The Good National Harbor is cool, but even on a cold day in early March it was all but un-navigable due to traffic. We poked around the Power Plant Barnes & Noble, which was nifty but really just another B&N at the end of the day, and very tellingly didn't go to the National Aquarium because it was $35 per adult just to go in the friggin' door. Otterbein (the downtown neighborhood most likely to interest us) was pretty but nowhere near as pedestrian-friendly as Richmond's Fan District. The historic district of Ellicott City was the highlight of the trip, being all hilly-treeish-river-valleyness, but it would have a lot of logistical problems as an actual place to live.
The Bad Traffic there is the same as traffic here; most of the houses were small and badly in need of renovation; the whole area had a general feeling of postwar development that's just going through the motions now because it doesn't know what else to do with itself.
The Ugly We mostly avoided the ugly parts. There wasn't anything that was really problematic (at least no more than we already live with where we are and is kinda baseline to human existence), there just wasn't anything good enough to make going there worth the effort.
So, yeah, if we were already in Baltimore, we wouldn't have any particular reason to leave, but as we're not already in Baltimore, we don't have any particular reason to go there.
So that leaves our prospects being A) stay in NoVA, or B) relocate to Richmond. Both have strong advantages and disadvantages, and so for me at least it kinda ends up being a wash. Job prospects in Richmond are surprisingly strong for laurie_robey, as there is a vibrant UX community there– but the salaries are noticeably lower than what she could command up here. The question becomes, is the cost of living more reduced than the salaries are? If so, moving to Richmond is a net gain. If not, then it has little to offer but better traffic.