Helen Hatzis
Helen Hatzis
October 25, 2016 ·  23 min read

Annapolis Guide: A Living Museum With Deep Irish Roots

You’ll receive a big insight into Annapolis by visiting their three different blog personas:

Welcome to the City of Annapolis

Annapolis is the gateway to North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. A bustling port town in the 18th century, the National Treasure is world renowned as America’s Sailing Capital. The Museum without Walls has more 18th-century brick buildings than anywhere else in the country.


Annapolis was the nation’s first peacetime capital in 1783 and is home to the oldest state house in continuous legislative use in the nation. George Washington resigned his commission here and the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War was ratified here — marking the birth of a nation.

Downtown Annapolis’s Population – 33,200
Greater Annapolis – 62,600

Visitors to Annapolis should find it easier to locate parks in the city thanks to a new park finder web application the City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department launched in July 2014.

The interactive website allows users to locate nearby parks and recreation facilities while researching the list of the amenities within each park, trail or facility.

Users need simply type in a current address and the search function will identify parks within .5 miles from GPS enabled devices. While not a Smart Phone APP, the website can be accessed by browser on most Smart Phones., 410-263-7997.

Green City

Enjoy a breath of fresh, clean air in the many green spaces in Annapolis and the surrounding Anne Arundel County.

Parks and Trails

In the summer of 2014, the City of Annapolis unveiled its new Parks and Trails brochure. It’s designed to help Annapolis area residents and visitors enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the grace of nature at its many community parks and trails.

The brochure introduces Annapolis area residents and visitors to the more than 40 parks and more than 200 acres of parkland, trails and open spaces available to enjoy in Maryland’s capital city., 410-263-7997.

Sandy Point State Park  

Sandy Point State Park first opened on June 25, 1952. Located on Maryland’s Route 50, just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, this fine Anne Arundel County hotspot draws in many residents from in and around surrounding Maryland areas each year. The 786 acres that comprise of Sandy Point include many unique past-times and diversions as well as the conventional, enjoyable beach delights.

From Memorial Day until Labor Day, lifeguards patrol the beach offering safe assurance to beachgoers looking to splash around and swim in the beautiful crashing waves of the Chesapeake. Windsurfing and cross-country skiing are also popular aquatic interests as well as fishing, crabbing and boating.


Boat rentals range from rowboats, motorboats, kayaks, canoes and 22 launching ramps at the marina facility. There are also six finger piers available for anytime use on a first come first serve basis. The Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) non-profit organization works to provide sailing opportunities to those who are physically or mentally handicap. The entire area is handicap accessible.

Other interests to be found at Sandy Point State Park include camping, hiking, bird/wildlife watching, hiking and metal detecting. Two great trails, the Symbi Trail and East Beach Trail, offer visitors an in-depth look at wildlife, forestry, marshes and all of nature’s wondrous splendor.

The habitat is rich and abundant, and nature observers, bird watchers and animal lovers will embrace the sights that meet their eyes in nature’s wealth. If you want to find wealth in a different sense, metal detecting is also a popular hobby. Between the Memorial Day to Labor Day season, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. only, you are invited to scan the beach for intriguing treasure.

Detection is limited, however, to the sand and waters at all times.

Sandy Point offers many onsite facilities including showers, restrooms, concession stands, playgrounds and picnic areas. In addition to tables and grills, 12 picnic shelters are onsite and available to use by reservation. The marina store sells fuel, bait, tackle, fishing and crabbing licenses, snacks, drinks and other supplies.

1100 East College Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland   21409
Phone: 410-974-2149
Reservations: 410-974-2663

You can find more about the Area’s Parks and Trails here: Anne Arundel County Parks

Multicultural Annapolis

Annapolis is a multicultural city. Individuals from countries all over the world stop by our Visitors Center all year long. Annapolis has a particularly strong connection to Ireland.

Irish Roots 

Annapolis’s Irish roots run deep. Family members of one of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, were of Irish descent. Centuries later, the City’s Irish connections remain strong.

Irish restaurants and shops are part of the fabric of Annapolis’ Historic District and the huge number of individuals who turn out for Irish festivals and events in Annapolis throughout the year is an ongoing testament to the flourishing Irish-American heritage and popularity of Irish traditions in Maryland’s capital city.

While the Carroll family’s roots were with King’s County (now County Offaly) Ireland, more recent history shows a striking similarity between the City of Annapolis and the City of Wexford in County Wexford, Ireland.

