, says Jeannette Belliveau, then Upper Fells Point is Baltimore in miniature.
With quintessential front steps, brick rowhouses, corner stores and bars, residents say they have some of all that is best about Baltimore. This is a neighborhood with both an old-fashioned hardware store and a community theater.
"Saying it's diverse sounds like a cliche, but here it really is true," says Belliveau, a writer and the secretary of the Upper Fells Point Improvement Association, an active community group.
There is a mix of Latino, Lumbee Indian, Asian, Caucasian and African-American residents, Belliveau says. Housing ranges from humble, narrow rowhouses to those with rooftop decks and hot tubs.
Upper Fells Point is defined as the neighborhood between Lombard Street to the north, Washington Street to the east, Eastern Avenue to the south and Broadway to the west. It is within walking distance of Johns Hopkins Hospital and attracts some hospital staff as residents.
The proximity to the harbor and Patterson Park and easy access to Interstate 95 and the Jones Falls Expressway are also appealing, especially to young professionals, says Vito Simone, associate broker at Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty.
"It's a place where you can live, work and play," he says.
Housing stock: From a shell of a house for $65,000 to a new brick Victorian for $549,900, there is a range of choices in Upper Fells Point.
Some houses and former warehouses have been divided into apartments. Most houses are two or three stories, with brick or Formstone exteriors.
A renovated brick rowhouse built in 1900 on Ann Street with two master suites, new hardwood floors, rooftop deck and a remodeled kitchen with new appliances and granite counters is currently listed at just under $400,000.
A fixer-upper with four bedrooms and one full bathroom built in 1900 on South Regester Street is $84,990.
Schools: The neighborhood is served by Wolfe Street Academy, City Springs Elementary and Middle, Commodore John Rogers Elementary and Middle, Patterson High, and Heritage High schools. Wolfe Street Academy has met adequate yearly progress goals required by the federal government. Patterson and Heritage high schools have met some of their AYP goals.
Crime: The neighborhood is patrolled by police officers from the Southeastern District. The most common reported crimes are thefts from vehicles and burglaries, according to city crime data.
But there occasionally is more serious crime. In October, police raided a suspected brothel in the neighborhood.
Transportation: Using U.S. 40 or Lombard Street, commuters can drive to offices downtown within five minutes. Many also walk or ride bikes to offices. The neighborhood is also within a few minutes of access to I-95 and the JFX.
Several bus routes also run through the area.
Shopping: Boutiques in Fells Point and Harbor East sell everything from clothing to chocolate. Department stores such as Sears and JCPenney are at Eastpoint Mall, over the county line on Eastern Avenue, less than five miles from Upper Fells Point.
Several corner stores specialize in Latino grocery items. Lombard Hardware & Tool Rental has been in business since 1891.
Dining in: The largest supermarket in the area is Safeway in Canton. Fresh Food Mart, on South Broadway, is smaller. Whole Foods in Harbor East is also nearby. Tortilleria Sinaloa is a popular Mexican carryout in the neighborhood, and Water for Chocolate sells boutique coffee and salads.
Dining out: Upper Fells Point residents have their choice of restaurants in nearby Fells Point, Little Italy and Canton. But there are also several dining choices in the neighborhood.
Henninger's Tavern serves seafood and American fare and, in the bar, classic TV dinners on metal trays.
Carolina's Tex Mex has a restaurant on Gough Street, in addition to its Fells Point location. Arcos, a Mexican restaurant, has a charming courtyard. La Cazuela serves Ecuadorian cuisine, and El Rinconcito Peruano is known for its Peruvian fare.
Nightlife: Tourists and college students tend to patronize the bars in Fells Point, while the clubs and bars in Upper Fells Point have more residents as patrons, says Belliveau.
At the Fells Point Corner Theatre - technically in Upper Fells Point on South Ann Street - the play The Sisters Rosensweig is on stage through Dec. 7.
Residents also can walk to Harbor East's movie theater, Landmark Theatres.
Recreation: Patterson Park, with 155 acres of sports fields, meadows, a playground, ice rink and community center, is just east of Upper Fells Point. Residents walk their dogs there, go for morning jogs and play in softball and other recreation leagues.
A community garden has been established in the 1800 block of East Pratt St.
Laura Barnhardt is a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun.
UPPER FELLS POINT BY THE NUMBERS
ZIP code: 21231
Homes currently on the market: 82
Average listing price: $242,060
Average sales price: $214,544*
Average days on the market: 51*
*Information based on sales in the past 12 months as compiled by Vito Simone, associate broker at Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty LLC