There's smooth sailing for you and your grandchildren when you
visit Annapolis, Maryland. With plenty of water views and water
sports, this county seat of Anne Arundel County is an invitation
to fun. Annapolis is called the Sailing Capital of the World, no
surprise considering that it's situated on the Chesapeake Bay.
It's less than an hour from Baltimore and Washington, D. C.
Rent a kayak, sign on for (seasonal) Family Fishing Adventures
or take your grandkids to 350-feet-long Downs Park Pier, and
help them cast their rods into the bay. See what takes the bait.
Or bring the kiddies aboard the Sea Gypsy. It's a boat
that's a make-believe pirate ship.
You get to sit onboard the Sea Gypsy and relax while your
grandchildren dress up as pirates, search for sunken treasure
and engage in fun activities. The Sea Gypsy is owned by a
company called Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake, and the
mission of the owners and staff is to provide children with a
Pirate adventure onboard Sea Gypsy.
Photo credit: Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County
Water is plentiful in Annapolis but so is American history.
That's a good thing for families because while they're enjoying
time together, they're also learning together.
Annapolis has about 100 colonial structures. Notable are the
homes of four signers of the Declaration of Independence,
including Charles Carroll, who lived longer than any other
signer, and lawyer William Paca, who was a three-term governor
A tour of Paca's 26-room house reveals the private life of an
upper-class household in Colonial and Revolutionary Annapolis.
Paca's property includes a beautiful two-acre pleasure garden.
The house offers a schedule of children's programming.
William Paca House and Gardens
Photo credit: Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County
Another notable house was not owned by a "signer," but rather by
Matthias Hammond, a wealthy young tobacco planter. Hammond
Harwood House, built in 1774 on four acres of land, is a prime
example of colonial American architecture. This National
Historic Landmark is filled with antique 18th- and 19th-century
furniture and decorative arts, and paintings by Charles Wilson
Peale (famous for his portrait of George Washington).
Banneker-Douglass Museum, a repository for African-American
culture and history, is housed within the Gothic-Victorian
former Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum
is named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass and astronomer,
surveyor and almanac author Benjamin Banneker. Banneker's mother
was a free black woman. His father was a freed slave.
The museum may not sound like a must-see tourist attraction, but
there are lessons to be learned here. Among the museum's
exhibits and historical documents is a letter that Banneker
wrote to Thomas Jefferson. The marvel is that the letter was
written by a black man to a slave-owner (Jefferson) in protest
of the poor treatment of Jefferson's slaves. The letter
initiated a correspondence between Banneker and Jefferson.
Maryland State House is the oldest state Capitol in continuous
use. It served as the nation's Capitol for one year, 1783 to
1784, when the Continental Congress met here. The dome is the
largest wooden dome in the United States. Remnants of history
are on display all over the interior of the State House. Some of
it will impress your grandkids, because the State House has
links to George Washington.
In 1783, the future first President of the United States, while
standing in the old Senate Chamber, resigned his commission as
Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
Here, he gave his farewell speech. There's another link to Washington at the
top of the State House's Grand Staircase leading to the second
floor. Here, he appears in an 1859 painting, "Washington
Resigning his Commission."
Direct your grandchildren to a small glass case in the State
House. When they look inside, they'll see the
miniature Maryland flag that astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin
Aldrin and Michael Collins brought with them into the Apollo 11
The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis -- the
undergraduate college of the Navy -- traces its roots to 1845,
when it was simply the Naval School. Today, the campus,
affectionately referred to as "The Yard," covers more than 300
acres and the student body consists of some 4,000 men and women.
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis
Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County
This National Historic Site hosts more than one million annual
visitors who, ready to explore the campus, smile at passing
midshipmen. For example, Preble Hall's U. S. Naval Academy
Museum displays some 50,000 items pertaining to naval history
and space exploration.
Head for the Academy's Halsey Field House, featurings a
high-tech exhibit with interactive screens, including a
touch-screen wall map pinpointing sites you'll want to visit
around the "Yard."
The crypt of John Paul Jones is located beneath the United
States Naval Academy Chapel. Look down at the floor and you'll
read the names of Jones' seven ships. Look at the walls and
you'll see Jones' medals and other artifacts relating to his
life. If your visit is planned right, you can watch a dress
parade or attend a free Naval Academy Band concert. The
Academy's Drydock Restaurant is usually open daily from 8
a.m. to 10 p.m.
In warm weather, sailboats bob along Chesapeake Bay, and
strolling the City Dock is a nice leisurely pastime, but year
round, Annapolis offers enough to provide an enjoyable
For information: www.visitannapolis.org; (888)-302-2852.