A History Lover’s Itinerary in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, MD View All ItinerariesAre you a history buff? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Our nation’s first peacetime capital is a Museum without Walls, featuring more 18th-century brick buildings than any other city of comparable size in the nation. We invite you to stroll our brick-lined streets and discover the City of Anne for yourself. Annapolis, Maryland, USA State House and St. Mary’s Church viewed over Annapolis Harbor and Eastport Bridge. Day 1 Welcome! If you’ve driven into town, park your car at Gotts Court Garage. It’s right behind the 26 West Street Visitors Center. Be sure to stop in and talk with our information specialists. They’ll provide you with maps and ideas for your journey. William Paca House and Garden Named after Princess Anne, the future Queen of England, Annapolis was home to several of our nation’s key founding fathers. Among them was William Paca. Before serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress, Paca and three other Marylanders risked their lives and fortunes by signing the Declaration of Independence. Paca later went on to serve as Governor of Maryland. A guided tour of his National Historic Landmark home on Prince George Street provides insight into the man and the issues of his day. Be sure to ask about the Paca House’s stint as the lobby of the Carvel Hall Hotel from the early 1900s to the early 1960s and the archaeological dig that led to the reconstruction of Paca’s two-acre 18th-century pleasure garden. As you’re leaving the Paca House, pick up a Historic Annapolis marker program brochure. It will come in handy later during your visit! Hammond-Harwood House If you liked William Paca’s five-part Georgian mansion, chances are you’ll be equally impressed with architect William Buckland’s masterpiece, the Hammond-Harwood House. The five-part Anglo-Palladian mansion at 19 Maryland Avenue features some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America. In colonial days, its front door earned the title, the Most Beautiful Doorway in America. Inside, the museum showcases the finest collection of colonial furniture in Maryland, including several pieces by 18th-century master craftsman and cabinetmaker John Shaw. The walls are adorned with several images by portrait painter Charles Willson Peale, one of the 18th century’s premier painters. Chase-Lloyd House Across the street from the Hammond-Harwood House is another magnificent piece of colonial architecture designed by architect William Buckland. The home is named after its first owner, Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a supreme court justice. The house is also named after the wealthy plantation-owning Lloyd family who lived in the house for generations after Edward Lloyd IV bought the half-finished home from Samuel Chase. The property was willed to Hester Anne Chase Ridout, a descendent of Samuel Chase. In her 1886 will, Ridout established the house as a refuge where elderly women “may find a retreat from the vicissitudes of life.” The first floor of the home is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. If you visit the home, be sure to check out the parlor. Star Spangled Banner signatory Francis Scott Key and Mary Tayloe Lloyd married in the parlor in 1802. History Lover’s Lunch History lover that you are, chances are you’ll want to have lunch at a restaurant with some stories to tell. That’s easy to do in Annapolis! Reynolds Tavern, Middleton Tavern, and 33 West Street – home of today’s Rams Head Tavern – are just as popular with 21st-century travelers as they were in the 1700s. Maryland State House As you learned this morning, Annapolis was a major player in colonial America – economically, socially, and politically. A visit to the Maryland State House carries this message home in a powerful way. The Maryland State House is the oldest State House in continuous legislative use in the nation. It’s also the only State House to serve as our nation’s Capitol. That’s right! Annapolis was our nation’s first peacetime capital! Members of the Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784. During that time, George Washington came before the legislative body and resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. It was here that the Treaty of Paris was ratified, officially ending the Revolutionary War. During a self-guided tour, you’ll learn about the birth of a nation that took place in Annapolis, see Washington’s original resignation speech and visit the House and Senate Chambers where Maryland lawmakers meet annually from January to April in a 90-day legislative session. St. John’s College After your self-guided tour of the Maryland State House, take the time to stroll the grounds of nearby St. John’s College. The third oldest college in the United States was established in 1696 as King Williams School, the Maryland colony’s “free” school. Completed in 1789, the college’s McDowell Hall is one of the oldest academic buildings in continuous use in the country. In 1791, President George Washington visited St. John’s, expressing “much satisfaction at the appearance of this rising seminary.” In 1814, St. John’s alumnus Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner. On a lighter note, 1984 is perhaps one of the most important dates etched in the minds of present-day and former St. John’s College students. It’s the year of the inaugural Annapolis Cup croquet match between St. John’s and the U.S. Naval Academy. Since then, St. John’s has emerged the victor more times than not! This beloved tradition brings thousands of individuals to the front lawn of McDowell Hall each year in a Gatsby-style celebration. Dinner on the Town You’ve had a full day! How does a relaxing dinner sound? Now’s your chance to choose from among dozens of restaurants serving up nature’s bounty and international favorites in settings from simple to sublime. For lunch, you considered a host of centuries-old favorites. For dinner, why not choose from decades-old favorites, including Café Normandie, Carrol’s Creek, O’Leary’s and Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn? Day 2 Morning If you want your day to be filled with history from beginning to end, you might want to try the Treaty of Paris restaurant for breakfast. If you spent the night at Reynolds Tavern’s bed and breakfast, you’ll be starting your day with a historical twist as well. Then, it’s off to the U.S. Naval Academy. Gate 