Recognizing this, an Annapolis trade delegation under the leadership of Anthony Clarke, then Chairman of the Board of the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACCVB), embarked on a tourism development mission to Wexford, Ireland.

AAACCVB President and CEO Connie Del Signore and then Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen accompanied Clarke to Wexford on the occasion of the 2013 John Barry Maritime Festival.


The annual event celebrates the Wexford-born naval hero with links to the U.S. Naval Academy. President George Washington personally commissioned John Barry as the first commanding officer in the U.S. Navy. Following a fundraising campaign by the Irish Catholic Ancient Order of Hibernians, an eight-foot-tall granite and bronze John Barry Memorial was dedicated just inside the John Barry Gate at the U.S Naval Academy in May 2014.

While both Wexford and Annapolis lay claim to Commodore John Barry, the similarities between the two cities are more far reaching. In fact, it’s the strong cultural, arts, tourism and heritage similarities that have prompted a Sister City relationship.

As Clarke sees it, “The fact that both Annapolis and Wexford have Plein Air arts, orchestral and operatic events helps provide the foundation for Irish tourism to Annapolis. Ireland’s International Plein Air and Opera Festivals could serve as training grounds for how Annapolis could best expand its cultural festivals and fine arts offerings.”

The annual Plein Air event, Paint Annapolis, takes place June. Annapolis has a thriving arts community. The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Annapolis Chorale and Annapolis Youth Chorus perform throughout the year at the newly-renovated Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

Downtown Annapolis features professional and community theatre and nearly two-dozen art galleries – all within walking distance of one another. Visitors are invited to watch lumps of clay being transformed into beautiful works of art at the Annapolis Pottery.

A variety of weekly concerts and monthly festivals keeps Annapolis’ thriving arts community on display on the streets of Annapolis throughout the year. A First Sunday Arts Festival takes place the first Sunday of each month on West Street in Annapolis from May through October.


Maryland Avenue holds quarterly festivals – including an Irish Festival, complete with Irish bands, Irish drinks and Irish food from Clarke’s Galway Bay Restaurant and Pub. The second largest Renaissance Festival in the country takes place on weekends from September through October.

As is the case with Wexford, Annapolis’ nautical heritage is alive and well today. A bustling port town in the 18th century, Annapolis is world-renowned as America’s Sailing Capital and the gateway to North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.

There are countless ways for visitors to get out on the water, from forty-minute cruises around the Annapolis Harbor, to Day on the Bay outings, to two-hour cruises aboard a 74-foot wooden schooner.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently dubbed Annapolis a National Historic Treasure. Founded as Anne Arundel Town in 1649, Annapolis became the capital of Maryland in 1695 and the nation’s first peacetime capital in 1783. Today, Annapolis boasts more 18th-century brick buildings than anywhere else in the nation.

The Maryland State House is the oldest in continuous legislative use in the country. It was here that General George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, ending the Revolutionary War. The homes of all four of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence are located in Annapolis, and three of them are open to the public.

Signer William Paca’s home features the only reconstructed two-acre 18th-century pleasure garden of its kind in Maryland. Around the corner in Maryland Avenue is the Hammond-Harwood House. Designed by 18th-century architect William Buckland, it boasts the Most Beautiful Doorway in America.

Its neighbor across the street is the Chase-Lloyd House, where National Anthem author Francis Scott Key was married. He went to school at St. John’s College in Annapolis, the third oldest college in the nation.

Easy to Get There

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County are extremely accessible by train, plane, boat or car. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is located just 24 miles from Annapolis in northwestern Anne Arundel County.

Amtrak passenger service and MARC commuter rail link BWI Thurgood Marshall with Baltimore and Washington, D.C. CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern provide freight carriage.

Once you’re here, getting around is easy. Consistently ranked on of the country’s most walkable cities, Annapolis offers visitors a great chance to stretch their legs while exploring everything this town has to offer. If you’re not up for walking, you can always climb aboard the city’s circulator bus, grab a cab, enjoy a ride on one of the city’s many pedicabs, or even climb aboard a water taxi to and head over to the neighborhood of Eastport.

Accessible for Everyone 

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County is an accessible destination for individuals with special needs. Our Visitors Center, hotels, attractions, restaurants, streets – and even some of our boats – are handicap accessible. Pages 39-41 in our Visitors Guide provides a complete listing of handicap accessible properties:

Take a Look Around

Annapolis is a unique city. Her combination of four salient features is not found in any other city in America.

