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Historic Hotspot: Annapolis, Maryland
Historic Hotspot: Annapolis, MD
By Christine Stoddard
The southern tip of the Mid-Atlantic probably has an unfair amount of officially recognized and preserved history. Between Maryland and Virginia alone, there are nearly 200 National Historic Landmarks and almost 60 National Historical Parks. Washington, D.C., which is sandwiched right between the two states, bumps up the area's National Historic Landmark count by 75. At least as far as numbers go, this makes the colonial city of Annapolis, MD a mere face in the crowd. Statistics aside, Annapolis sparkles as the front tooth of the Severn River and makes up part of the gleaming smile that is the Chesapeake Bay.
More or less equidistant from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (about an hour either way), Annapolis was founded in 1649 and incorporated in 1708—making it one of the oldest cities in the United States. From 1783 to 1784, Annapolis served as the nation's capital. Today the cobblestoned home to over 38,000 presides over Maryland as the state capital and Anne Arundel County as the county seat. Famous for its maritime scenery and history, Annapolis attracts 4.5 million tourists every year. Annapolis is also every bit as brainy as it is beautiful. The city proudly lays claim to both the United States Naval Academy and St. John's College. Theater, museums, and monuments add to the city's thriving cultural health.
Visitors to Annapolis can choose from a wealth of educational and just plain entertaining diversions. The Annapolis Maritime Museum presents over 400 years of maritime history, even offering lighthouse tours in the summertime. Meanwhile, the Banneker-Douglass Museum gives visitors a look at how African-Americans shaped the city's agricultural industry in the 1800s. The Charles Carroll House lures guests into the private life of the sole Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Other particularly interesting sites include the U.S. Naval Academy/Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, the Waterfront Warehouse, and the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center. That's not to mention the city's nearly 20 miles of waterfront, vibrant sailing community, dozens of family-owned businesses, and notable seafood festival.
Self-guided walking tours—choose from one with Walter Cronkite or another on African-American heritage—give visitors the opportunity to explore Annapolis at their own leisure. For a horse-drawn tour around town, the Annapolis Carriage takes guests for an adventure into the past. There's also nothing wrong with just wandering around on your own two feet, literature-free.
Annapolis, MD is a must-see for any Quail Bell(e).
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