Like the tides, the coastline of Annapolis flows in and out of
the country's largest estuary, Chesapeake Bay. Not only is the
city the capital of Maryland, but it's also "America's Sailing
Capital." In or out of the water, you're in for a nautical
Years ago when I sailed into Annapolis on a friend's boat, we
tied up at City Dock, like others have done for 300 years. This
year I approached it by water taxi (www.cruisesonthebay.com/Annapolis-water-taxi).
The forest of sailboat masts still bobbed on the water and the
mass of seafood restaurants and assorted shops still surrounded
the square. But this time, a new monument had been added: the
Alex Haley Memorial. A group of sculptures depicts the author of
the book, Roots,
reading to a gathering of children. Haley's ancestor and hero of
the book, Kunta Kinte, is said to have landed on City Dock in
1767 off the slave ship, Lord Ligonier.
|The Alex Haley Memorial can be
found on City Dock. (Photo courtesy of
United States Naval Academy
The US Naval Academy (www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors)
helped put Annapolis on the global map. Founded in 1845 as a
naval school on ten acres, it became the United States Naval
Academy in 1850, and now encompasses 338 acres. The public may
visit the grounds and some buildings on guided tours. Our
volunteer docent, Wayne Fritz, was a 1957 alumnus, who shared
interesting antidotes and facts, such as Wesley Brown, in 1949,
was the first African American to graduate from the Academy and
Navy's superiority to Army on the football field. He walked us
around the "Yard" (or campus). In Lejeune Hall, we viewed the
Athletic Hall of Fame that displayed photographs of the
Academy's star athletes, like Roger Staubach of the Dallas
Cowboys and David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. We also saw
students swimming fully clothed in an Olympic-size pool and
jumping from a high diving platform as preparation for
abandoning ship. Other buildings of interest are the chapel and
takes place at the US Naval Academy. (Photo courtesy of
||Annapolis black history is
depicted in a
colored glass window by African
artist Loring Cornish of Baltimore.
(Photo by Eleanor Hendricks McDaniel)
Be sure to view the noon formation as hundreds of midshipmen
(and women) head off to lunch. Since 1905, a military pageantry
complete with bagpipes, a marching band, swords, flags and
blocks of student formations perform in front of tourists. Of
course, they played "Anchors Away" and "The Halls of Montezuma."
After the workout, the student body marched into the dining
American history "Must-Sees"
Partially lodged in the former Mt. Moriah AME Church is the
Banneker-Douglass Museum (www.bdmuseum.Maryland.gov),
Maryland's official museum for African American heritage. It's
named after two exceptional black Marylanders: Benjamin Banneker
and Frederick Douglass. Others born in the Old Line State who
distinguished themselves are also remembered, like Harriet
Tubman and Matthew Henson (ancestor of actress Taraji P.
Henson). As you enter the modern addition, you'll notice a
two-storied colored glass window created by Baltimore artist
Loring Cornish. It ties the spirit of the church to Maryland's
African American history.
The museum focuses on the positive contributions of African
Americans in all contexts in the history of the United States.
"Africans coming to America weren't just blank slates," says Dr.
Joni Floyd, Executive Director. Lifelike dioramas, exhibits and
authentic objects describe their contributions, knowledge and
skills. Galleries feature the legacies of slavery, the
Underground Railroad, military matters, collegiate sports and
more. One of the
interactive objects challenges you to fit yourself into a box
the same size as the shipping container Lear Green, a female
slave, escaped in. Dr. Floyd demonstrated that feat for me.
|Dr. Joni Floyd, Executive
Director of Banneker Douglass Museum, fits herself into
replica of a shipping container. (Photo by Eleanor
Beginning December 1, the museum will host a temporary six-month
exhibition, "Jumping the Broom." When you go, start with the ten
minute video, and plan on spending one and one-half hours at the
museum. Admission is free, and 100,000 people visit annually.
During the 1760s, one of Maryland's four Signers of the
Declaration of Independence, William Paca, built one of 19th
century America's finest homes. Paca sold it in 1780 to another
family, but the house eventually fell into many uses – even as a
hotel. But careful restoration by Historic Annapolis which began
in 1965 has turned it into a National Historic Landmark.
Found on the two-acre city estate is a formal garden whose
plantings are authentic to that era. In the rear of the garden
is a summerhouse that was painstaking copied from an historic
painting discovered inside the house. I crossed a fish-shaped
pond to enter the charming little building, and climbed to the
top for a spectacular view of the garden. Go to
www.Annapolis.org for information on self- and guided tours of
the home and the gardens.
|Don't miss touring the Paca
House and Garden. (Photo by Eleanor Hendricks McDaniel)
View the eight-foot statue of famed United States Supreme Court
Justice, Thurgood Marshall at the Lawyers Mall at the State
House. The plaza honors the accomplishments of the first African
American appointed to the high court. As an attorney for the
NAACP, Marshall fought for equal justice for all. In 1954, he
won the case of Brown versus the Board of Education in the
Supreme Court. The landmark decision outlawed segregation in
|View the memorial to Justice
Thurgood Marshall at the Lawyers' Mall.
courtesy of VisitAnnapolis.org)
The figures on the benches within the site represent students
who benefitted from the decision, and all around the circle is a
chronology of Marshall's extensive achievements.
Crab is king
And I don't mean king crab, but the small blue crabs found in
the Chesapeake Bay. Celebrated throughout the Mid-Atlantic
States is the Maryland crab cake. Sweet and succulent – fried or
broiled -- it's formed with nothing but jumbo lump crabmeat. So
where to find a good one in Annapolis? Almost anywhere and
everywhere. Of course, each chef incorporates his own special
seasonings. I suggest these restaurants which, in addition, may
also create other tasty crab dishes.
|Maryland blue crabs are
Mid-Atlantic favorites. (Photo courtesy of
Galway Bay Irish Pub (www.galwaybaymd.com)
serves, not surprisingly, traditional Irish fare, like corned
beef and cabbage, but it ventures out with unusual seafood and
chicken selections, too. For its crab feast, the pub features
Miss Peggy's crab cake dishes. I had the crab cake sandwich for
lunch, and it was one of the best I've ever eaten.
Chick and Ruth's Delly (www.chickandruths.com)
just marked its 50th anniversary. The second
generation owners have continued the tradition of an
unbelievably giant-size menu that lists giant-size portions,
like a nine pound milkshake. I ate breakfast there, and, even in
the morning, crab showed up in omelets and Eggs Benedict. The
rest of the day, the deli's motto is: Crab Cake Central. But if
you go for breakfast, get there in time to say the Pledge of
For upscale dining, Carrol's Creek Waterfront Restaurant (www.carrolscreek.com)
is the place. Housed on a wharf with a view of pleasure crafts
docked outside, the ambiance is casually elegant. The menu
includes a variety of food options, and I must admit that by
this time, I was crabbed-out. So I selected Pan-Seared Scallops
(another morsel from Chesapeake Bay). My dinner companion also
passed on their tempting crab cakes, and chose instead a
landlubber's Grilled Filet Mignon.
Fortunately, you don't have to wait for summer to visit
Annapolis, because there's always something going on. Check for
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