First, the design of the city is a complex composition of monumental circles with radiating streets superimposed on a regular street grid.

Second, the street plan engages the topography of the land and the waterfront.

Third, while the design aims at monumentality, the scale of the city is intimate and personal – a very human scale.


Fourth, the city is over 300 years old and survives today largely intact.

Perhaps that’s one reason it’s called a Museum without Walls. There are more 18th-century brick buildings in Annapolis than anywhere else in the United States.

Governor Francis Nicholson designed the City of Annapolis in the late 1600’s according to a Baroque Street Plan that was popular in Europe at the time. It’s a hub and spoke design, where the highest points are church (Church Circle) and state (State Circle). Radiating streets set roughly at compass points diagonally cross the regular street grid.

The radiating streets set up the monumental views toward St. Anne’s Church and the State House. The regular streets: Duke of Gloucester, Prince George, Charles, and Market, all end in water views. The most dramatic of all the streets is Main Street, directly connecting the harbor with Church Circle.

The manmade vertical spike of St. Anne’s Church steeple at the top of Main Street is the counter point to the natural horizontal line of the horizon over the Chesapeake Bay. Nicholson created what all artists strive for: the emotional connection of mortals to nature; of individual to society; and of man to their own constructs.   

Nicholson’s street plan embraced the natural features of the City, functionally engaging the harbor, and exploiting the dramatic potential of the high ground.

His design created complicated urban sequences, a rich variety of building sites, street views capturing sights of the water, and established monumental settings for important institutional buildings.

Uniquely Annapolis

Maryland’s capital city is home to the oldest State House in continuous legislative use in the nation. It is also the only State House in the nation ever to have served as our nation’s Capitol building. Annapolis was our nation’s first peacetime capital.

From November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784, the Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber of the State House. It was here that George Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, officially ending the Revolutionary War.

The Old Senate Chamber recently underwent years of renovations and reopened to the public in the summer of 2105.

A Museum Without Walls

Annapolis is called a Museum without Walls. There are more 18th-century brick buildings in Annapolis than any other city in the nation – including the homes of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence.

All four of the homes are still standing, and three of them are open to the public. Behind the home of Declaration of Independence signer William Paca is a reconstructed two-acre 18th-century pleasure garden, the only one of its kind in Maryland.

Maryland Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the last surviving signatory and the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence.



Crab dishes in all styles and combinations are quite popular – from steamed Maryland Blue Crabs, to crab cakes, cream of crab soup, Maryland Crab soup, soft-shell crabs, crab imperial, crab dip, etc. Rockfish (striped bass) is another popular local dish.



BAROAK (Bar-Oak) Cookhouse and Taproom opened at the Loews Annapolis Hotel at 126 West Street on March 5, 2015. At the helm of the casual neighborhood dining spot is Teddy Folkman, Washington, DC chef – formerly of the Food Network.

He’s serving up mussels and frites with a twist, along with international and local craft beers. Steak Frites and Crab and Lobster Mac & Cheese are being served, along with the chef’s signature mussels and a collection of brick-oven flatbreads, burgers, stacked sandwiches, and fresh entrée salads.

BAROAK is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant’s name is a play on Annapolis’ Baroque-style street plan, designed in the late 1600s.

BAROAK offers one of the largest selections of Belgian and craft beers in Annapolis, including 14 beers on draft as well as a rotating selection of more than 60 bottled and canned Belgian and craft beers. In addition to traditional seating, BAROAK gives guests the choice of social tables and outdoor dining alongside a fire pit., 410-295-3225.

Food Festivals


There are a host of food festivals that take place throughout the year. Check out the list below!

Annapolis Restaurant Week – February

Annapolis Irish Week – March

Oyster Roast and Sock Burning – March

Annapolis Beer Week – April

Naptown BarBAYq – May

Annapolis Greek Festival – June

Annapolis Arts, Crafts and Wine Festival – June

Strawberry Festival – June

Annapolis Italian Festival (Festa di Santa Madre Cabrini) – June

Annapolis Irish Festival – July

Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast – August

Maryland Seafood Festival – September

Oyster Festival – October

For a complete listing of everything from mom & pop restaurants to Michelin Stars, visit us here.

