A September 2006 trip
to Annapolis by moatway
Quote: Too little time, and so much to see in this wonderfully preserved historic state capital.
If you stay in the historic area, be prepared to pay for the privilege. Our observation was that it really didn’t matter. Routes into the historic city from the hotels, either West Street or Forest Drive, make it easy to access. Your accommodation should be able to provide you with a good (and free) tourist map.
So what is the score so far… fumbled reservation, all-night noise and exterior corridors. Hmmm.
On the other hand, the room was clean and well-maintained. It featured a mini-fridge, microwave, TV , Internet access and an iron and ironing board. A complementary breakfast was available in the morning… essentially a continental breakfast but it included cereals and cold boiled eggs.
The location of the motel is in just off Riva Road in an area inhabited by office buildings and other hotels. Nearby is the Festival at Riva, a shopping area, and historic Annapolis is easily accessible via Riva and West Street. The area also contains a great many restaurants, so it’s ideal for the traveler who doesn’t want to venture into town. Going into town, on the other hand, isn’t difficult as the tourist trolley stops at the entrance of the motel.
If I were ever to come back to this particular motel, I would make my reservation directly with the establishment and make it crystal clear what I wanted… and part of that would be a second floor room. (To find the motel: Take exit 22 from I-97 South. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left and left again at the next light into Hearn Road.)
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 29, 2006
Best Western Annapolis
2520 Riva Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
I advise reservations for one does not want to be offered the table in the bar area at the entrance; the restaurant is extremely busy, and as a consequence, somewhat noisy, but you’ll enjoy the décor – all a bit faux, but very pleasant – arches, columns, murals, soft colours and a fireplace separating the two eating areas. You’ll also enjoy the friendly, efficient service and the number of customers ordering in Spanish indicates that this is no Tex-Mex chain.
The menu is extensive with over 30 tapas selections, some soups and a couple of salads. It would be possible (and fun) to eat well by ordering only from the tapas menu, but the other side of the menu, featuring over 20 entrees as well as fajitas and enchiladas, demands attention. The entrees feature chicken, pork and lamb, but lean most heavily toward seafood.
After our shared chile con queso (I know, not really very adventurous), my wife chose cazuela de camarones y vieras, shrimp and sea scallops in a lobster champagne cream sauce. As usual, I went for the entrecote… a New York cut with jumbo shrimp and a wonderful cream sauce. With drinks, it came to an extremely reasonable $67.00 plus tip. To put it in a nutshell, it all made for an extremely pleasant dining experience. Jalopeno’s is really worth your consideration.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2006
85 Forest Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Attraction | "The William Paca House"
Paca, who would eventually become one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, a state delegate to the first two Continental Congresses, a senator, and a judge, would hold on to the house only until 1780. After that, it would pass through many hands. The most remarkable change to the house took place in 1901 when a developer bought the property and attached a 200 room hotel directly to it. In 1965, a potential buyer proposed to raze the entire structure, including the original house, and put an office building on the site. Fortunately, the Historic Annapolis foundation took it over, removed the 1901 addition, restored the garden where it had been built and opened the restored house in 1973.
Our exploration of Paca house is by guided tour (45 minutes) and takes us through the two floors of the central block. Our first room is the study, or gentleman’s room. As with most of the primary rooms in the house, it is painted with enough Prussian Blue to demonstrate the owner’s wealth and features heavy moldings. Our journey takes us through the kitchen in the east wing and a large formal dining room. Of note is that this house is decorated to colonial standards… there are some fine pieces of furniture etc, but in general, the overall impression is that of austerity. The exception is only in the parlour, a fairly lavishly (but restrained by our standards) decorated room for the entertainment of guests.
Upstairs, we pass through the sick room and two large bedrooms, the owner’s bedroom (or parlour chamber) being an extremely good size. From the exterior, with its elevated position above the street, the house appears quite imposing… that is far from the impression that one receives from viewing the interior where, although the dimensions are pleasing, the house is simply a comfortable family home. (Although, your tour won’t take you to the third floor or either of the two-story wings other than the gift shop in the west wing).
Perhaps the most attractive portion of the house is the formal garden which is laid out as four themed gardens… the boxwood, holly, rose and flower parterres, all linked by pathways which lead down to a pleasant pond and a classical summer house. It’s a nice place to pass time as you wait for your tour. (2006 admission, house and gardens, $8 adult. Information (410) 267-7619 or 800-603-4020)
William Paca House and Garden
186 Prince George Street
The visitor passes through the usual security checkpoint into the main hall of the first floor. The first stop should be at the visitor’s information area on the right… an informative brochure is available for self-guided tours while guided tours are offered at 11am and 3pm. The closest room contains a celebration of Maryland’s early history and its part as one of the original 13 colonies. Dominating the display is a full-sized replica of the Maryland Federalist, a boat that, in June of 1788, was sailed to Mount Vernon… a gift from Baltimore merchants to George Washington. (The President’s journal would comment that the boat sank at its wharf 6 weeks later.)
The real encounter with history begins in the blue and white Old Senate Chamber where once sat the Continental Congress which included such notables as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; this is a house through which several presidents have passed. It is here that George Washington resigned his commission in 1783 and where the Treaty of Paris was ratified to end the Revolutionary War.
Italian marble dominates the House of Delegates just down the hall, where the 141 members represent the people of Maryland. The marble, a striking rust and black, has been used to form soaring columns with Corinthian capitals that reach to arches over the balcony. It is an attractive room, from the sky lighted glass ceiling to the dark blue carpeting. Further on, the New Senate Chamber is a smaller version of the legislative chamber, but decorated in red and white. The walls are decorated with portraits of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence.
The Maryland State House is replete with reminders of the past… there is the silver service fabricated in Baltimore by Kirk and Sons for the cruiser U.S.S. Maryland in 1906 and the Charles Wilson Peale portrait of William Pitt, who had championed American rights in the English Parliament. As a whole, it speaks proudly of Maryland’s place in American history.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 29, 2006
Maryland State House
100 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Open daily at 8am, it presents a nice display of stained glass on the walls of a three nave church. In the semi-circle of the chancel, small Romanesque stained-glass windows sit under a ceiling painted to represent heaven. Below, there is an attractive wooden altar piece that was carved by Maryland artist, W.H. Rinehart.
While the pews that occupy the central nave and the side aisles are attractive, dark wood, it is the kneelers that are worthy of note. Each is uniquely embroidered, many of them dated. Under the pews is rough plank flooring; the aisles have been done with square primitive tiles.
St. Anne’s was the church that was attended by three of the four Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was also the church (for 11 years) of Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star Spangled Banner". As churches go, it has attractive dimensions without a lot of decoration; it is its history and its site in the center of historic Annapolis that make it noteworthy.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 29, 2006
Saint Anne's Church
199 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Riverview, New Brunswick