Annapolis, sailing capital of the United States

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Historic Annapolis, MD – a peaceful harbor town, located about an hour from the bustling city of DC. Are you interested in the history of the United States? You can’t miss this place. Are you planning on visiting the DC area? It’s a quick stop along the road. However, it’s not a place where you can hang out all week but it’s perfect to spend a day or weekend. Are you thinking about visiting the Chesapeake Bay area? Annapolis is the place to start. Interested in harbor views and lots of seafood? Again, this might be the place for you.

Meet friendly locals, rent a boat, eat some crabs, go fishing, soak up some sun or stroll along the harbor. Everything is possible.

Free activities

Maryland State House

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The Maryland State House is the oldest in the nation in continuous legislative use. It’s the place where George Washington resigned his commission before the continental congress on December 23, 1783. It’s also the place where the congress ratified the treaty of Paris to end the revolutionary war (January 14, 1784) and appointed Thomas Jefferson minister plenipotentiary (May 7, 1784).

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Don’t forget to bring your ID. You’ll have to go through security first.

Naval Academy

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The Naval Academy is a school, established in 1845. Throughout the years, the mission has remained focused on developing midshipmen morally, mentally and physically into leaders of character for the Navy and Marine Corps.

The architecture is amazing and it reflects the history of the academy. It’s a school but some parts are open to the public.

Armel-Leftwich visitor centre
The tour starts with a little more information about the academy. You’ll see a movie and photos of the daily life.

Dahlgren Hall
This hall is one of the highlights of the academy. It’s a great place to see ship and aircraft memorabilia.

Bancroft Hall
This hall is the largest dormitory in the US. You’ll see a copy of the famous “don’t give up the ship” flag. “Don’t give up the ship” was the dying command of James Lawrence in 1813 aboard the USS Chesapeake. It became a famous quote for midshipmen.

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Main Chapel
The place where Catholic and Protestant services are held.

U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Preble Hall
This museum contains paintings and artifacts. First floor: exhibit “Leadership and service: the history of the U.S. Navy and USNA”. Second floor: a collection of antique ship models.

Ability, not gender

Interesting fact: July 1, 1976 was an important milestone in the history of the academy. Among 1300 new students were 81 women, the first women admitted to the academy.

The academy is accessible through Gate 1 on Randall Street and Prince George Street. Visitors must be over 18 years old and you have to show a photo ID.

Other activities

William Paca house and garden

source: wikimedia commons

William Paca is known as a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. His 18th-century Georgian mansion is now a historic landmark and open to the public.

40-minute/60-minute trolley tour

City dock, World War II memorial, State House, Governor’s residence, Colonial mansions, US Naval Academy (exterior), St. Johns college, Eastport waterfront (60-minute tour), Murray Hill neighborhood  (60-minute tour), Maryland fire-rescue memorial (60-minute tour)

Sailing trips

It’s a harbor town and people are all into boating and fishing so I would suggest to rent a boat to explore the area. The view is so much better from the water and summer is the perfect season (if you can stand the heat – don’t forget to bring the sunscreen).

Sandy Point State Park

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This park is a public recreation area with its own beach  (Yes, you heard it right – there’s a beach) and view over the Chesapeake Bay bridge. It’s a nice place to relax, rent a boat or to go fishing.

Personally, I must say I really enjoyed getting to know this area and its inhabitants, away from the crowded city of DC. I wish I could’ve seen a lot more and it would definitely be nice to rent a car and drive around the countryside of Virginia and Maryland. People are always talking about the famous road trips in California or Florida but this area is off the beaten path and that’s what makes it worth the trip.

 

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