Awesome Eateries

Annapolis Ice Cream Company (Walter and Nancy Giera)

Boatyard Bar and Grill (Dick Franyo)
Carrol’s Creek Café (Jeff Jacobs and Richard McClure); Galway Bay (Anthony Clarke); Iron Rooster (Kyle Algaze); Osteria 177 (Arturo Ottaviano); Café Normandie (Suzanne and Jean-Louis Evennou). Cantler’s Riverside Inn (Jimmy Cantler and Dan Donnelly); Mike’s Restaurant and Crab House (Tony Piera); Vin 909 (Andrea and Alex Manfredonia). Harry Browne’s (Rusty Romo).

Landmark Restaurants

Chick & Ruth’s Delly celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2015. Owner Ted Levitt leads his customers in the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. He also does tableside magic tricks. Chick & Ruth’s is home to the 6-pound Colossal Shake.


Osteria 177 (Arturo Ottaviano),

Food From Around The World


Annapolis is home to a host of restaurants serving international cuisine

Galway Bay, Café Normandie

Joss Cafe & Sushi Bar

India’s of Annapolis

Killarney House

Brian Boru Vin 909

Osteria 177

Lebanese Taverna Café

Nano Asian Dining

O’Brien’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant

Sofi’s Crepes

El Toro Bravo

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant

Lemongrass (Thai)

Tsunami (Sushi)

Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano

Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen

Off the beaten track 


Here are a few must-visit restaurants that are a little out of the way. Take a scenic drive to get there, which actually makes the outstanding food even more enjoyable.

Vin 909, Cantler’s Riverside Inn

The Point Crab House and Grill

Sam’s on the Waterfront.


Two-hour sailing cruises aboard the 74’ wooden Schooner Woodwind; 40-minute narrated tours of the Annapolis Harbor aboard the Harbor Queen; tours along Spa Creek aboard the Miss Anne; stand-up paddle boarding; kayak rentals; rent a Duffy Electric Boat (be your own captain or rent with a captain).

Rent a fishing boat by the hour, half-day, full day, etc. Take sailboat or powerboat lessons. Annapolis Sailing School’s kid-ship program teaches kids as young as five. Children enjoy a ride aboard the Sea Gypsy or learning how to fish with Family Fishing Adventures. See:

Visit the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis Maritime Museum, Banneker-Douglass Museum, Mission Escape Rooms, William Paca House and Garden, Hammond-Harwood House, Charles Carroll House, Chase-Lloyd House. Take an hour-long Discover Annapolis Trolley Tour, take a Four Centuries of Annapolis Walking Tour. See

Explore Our Arts Scene 


About 22 fine arts galleries within walking distance of one another in downtown Annapolis. Take in performances by Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Opera Company, Annapolis Shakespeare Company, Compass Rose Theater, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, etc. See

Plenty of Festivals 

There are a host of festivals in Annapolis. See the attached calendar of events and check out our website at and

In addition to the food festivals mentioned earlier, here are some more festivals to watch out for these festivals when you come to visit.

Polar Bear Plunge – January

Maryland Day – weekend-long celebration in March

Annapolis Film Festival – April

St. John’s vs. U.S. Naval Academy Croquet Match – April

Annapolis Book Festival – April

Spring Sailboat Show – April

Arts in the Park Festival – April

Wednesday Night Sailboat Races – every Wednesday late April through August

May Day Basket Competition – May 1

First Sunday Arts Festival – First Sunday in May through November

Maritime Republic of Eastport’s annual .05K Bridge Run – May

William Paca Garden Plant Sale – May

Bay Bridge Paddle – May

U.S. Naval Academy Commissioning Week – May

Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival – May

Paint Annapolis Plein Air Event – May-June

Maryland Avenue/State Circle Summer Festival – June

Maryland Renaissance Festival – Weekends and Labor Day last weekend in August through October

Art in Action Annapolis Design District Festival – September

Maryland Avenue/State Circle Fall Festival – September

Annapolis Fringe Festival – September

Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival – September

U.S. Sailboat Show – October

U.S. Powerboat Show – October

Annapolis by Candlelight – November

Maritime Republic of Eastport Tug o’ War – November

Lights on the Bay – Typically the third Saturday in November to January 2

Chocolate Binge Festival – December

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade – December

Military Bowl – December

A Unique Experience

The U.S. Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week is a big deal in May. Typically, on Wednesday afternoon of that week, the Navy’s Blue Angels provide an aerial performance at 2:00 p.m. People leave work to go and stake out their favorite spots for watching the show.