1 is the main visitor gate, but the John Barry Gate is just as easy – and it will take you past the John Barry memorial. Barry received his naval commission from George Washington himself! U.S. Naval Academy Tours of the “Yard” depart from the Naval Academy’s Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center seven days a week. They’re a great introduction to the institution that was founded as the Naval School in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft on the grounds of the former Army post, Fort Severn. If you visit the Naval Academy during the academic year, you may want to time your tour to coincide with noon formation. Weather permitting, all 4,000+ midshipmen line up before heading into Bancroft Hall for lunch. It’s a beautiful display of national pride – complete with color guard and the navy band. After the official tour, be sure to check out the Naval Academy Museum, home to one of the world’s finest collections of warship models from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The Rogers Ship Model Collection is another not-to-be-missed display. It includes 108 ship and boat models of the sailing ship era dating from 1650 to 1850. If you’d like to take back a Navy memento, shop tax-free at the Naval Academy gift shop in the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center. Proceeds benefit the Brigade of Midshipmen. Time for Lunch Since you’re immersing yourself in all things Navy, may we suggest the Alley for lunch? Named for the bowling alley that was originally located in the lower level of the Naval Academy Club, the Alley restaurant offers casual to fine dining in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The legendary Drydock Restaurant is another dining option on the “Yard.” Located in Dahlgren Hall, it’s a great place for midshipmen sightings – especially on the weekends. Here, visitors can mingle with midshipmen and officers while enjoying an affordable menu of “made to order” deli-style sandwiches, grilled favorites, and Drydock Pizza. If you exit Gate 3 when lunch is through, grab a cup of java at 1845 Coffee. Housed in the oldest standing building on the Yard (the former gate house building), 1845 sells Ceremony coffee to go. Afternoon Now’s the perfect time to put your Historic Marker brochure to good use. You picked it up yesterday, remember? Our wish for you is a leisurely afternoon strolling the streets of Historic Annapolis – enjoying the four centuries of architectural history that surrounds you. You’ve probably already noticed color-coded markers on many downtown properties. The Historic Annapolis marker brochure outlines what each of the colors stands for. That means you can have an architectural field day as you make your way along the streets and alleyways of Annapolis. You won’t have to look far to find a marker. They adorn more than 260 homes and public buildings in downtown Annapolis. Red markers identify the Georgian architecture of the 1700s to the 1820s. This is among the most long-lived styles of American architecture. It dominated the British colonies for most of the 18th century. Blue markers indicate Federal-style architecture (1780s-1840s). It’s a neoclassical look that’s light and delicate compared to the Georgian style. Green markers identify Greek Revival architecture (1820s-1860s). It was a popular style for public structures after the War of 1812. Purple designates Victorian with its towers and elaborate cornice brackets. Gray markers identify the Vernacular style of the 1830s to 1930s that are often seen on the row houses and duplexes of Annapolis. Yellow markers call your attention to 20th Century Distinctive architecture from the 1900s to the 1940s. Dinner, Anyone? Chances are several restaurants – some with historic markers – caught your eye during your afternoon walkabout. Now’s the time to retrace your steps and settle in for a memorable – perhaps historic – meal! If you’re here on a Wednesday night in the summer, Dinner Under the Stars on the first block of West Street is a perfect choice! Day 3 Like Annapolis, the surrounding Anne Arundel County countryside is steeped in history. Today, you’ll experience a part of that heritage with a trip to Historic London Town and Gardens and southern Anne Arundel County. Historic London Town and Gardens Founded in 1683 as Anne Arundel County’s seat, London Town’s heyday lasted about 100 years. The tobacco port town bustled with activity as ships carrying goods stopped at the site of an active ferry crossing on the South River. When trade routes changed, the town all but disappeared. Rediscover this once vibrant town as you stroll through the gardens of a 23-acre park, tour the National Historic Landmark William Brown House and visit the reconstructed Carpenter’s Shop and Lord Mayor’s Tenement. London Town’s woodland garden features towering native trees, an extensive collection of magnolias, camellias, dogwoods, rhododendrons and viburnums, uncommon individual specimens of spring bulbs, woodland wildflowers, and shade-loving perennials. Galesville Heritage Museum If you visit in the summer, get to know the locals by stopping by the Galesville Heritage Museum on a Sunday afternoon. In addition to hearing down-home stories, you’ll see exhibits and artifacts that celebrate the unique history of the quiet maritime community. Hartge Nautical Museum Stop in the white building on the left as you enter the longtime yacht yard and learn about the Hartge family’s boat-building traditions through exhibits, charts, and models. Captain Avery Museum In the nearby village of Shady Side, you’ll experience life as part of a 19th-century waterman’s family and learn how later residents brought their families year after year to “Our Place” for summer getaways beside the water. Lunch with a View If you’ve worked up an appetite, a host of waterfront restaurants beckon. Pirates Cove in Galesville, Ketch 22 in North Beach, Skipper’s Pier in Deale are among the restaurants offering rejuvenating vistas and fresh from the Bay seafood. Deale Area Historical Society Before heading home, be sure to visit the Deale Area Historical Society. Located in a restored 19th-century Nutwell Schoolhouse, it features exhibits related to the history of Deale and its residents. Until Next Time! Annapolis and Anne Arundel County are brimming with history. You got a taste of it during your three-day-visit, but there’s so much more to see and do. You’ll just have to come back! But for now, safe journey home!