Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sailors and ships and seafood, oh my!

Summer weekends are rapidly slipping away, so it's definitely time to make the most of them by doing things like...heading over to Annapolis for the day! Dana and I managed to wake up at a decent hour, aided tremendously by excessive amounts of Starbucks lattes, and drove over to Annapolis, a mere hop, skip, and jump away from the city. Did you know it's considered the sailing capital of the world? Me either, but I can tell you it's ridiculously cute and old and right on the water. We made our first stop the United States Naval Academy - developing midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically since 1845. I would never just say that - it's part of their shtick. The campus is beautiful, but a little...stark...at the same time. I mean, there's serious business going on here.

Of course, we did want to see the sailors, and they seemed to be a little few and far between on a Sunday morning/afternoon...but then we caught them all coming out of church. Score! We were slightly afraid we were going to be crushed by pods of midshipmen marching around the yard, with calls of "hut hut hut!" and serious faces surrounding us, but of course we survived unscathed. Chivalry, after all. I hope they teach them that, too.

After wandering about the campus and stopping in strategic places for a dose of air conditioning (thank you, activities hall and museum!), we headed back towards the center of the town and checked out a few historic homes along the way. We made a quick stop at the Hammond-Harwood House, built in 1774 in the Georgian style, and declined to go on their hour-long tour of the home - the crazy lady in the hat who greeted us was definitely a factor in that decision.

Still interested in learning a little bit more about the history of the area and checking out a historic home (yes, we're nerds - I accept this), we made our way to the William Paca House and Garden, yet another national historic landmark that's been restored by the Historic Annapolis Foundation. William Paca's claim to fame? Well, he signed the Declaration of Independence and did all kinds of awesome things for the state of Maryland, so he's held in pretty high esteem around these parts. I didn't know who he was...but I sure do now. We got a tour of the gardens, which were just gorgeous and very Versailles-like (only on a much smaller scale, of course), and then embarked on a tour of the house as a group of six. I felt young, very young, which was actually a pretty nice feeling, even if it did imply we were embarking on adventures deemed exciting by the retiree set. I'm personally a big fan of the Georgian style - it's symmetrical, organized, structured. Shocking that description appeals to me, right? Anyway, it was really interesting to make our way through the house and gardens and learn a little bit of history and architecture.

Our tour of the Paca house took up a decent chunk of our time, and afterwards we were so hungry that we almost ate our arms starving, so we grabbed a quick slice of pizza in the center of town and continued on our historical viewings and endeavors. Maryland State House! The oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use AND the only state house to have served as the nation's capitol. The Treaty of Paris was ratified here! George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army here! Yes, it's crazy old and quite pretty to boot. St. Anne's Church! Windows designed by Tiffany & Co. - gorgeous. It felt very European save for the red brick (how very New England) exterior.

After a little more town exploring and wandering, we headed down to the docks for our much-anticipated sailing adventure aboard the Woodwind, a 74 foot wooden schooner that loads up with a rambunctious crew and a crowd of people to go sail the Chesapeake Bay. Ummm....I need a sailboat. More specifically, I need to know someone who has a sailboat who has no problem taking me out on the water on weekends and doing all of the hard sailing work themselves, because if you asked me to tack and jib and do all these sailing things, we would probably tip over and die. We strategically placed ourselves to board the boat as early as possible, which was a great move - found ourselves right at the front with no people in front of us and our view. This was such a fantastic experience. So peaceful out on the water, and we had fantastic views of the Naval Academy and the Bay Bridge and the ridiculously gorgeous waterfront homes along the way.

After our sailing adventure, we were in desperate need of sustenance, and we made our way out to a middle-of-nowhere spot along the bay known as Cantler's, where we dined at the bar next to a man named George whom I'm fairly certain lives at the bar and doles out advice to anyone who happens to be near. This place is a total dive, but it came highly recommended, and after our crab dip and jumbo shrimp and stuffed rockfish, I would also highly recommend. As long as you have an actual map or accurate navigation device to get you out there. The Google Maps directions are a little lacking.

All in all, Annapolis is an incredibly quaint, adorably cute, historical little place that I very well may visit again during my time in D.C. If you want to see more, you can check out my pictures from the day here. I love the day trips! Especially up here...if you drive 30-45 minutes from Dallas or Amarillo or Lubbock...yes, there are options, but it's certainly nothing like this. Long weekend in Philadelphia, here I come.


Trinity said...

Well, that sounds like fun. I suppose a joke about seamen would be appropriate here, but it is just to obvious...

Oh, what the hell.

Erin, did you enjoy all the seamen?

Carter said...

Dear Trinity,
I am very sorry the lady in the hat offended you and I am sorry you didn't have the time to take our 45 minute house tour at the historic Hammond-Harwood House. If you do return to Annapolis in the future please stop by and ask the docent for a 30 minute mini tour. Believe me when I say you missed a real jewel of a museum.
Carter C. Lively
Executive Director
Hammond-Harwood House

Erin said...

Trinity, you are TOO much. I should have known better.

Mr. Lively, my apologies for any misrepresentations of the staff at the Hammond-Harwood House. I would be happy to return for a tour!

Hmmm, didn't realize my reviews were really making it out there...

Addy's Daddy said...

Probably because they aren't. I semi expect this is some ploy of The Book. At any rate, the person is addressing Trinity and not you, so they aren't really paying attention anyway.

On a different note, I really enjoyed the live editing of crossing out words on your blogs. It is something that always cracks me up and has become a sort of Erin characteristic!

Trinity said...

That is honestly not me. I am not sure if that is real or not but I didn't do it. Maybe someone google searches the name of the place and when they see it they investigate.

Erin said...

I figured that comment was far too polite to have come from Trinity...maybe I popped up in Google somehow per Trinity's suggestion. It's a mystery to me!

Thomas, glad you're enjoying my strikethrough feature! It's how my brain works (yes, really - slightly scary, I know), so I figured I'd work it into some postings.

Diana said...

I love the way your brain works!!!