Many people even go so far as to take their children out of school to come and enjoy the event. For those who can’t come on Wednesday, many people take off on Tuesday of that week to watch the Blue Angels rehearse for Wednesday’s performance.

Aside from the Blue Angels’ flight demonstrations, there are a host of Commissioning Week activities that the public is invited to enjoy – including U.S. Naval Academy formal parades, the Herndon Climb, U.S. Naval Academy glee club concerts, etc.

More Events to Explore

St. John’s vs. USNA Croquet Match

Oyster Roast and Sock Burning

Wednesday Night Sailboat Races

.05K Race Across the Bay

Maritime Republic of Eastport Tug o’ War



Varuna Aveda Salon Spa is located just off West Street in downtown Annapolis. Sadona Salon and Spa is slated to open on West Street in downtown Annapolis by fall 2016. Ridgely Retreat is yet another spa in downtown Annapolis.

Laid Back Afternoon

For tips on how to spend an afternoon as a couple, with friends, or with family, click here –


Time spent sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, taking a trolley or walking tour is relaxing. Watching the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races or dining at your favorite waterfront restaurant is also relaxing. Strolling and people-watching along City Dock is a must do.

Historic Theatres

You might want to visit our art galleries or take in a play or musical. Here are some of our Historic Theatres.

  • Annapolis Shakespeare Company
  • Compass Rose Theater
  • Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre

You might want to stroll the streets of the Historic District. All of the major attractions are within walking distance of one another. If they get tired, they can hop aboard the City Circulator to get back to their hotel.

Check Out Our List of Awesome Festivals and Events!

Arts in the Park Festival – April at Chesapeake Arts Center

First Sunday Arts Festival – West Street in downtown Annapolis First Sunday in May through November

Annapolis Tango – Every second Friday from May through September – Susan Campbell Park at City Dock

Annapolis Towne Centre Free Friday Concerts – Every Friday from June through August

Tides & Tunes Summer Concert Series – Thursdays mid-June through August at Annapolis Maritime Museum

Thursday Night with the Stars – end of June through August – Susan Campbell Park at City Dock

Comedy in the Courtyard at Reynolds Tavern – Tuesdays, Jun through September

Classics in the Courtyard at Reynolds Tavern – Outdoor movies screened in Reynolds Tavern’s Courtyard on Sunday evenings in the summer.


Interested in Annapolis’s Nightlife? Find out where the best bars, restaurants, clubs, and night time hang outs are right here.

Annapolis offers Ghost Tours and Pub Crawls year-round. Historic Hauntings Tours are offered from September through October.

Nature Walk

Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center offer a host of nature-related events all year long. Quiet Waters Park and Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis offer miles of trails and outdoor activities.


The Baltimore and Annapolis (B&A) Trail is a great place for biking. Historic London Town and Gardens is also a great place to stroll and take in the beauties of nature.


We have more than 11,000 hotel rooms to choose from! We have a wide range of accommodations – from full-service and limited service hotels to bed and breakfasts, a boat and breakfast, etc. See

You can also visit pages 39-41 in our Visitors Guide:

You’ll want to contact the properties directly for current costs.

When to Visit

Our events tend to drive the demand. The destination is in full swing from late spring through the fall – when visitors can take full advantage of opportunities for getting out on the water and enjoying our walking and trolley tours.

The U.S. Sailboat and U.S. Powerboat Shows in October draw record crowds and Commissioning Week in May brings a lot of USNA families to town. Navy football in the fall attracts many Navy alumni and sporting enthusiasts. Annapolis is a popular place to visit during the holidays.

It looks like a centuries-old European town adorned with greens, red ribbons and white lights. The quietest time of the year in Annapolis is January and February, but even then, things are happening. The Maryland legislature meets for 90 days – from January until Easter – making Annapolis a beehive of legislative activity.

Iconic Hotels and Great Stories

Historic Inns of Annapolis operates three historic properties – The Maryland Inn, the Governor Calvert House and the Robert Johnson House. Each of the buildings has a story. Perhaps an even bigger story at Historic Inns of Annapolis is the story of their innkeeper, Peg Bednarsky. She’s a gracious lovely woman in her 80’s who has been with them for dozens of years.

Haunted hotels – There are a lot of ghost stories that are told of places within Annapolis’s Historic District. Mike Carter of Ghosts of Annapolis Tours could tell you some good stories. He can be reached at 443-534-0043 or [email protected].
Unique and Quirky hotel – Historic Inns of Annapolis has historic hotels with a story. Their General Manager, Daryl Strayer, can be reached at [email protected] or 410-263-2641.


