Back to the bucket list!
You've probably read or heard me mention before that one of my bucket list travel items is to go to all 50 states, all 50 Capital cities, and all 50 Capitol buildings.
Today’s visit to Annapolis brings me to 44, 23 and 14, respectively (add to that Washington DC for another Capitol building too!).
The first place I went when I rolled into town was the Visitor Center on West Street (there is also a satellite Visitor Information Booth just off the harbor at City Dock) in the city’s Historic District. Here you can get brochures on a variety of Annapolis city and area sights and attractions, sign up for tours, and talk to knowledgeable staff members who will help you get started in the right direction.
One of the things I learned and liked best about the downtown area is that everything is within a few blocks walk, so it was an easy choice to make my next stop just a few blocks away at the Maryland State House, built in 1772.
In addition to being very stately and beautiful, it is unique in that it is the oldest state house in the country still in use, and the first peacetime capitol of the U.S. It was also once our nation’s capital and renown as the place where then General George Washington resigned from his post as commander of the Continental Army, and where the Revolutionary War ended as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
Inside you can explore both the Senate and Delegate chambers, as well as themed exhibits in numerous rooms on the main floor. Self-guided and organized tours of the building are other options here as well.
Right across the street I stopped to admire the grounds of the Government House, a stunning Georgian-style Colonial mansion and the official residence of Maryland's Governor.
To get a great overview of what Annapolis had to offer I hopped aboard the Discover Annapolis trolley for a 60-minute tour (they also offer a 40-minute version as well as other types of tours) covering the highlights of a visit here.
While aboard the seasoned trolley driver shuttled us past Historic Maryland Avenue, this former commercial hub now brimming with boutique shops, antique stores, and restaurants, and the Annapolis Arts District, peppered with hotels, entertainment venues, unique galleries, arts attractions and more, the District also encompassing the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, which operated for over thirty years as the only high school for African American students in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
Two other significant black history sites in Annapolis include the Banneker-Douglass Museum, named for 18th century author, mathematician and astronomer and Benjamin Banneker, and abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass. Another important fact here is that the museum was originally housed within the former Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church in the heart of historic Annapolis.
The Kunta Kinte, Alex Haley Memorial is in honor of this famous writer and author of the book Roots (which was later made into a ground-breaking television mini-series) whose ancestors—most famously Kunta Kinte—were brought here to the shores of Annapolis in 1767 aboard the slave ship Lord Ligonier.
Although anyone can walk by, admire and reflect upon the significance of the memorial, the Kunte-Kinte Alex Haley Foundation does offer in-depth tours that explain more of the history of Alex and his family, the memorial itself, and takes you to other significant African American sites in the area including the Thurgood Marshall Memorial which commemorates the life and work of this first African-American Supreme Court Justice who is credited, among other acts, with ending racial segregation in American public schools when he signed Brown v. Board of Education into law in 1954.
We also drove by and heard all about St. John’s College, founded in 1696 as King William’s School and chartered in 1784 as St. John’s College, and The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park, a free entity housed in the last surviving historic oyster-packing plant in Annapolis and featuring a wide array of historic exhibits and special collections.
We were regaled with stories about St. Anne’s Church, built in the late 1600s and named after Anne, the grandmother of Jesus Christ, as well as Ego Alley, which is not really an alley at all, rather where you’ll find a visual boasting by the mega-yacht owners who show off their magnificent watercraft on the weekends, holidays and during special maritime events.
It was fascinating to drive around and take in the immense size of the U.S. Naval Academy, certainly the largest and one of the most well-known attractions and historical institutions in the world. Here you can visit the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center featuring a wide array of fascinating historical and interactive exhibits and artifacts about the museum and Naval history, and to embark upon a guided walking or riding tour.
After a quick lunch at Mason’s Lobster Rolls, it was time to hop back in the car and start heading south to my next exciting travel destination.
Albeit short, it was a sweet visit to this historic city, and I look forward to coming back for a few days to explore it a great deal more.
I'm just checking them off one capitol city at a time as I traverse this beautiful country. Thanks for coming along on the journey with me!