As my family becomes more spread out across the US, and start their own families, our Thanksgiving feasts become smaller and smaller. What used to be a large family gathering where everyone gathered around the table after hours of slaving over the stove and oven is now a small gathering around a table at a restaurant that’s midway between the DC/MD folks and the Delaware folks. At least I got to be at Thanksgiving this year. Last year I was sharing Wagamama’s Yakisoba with friends in Liverpool the night before the Liverpool match (#firstworldproblem).
This Thanksgiving, we decided on meeting for lunch in Annapolis, Maryland. ‘Naptown’ is located on the Chesapeake Bay, about 30 minutes (4 hours during rush hour) outside The District, and is the State Capital of Maryland. Despite being born and raised in Maryland, the only time I can remember ever being in Annapolis is when my jackass GPS forced me to drive through it on the way home from my sister’s wedding a few years ago. So, since I had never “properly been” to Annapolis, I decided to arrive early for our lunch so I could have a nice, leisurely wander around the historic downtown area (please keep in mind I was here on a Federal Holiday in which everything but Starbucks and a tacky tourist shop were closed, so all of my photos are exterior shots).
Annapolis, formerly named Providence and Anne Arundel’s Towne, was named as such in 1708, when Sir Francis Nicholson relocated the capital from St. Mary’s City to it’s present location, and named it in honor of Princess Anne. When Princess Anne became Queen Anne, she charted the Colonial namesake as a city. Sir Francis made sure the city design was worthy of the Queen, opting to imitate the urban designs of European capitals instead of the standard grid. Circles provide focal points throughout the city, giving grander importance to certain structures. George Washington admired this design so much he had Pierre L’Enfant incorporate incorporate it into DC’s design. As a person who is frequently stuck in said circles because people drive like assholes when they enter a traffic circle, I shake my fist at you Sir Francis, G-Dub, and L’Enfant.
In one circle is St. Anne’s parish, the Episcopal church and religious center of the city. Today’s structure is the Third St. Anne’s church, after the first one was demolished to build the Second St. Anne’s in 1775, and the Second St. Anne’s was destroyed in a furnace fire in 1858.In another circle is the State House, Maryland’s governmental hub. In the same State House where General George Washington tendered his resignation from the Continental Army, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor keep offices, and state functions are thrown. When the Treaty of Paris was signed here, ending the Revolutionary War, Annapolis was not just the capital of Maryland, it was the capital of the United States!
After wandering around the State House grounds, I strolled down to Market Space to
use the restroom at the only open establishment, Starbucks check out the cute shop fronts, many of which were already decorated for Christmas.
The shops on Market Space and walking up Main Street were adorable. Once the weather warms back up, I intend to go back and browse the shops and head down to the waterfront.Most likely what Annapolis is best know for today, I mosied over to the U.S. Naval Academy campus to see if I could find me a sailor. The US Navy was formed during the Revolutionary War to match the force of the Royal Navy. However, once the Revolutionary War was over, the Navy was disbanded. Within a decade, President Washington got Congress to reinstall the Navy as piracy on the high seas became a growing issue (although if they looked anything like Jack Sparrow, I personally would have been okay with the idea of being pirated). It wasn’t until 1845 that the Naval School became official, finally earning the moniker of United States Naval Academy in 1850. The curriculum at the Academy has evolved with the times, with Congress granting authority to issue Bachelor of Science degrees in 1933, and shifting from a fixed curriculum to a core curriculum with 18 fields of study. In 1976, they finally let the womens in! Unfortunately, there weren’t any sailors around, and I didn’t have time to check in with the Visitor’s Center to gain access to the campus. Just another reason to go back in the spring #husbandhunting.
After a quick walk around the walls of the Naval Academy, it was time to head back up the hill to lunch with my family. I really enjoyed wandering around Historic Annapolis, even though I was by myself for the morning. Maybe because I was by myself. I love traveling with my friends, and I will always opt to travel with them versus traveling solo, but there is something nice about strolling along at your leisure, taking pictures here and window shopping there. If you are coming to the DC area, I can’t recommend a day trip to Annapolis highly enough.
If you would like to see more photos from my morning stroll around Historic Annapolis, you can click over to my Annapolis Photography portfolio page.