Free Museums and Galleries – Many people don’t realize that admission to the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College is free.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2012 and dedicated to bringing art of world renown to Annapolis since it opened in 1989, the Mitchell Gallery’s modern design by architect Chip Bohl won a Citation of Merit from the American Institute of Architects.

It attracts over 10,000 visitors a year to its museum-quality exhibits which range in theme and diversity for a gallery of its size.

Wednesday Night Sailboat Races – Visitors should plan to catch the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races alluded to earlier. Individuals in the know stake out a seat at their favorite waterfront restaurant or plan to watch the competition from the Spa Creek Bridge, the Naval Academy seawall, City Dock, aboard a boat, etc.

City Dock – aka Ego Alley – is a must-see during a visit to Annapolis. Grab an ice cream cone and a seat along the dock and prepare to people watch. The Annapolis Harbor at City Dock is called Ego Alley because it’s where boat captains turn their vessels around (and show them off) before heading out into the Chesapeake Bay.


The City of Annapolis just completed a 6.1-million bulkhead replacement project at City Dock in spring 2016.

Maryland Avenue is a Great Find – That’s because it’s off the beaten track, not everyone discovers it. It has a host great little shops including antique stores, a book store, old-fashioned barber shop, a general store (Annebeth’s), art galleries, upscale resale clothing shop for women, Galway Bay restaurant and more.

The Naval Academy Museum – Because it’s not a part of the official tour of the U.S. Naval Academy, many people don’t know to stop by the Naval Academy Museum before they leave the “Yard.” In addition to tracing the role of the Navy throughout United States’ history, the Museum contains an impressive Gallery of Ships on the second floor.

The Rogers Ship Model Collection includes 108 ship and boat models of the sailing ship era dating from 1650 to 1850. It contains scale models built for the British Admiralty and original display cabinets from the 17th century. The collection is one of the most valuable of its type in the world.

The Naval Academy’s bone model collection ranks as one of the largest in the world. The exhibit is a tribute to the skill of prisoners who were kept in deplorable conditions for years on end. These artifacts were carved from the bones of the beef rations allowed to French prisoners-of-war during their incarceration in England. These miniature vessels are every bit as thorough in their workmanship as their wooden counterparts.

Annapolis is a Walkable City – Many people don’t realize in advance how walkable a city Annapolis is. We advise them to park their car at their hotel or at one of our many downtown garages and walk. Our attractions are within walking distance of one another. They can pick up a map at the 26 West Street Visitors Center and begin to explore.

Take a Water Taxi – If visitors are tight on time, but they still want to get out on the water, we invite them to take a water taxi. It will give them a taste of being on the water and escort them to a favorite restaurant at the same time. They can catch a water taxi at City Dock.

Restaurant Row – Annapolis’s Restaurant Row is located just across Spa Creek in Eastport. Visitors can walk to Restaurant Row from downtown Annapolis – but they might want to take a water taxi, just for the fun of it.

Maritime Republic of Eastport – Eastport is part of Annapolis, but it established its own Breakaway Republic, the Maritime Republic of Eastport, in a tongue-in-cheek secession from Annapolis in the 1990s. Their motto is “We like it this way.” If you walk through Eastport, you’ll see many a Maritime Republic of Eastport flag flying.

Hang Out Like a Local – St. John’s vs. U.S. Naval Academy Croquet Match, Oyster Roast and Sock Burning, .05K Race Across the Bridge, Maritime Republic of Eastport Tug o’ War.

Talk Like A LocalVisitors to Annapolis might hear an old saying. All you need to have a great time in Annapolis is a good dog, a good boat, and a good hat.” A lot of locals also call Annapolis “Naptown.” Annapolis has a few other nicknames as well: City of Flowers by the Bay, Museum without Walls, and America’s Sailing Capital.

Getting Around – Park your car and explore the City on foot. Annapolis is an extremely walkable city. The Historic District’s major attractions are within walking distance of one another. We invite them to stop by our 26 West Street Visitors Center to pick up a map and other information. Our volunteer information specialists can provide them with helpful hints and information.

The Discover Annapolis Trolley Tours, Four Century of Annapolis Walking Tours and other tours of the city depart from the Visitors Center. If they’ve decided they’ve walked enough, they can hop aboard the City Circulator for just one dollar a ride.