Visiting Annapolis on a lovely fall day was a visual treat. I imagine it is crowded and circus-like in the summer when families descend on this old colonial city. While really fun, it is probably jam-packed during the big boat show in October. It might not ooze so much quaintness at those times.
Lucky me. I visited the sleepy town on a quiet day in September, finding it a great place to meander and to soak up history. There seemed to be a lot to do but it didn’t feel overwhelming.
Here are five reasons to love Annapolis.
Reason 1: It is filled with 350 years of history–too much to cover here, but, yikes, this is a great spot to bring the kids to learn about our country. From the historic houses to the Kunte Kinte Memorial you can absorb a lot in a fairly confined easy-to-manage area.
Annapolis has the largest collection of 18th century architecture in the U.S. I got a kick out of the house billed as having the “Most Beautiful Doorway in Colonial America.” I was intrigued when the guide at the Visitor’s Bureau told me about it so I hunted it down. It might be the most beautiful colonial doorway, but apparently the Hammond-Harwood house is getting a facelift.
The Kunta Kinte Memorial is worth mentioning. It’s small and you have to look for it, but it commemorates the actual name and place of the arrival of an enslaved African. That slave, Kunte Kinte, was immortalized in the book and TV mini-series “Roots” by Alex Haley.
Another historic spot to visit is the Shiplap House, using the technique of ship building.
I even spotted a Moderne style building mixed in with all the colonial treasures.
Reason 2: The number of Irish influences–bars, galleries and even shops with Irish stuff. Well, full confession, I’m Irish so I feel right at home with the McBrides and McGarveys. It warms my Irish heart to see a concentration of pubs and shops like this outside of Ireland. I felt right at home.
Reason 3: Annapolis is totally connected to water and boats. A thriving shipping industry first brought wealth and prosperity to Annapolis in the 18th century. You can tour the Naval Academy, visit the nautical chart shop with charts and oggle the big boats in Ego Alley–the city boat dock.
It was lovely to get out on the water and to look back at the land……
Every year 150,000 people come to the boat show in October. I’d like to go to that sometime. Why? Annapolis calls itself, “The sailing capital of the world.” Sailing is a passion of mine. I’d enjoy seeing the Naval Academy as well.
Reason 4: Cute locally owned shops. I didn’t see the big chains. Looked like all locally owned, quirky stuff. I didn’t have much time but I would have loved exploring.
Reason 5: And lastly, I love a place with “weird” stuff like the Parking Meter re-purposed as a receptacle for depositing spare change for the Homeless. Is it real? The funny face poster in the window. Makes me think of the kind of thing you’d see in Austin, Texas whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird. ”