August 23, 2018
Jacqueline and I paid a visit to Annapolis on Saturday and Sunday, the first time we had been there in over 20 years. It was starting to rain as we left Staunton, but it stopped as soon as we crossed the Blue Ridge. Nevertheless, the skies remained overcast until about noon on Sunday. Not wanting to waste time, we resisted my temptation to stop at some of the Civil War battlefield sites along the way -- Wilderness, Chancellorsville, and Fredericksburg. The heavy traffic upon entering the latter city slowed us down, and I briefly got turned around while trying to make all the right turns on the east side of town. As we approached the town of Dahlgren (home of a U.S. Navy installation) we encountered a massive traffic jam, and it was agonizing stop-and-go pace for the four or so miles leading up to the Potomac River bridge on Route 301. Apparently, it was all because of an incident involving a car that had been stopped by police at the top of the bridge. There was no toll booth in the northbound direction, so that had no effect.
After crossing the bridge, we stopped at the Maryland welcome center, and got lots of good information. We passed through the towns of La Plata, Waldorf, Upper Marlboro, and then Bowie before turning east on Route 50. Soon we were in Annapolis, and drove straight to downtown where we became oriented and began looking for a place to eat dinner -- seafood, of course. There was a long line and waiting time of well over an hour at a restaurant in the Eastport area (across a bridge from central Annapolis), so we had to look elsewhere. Eventually, we ended up at Cantler's Riverside Inn, a big seafood establishment that lived up to its fine reputation. It's located in a nice riverside residential neighborhood east of the Severn River, isolated from other businesses. At least one hundred customers filled the inside and patio dining areas. We got a half dozen large steamed hard-shell crabs, a delicacy I had not savored for years. It was a bit pricey (thanks in part to a shortage of labor due to the Trump administration's tightened immigration policy, according to the Washington Post), but well worth it for a special occasion.
On Sunday morning, we had a hearty breakfast (waffle and French toast) at Grump's, a diner/bar with lots of "character," favored by local folks. It was friendly and much more enjoyable than a chain restaurant would have been. Then we headed downtown (which is extremely congested) and parked at a public lot, and started walking around. We headed north along some narrow streets lined with quaint houses built in the 19th Century, many with eccentric paint schemes. It's obviously highly coveted real estate. After a brief stop at the Maryland State House (i.e., the capitol building), we headed back south along a different street.
Next we decided to take a boat tour of the Annapolis harbor. (Two close encounters with birds occurred during that tour, described in a separate blog post.) Then we headed east along the south side of the U.S. Naval Academy campus, turning left at the corner and following the east side of the campus almost to the new (1996) bridge that crosses the Severn River. Then we passed some Navy facilities on the east bank of that river, turned east toward all the sailboat marinas in the Eastport area, where we had been late in the preceding afternoon. After about 45 minutes we completed the circuit and docked back in the harbor. It was very interesting and lots of fun.
After the boat ride, we walked northward once again, but this time along Main Street, which of course is where most of the businesses are located. We reached the State House, took a slight detour to nearby St. Anne's Church and the Government House (the historic residence of the governor), and I took some more photos of the State House as well. The sun had emerged by then, but conditions were still very hazy, making it hard to get good photos. The warming temperatures were an inducement for us to indulge in some ice cream. Finally, we went to the U.S. Naval Academy visitors center and saw a film about the life of
cadets [midshipmen]* there. It was very inspiring, and a fitting end to our visit. On our way out of Annapolis I stopped to get a photo of the iconic Main Chapel and the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, home of the Navy football team. GO NAVY!
It was a much shorter trip than our brief visit to see the solar eclipse in Tennessee last August, and to my surprise, we made it there and back on a single tank of gas! Full-size photos of the images seen above, and many more photos, are on the Chronological (2018) photo gallery. NOTE: I have recently upgraded that page, so that you can see full-size images of the standard landscape orientation by clicking on the photos, and then returning to small size by clicking again. Photos in a vertical ("portrait") orientation are now handled differently, hopefully making navigation and browsing easier.
* Thanks to Peter Van Acker for the correction.