The Colonists are said to have called it “the Venice of America,” and Annapolis retains much of the beauty and history that make it a great summer day trip or getaway. But, if you think you’ve done it all, think again. The folks in Annapolis just keep coming up with new experiences to draw you back.
Two of the iconic domes on the Annapolis skyline belong to the historic State House and the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel. The academy’s visitor center has launched a new narrated “GEM of a Tour” that departs from the visitor center for a 75-minute tour at 2:30pm Saturdays, April 22–Oct.28. The tour, in a five-passenger GEM electric car, is perfect for people who can’t or don’t want to do the walking tour, according to Mianna Jopp, of the visitor center.
The tour includes the standard sights, including the main chapel, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, and Bancroft Hall, the student dormitory. It also covers areas such as the sports complexes, the parade grounds, and monuments not usually seen on academy tours.
“You learn a lot about the famous people in the cemetery and the story of the Jeannette, which lost half her crew on an Arctic expedition,” Jopp said.
When the tour returns to the visitor center, take a moment to check out the Halsey Field House interactive exhibit, which features interviews with midshipmen and photos of important events in the academy’s history.
Overnight guests at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel can choose from packages that can include walking tours of the academy and lunch or dinner on post at The Alley.
Just outside the academy walls, on City Dock, you can view the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, and access four virtual tours via QR codes. The codes lead to information about the memorial itself and the Compass Rose, the Alex Haley sculpture grouping, and the Story Wall and Leonard Blackshear Walk. The codes are located near the memorial and at kintehaley.org.
Food and history
Annapolis Urban EvenTours now offers a two-hour Annapolis Unveiled tour that includes tasting local specialties in a one-of-a-kind seafood crawl. The seafood comes with a healthy dose of the history and maritime heritage that is uniquely Annapolis. You make the journey in a five-passenger eCruiser.
“We go to small places all over town and you get more than just a nibble here and there. People have really taken to the seafood experience,” said owner George Palmer.
If you’re longing to get out on the water, there are ample opportunities (this is “the Venice of America,” remember), but how about a family fishing experience? Family Fishing Adventures provides an interactive trip aboard the 30-foot Sea Dragon for families with children.
“We focus on the kids having a good time working with the crab pots and catch-and-release fishing, but parents and grandparents fish as well,” said Chris Hindershot, who noted all the activity has an environmental message, too.
At least eight Annapolis restaurants are banding together with the cooperation of the city to offer Dinner Under the Stars on Wednesday evenings, July 13–Sept. 21.
A canopy of lights will be strung above the first block of West Street off of Church Circle so diners can enjoy the al fresco dining experience from 6:00–10:00pm. (443-452-7321)
If your tastes turn more to dessert and coffee, The Red Bean on Main Street serves up artisan ice cream and espresso creations, whole leaf teas, and specialty drinks.
The Red Bean uses locally sourced dairy and makes all of its syrups and sauces in house daily.
Finally, if you’re looking for the familiar Annapolis Circulator trolley, it’s now a bus instead. The bus still picks up riders at the four city parking garages and moves around the central business district at 20-minute intervals.
Annapolis & Anne Arundel Co. Tourism: visitannapolis.org