I laughed as the woman walked by. A couple was arguing already and the weekend had only just started. She was explaining to her husband that they were indeed out of town. “It’s a totally different county!” she exclaimed. I knew how she felt. My husband and I had also fled our county in Maryland for a little getaway from the kids in Annapolis. It was only a 30-minute drive from our home in the northern suburbs of Washington, DC, but it might as well have been a few states away.
We had finally ditched the kids. We were going to get two whole nights alone for the first time…ever. That’s more than seven years people!
Read about the last time the stomach flu
took down our chance at a parents getaway
My sister, who was supposed to watch the boys for us as part of our Christmas present, had been taken down by the stomach flu. When my mom got wind of this she drove to our rescue. This was a big deal for my mother who she hates to drive alone and on the highway, but she did it. She knew how important it was for us to have time away from the kids. We needed to reconnect after long days at the office and multiple trips for me.
Annapolis, Maryland was close enough for us to come home if there were any problems, but far enough that I couldn’t hear my toddler crying for me. We stayed on the west side of town at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, which put us in easy walking distance of most of the shops, restaurants and historical sites of Maryland’s State Capital. We walked, we ate, we listened to history being retold, and just relaxed. Finally!
Shacking up at the Loews Annapolis Hotel
The Loews Annapolis Hotel (now the Graduate Hotel Annapolis*) was a quiet retreat from our life back home, but also the hustle and bustle of the tourist center of Annapolis. The hotel was just a short walk from the waterfront, which meant we could park and walk almost anywhere in the city that we wanted to check out. It was just far enough not to be in the center of the action too Not that Annapolis gets too rowdy at night.
Our cozy king bed was the perfect place to relax and pass out after a long day of walking around the city, shopping, eating and checking out the local colonial sights. Valet and self-service parking made it easy to go in and out of the hotel too.
My husband enjoyed the single-service coffee maker for his first cup of Joe. I preferred to head into town to get my caffeine fix at one of the many adorable coffee shops. Seriously, I was tempted to bring my laptop and work in more than one of them, but I had to remember I was here for a relaxing weekend with my husband, not to work!
*NOTE: Loews is now the Graduate Hotel Annapolis. We are huge fans of the Graduate line of hotels and can’t wait to check out this revamp in the heart of Maryland’s capital city.
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Not to Miss Annapolis Restaurants
Obviously I didn’t want to be making meals and doing dishes on my weekend away, so we vigorously dove into the Annapolis restaurant scene. There are way more great restaurants than we could hit in two days, but these satisfied our hunger, and I was finally able to eat brunch at Iron Rooster. The line can get long for a table, but the wait is worth it (and this is coming from the woman who refused to stand in a four block line for VooDoo Donuts in Portland. I hate lines!).
- 49 West Coffeehouse, Winebar and Gallery, 49 West St, Annapolis, MD 21401.
- Chick & Ruth’s Delly, 165 Main St, Annapolis, MD 21401.
- Iron Rooster, 12 Market Space, Annapolis, MD 21401.
- Carrell’s Creek, Annapolis City Marina, 410 Severn Ave #100, Annapolis, MD.
- Annapolis Ice Cream Company, 196 Main St, Annapolis, MD 21401.
- Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen, 1 Park Pl, Annapolis, MD 21401.
Things to do in Annapolis
Every city on the East Coast has some sort of colonial history, especially when you are staying in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Revolutionary and Civil Wars took place in many towns, meaning there are popular historical sights that you don’t want to miss. This also means there are shops and restaurants that have popped up to cater to tourists and locals.
Thankfully Annapolis did not go overboard with chains and tourist traps, but has embraced its local food sources and artists. While I will take my kids to most places, we were able to take our time in the historical sights of town, which was a treat unto itself. No whining and asking “are we done yet?” I could look at crown molding all I wanted!
Annapolis Historic Sites
Annapolis is known as the city of bricks and for good reason. It is home to more 18th-century brick buildings than any other city in the U.S. Founding fathers lived and worked in Annapolis. Learn about the four men who signed the Declaration of Independence, tour their homes, and get a taste of how the early settlers of America lived over 300 years ago.
William Paca House and Garden
The original two-acre pleasure garden was rebuilt based on old photos after a hotel that had taken over the space behind the Paca house was knocked down. It is the only garden of its kind in Maryland. Don’t miss the house though! It holds even more history and beauty inside.
Now, I don’t know how you determine the most beautiful door in America, but the Hammond-Harwood house claims to have it. Check it out to see if you agree.
Maryland State House
This is the oldest State House in continuous legislative use in the nation. The Continental Congress met here and the treaty of Paris was ratified in this state house. This is also a great spot to see cherry blossoms in the spring and take a few photos. Just remember– this is a working government office, so don’t be surprised if you see a protest or two going on. Don’t worry. They are peaceful shows of our First Amendment Rights.
There is not end to the shopping in Annapolis. The city does have chains and the usual tourist t-shirt shops. You will want to hit Main and West Streets for the local stores. I found a few of my favorites, but already have plans to go back with a girlfriend to really dive into the boutique fashion scene.
HERE. a pop-up shop
This is a fabulous pop up shop that shows up in Annapolis a few times a year. The shop was started by Amy Fresty and Ellen Lunay as a way to highlight local Maryland artists in unused spaces throughout Annapolis. Their latest shop was hosted in an old flower shop just across the street from the state capital. My favorite part—they source a few fashions from small designers in LA; the only items brought in from out of state. Each piece is well priced and they all are amazing, hand-picked finds.
Local by Design
We love supporting local artists, and you can do it year round at Local by Design. Local owners Suzi Jett and Susan Sears handpick more than 60 local artists to be represented in the shop. Pop in for art, jewelry, clothing, home décor and more.
I first found these wooden maps while shopping in St. Michaels, MD. I was delighted to find that this Michigan artist is also represented close to home in Annapolis. Buy a map that represents your home state or your favorite destination. These multilayer wood maps can equally add to nautical, minimalist or a crazy collaboration (like mine) home design. They are an investment, but one you will love for years to come
Mango & Main
The latest in our favorite Annapolis shops you don’t want to miss. Opened in June 2019, local resident Shannon Riesenfeld has expanded her online shop into a brick and mortar at 88 Maryland Avenue. She’s showing off her favorite women’s clothing and accessories from 14 countries across the globe. Oh, and they are all fair trade.
US Naval Academy
Annapolis is famous as a bastion of colonial history, but also as the home of the US Naval Academy. Officers in the Navy and Marines are trained and educated at the US Naval Academy before receiving their commissions.
The Academy grounds are similar to many other college campuses, which the tour (fee) covers. You can see a sample barracks (dorm room), the sports center (that pool made me swoon!), and even the chapel if no weddings are taking place. The chapel is definitely the reason to stop in. Weekends do see more weddings, so be prepared to be disappointed.
NOTE: Those 18+ must have a valid, government issued ID to enter the campus.
Many thanks to Loews Annapolis Hotel (*now Graduate Hotel Annapolis) and Visit Annapolis for hosting my husband and I for the weekend. As always, opinions are my own. When they aren’t, you will be the first to know.