Tag Archive | Maryland

Vet’s Day Weekend 2017: Annapolis Wander

Day 3, Friday, November 10, 2017

The next morning, I slept in, and then headed back to Chick and Ruth’s Delly for another fantastic breakfast, with another mimosa – I mean, hey, when you are on vacation!  I was seated with a young couple – the guy was from Tennessee and the girl was from New Jersey – young love!  We talked a bit about travel and champagne vs. sparkling wine (they were having mimosas too).  I couldn’t linger too long though, both because the restaurant wanted to turn the table over, and because I was moving that day, in order to spend a couple days in Washington D.C.  I have been waiting so long to see D.C.!

Chick and Ruth’s Delly

After breakfast, I wandered around Annapolis and checked out the beautiful historic buildings.

The Maryland State House is the oldest U.S. state capitol in continuous legislative use; it was built between 1772 and 1797 (progress was slow due to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War).  The building was designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson and is made in the Georgian style, and has a beautiful wooden dome on top.

The Old Treasury Building is the oldest public building in Annapolis, built between 1735 and 1736 for the commissioners who issued the colony’s first paper money.  It was originally known as the Paper Currency Office (catchy name right?); it got its Treasury Building name in the 1780s.  Currently it is being renovated; it would be interesting to go back and see inside!

The Annapolis Treasury Building

I checked out the Annapolis National Cemetery.  I love to just wander around cemeteries; they are peaceful.  I also tried to find the Naval Cemetery on the Naval Academy grounds.  It is open to the public, but when I inquired at the gate where I thought it was supposed to be, she directed me to another gate.  Upon finding the other gate (somehow not an easy task), I was directed back to the first gate I had been at!  Sigh…  The customer service there left a bit to be desired, and at that point I gave up.  Not everything on road trips is successful…

Annapolis National Cemetery

I drove to D.C. and spent some time checking out embassy row on the way.  Those old buildings are fantastic, and so unique!  Each one is different.

I stayed at a Marriott in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just on the outskirts of D.C. and very convenient to the metro line.  That evening I wandered up to a restaurant called Chatter.  It has a sports bar type theme, but the food was a mix of bar type food and fine dining.  I had a delicious seared Red Snapper with rice and broccolini, and a Champagne Bliss cocktail, with elderflower liqueur and a lemon twist.

The walls at Chatter were covered in sports memorabilia; the restaurant has a radio booth too.  Apparently a sportscaster named Tony Kornheiser broadcasts his show from the booth in the restaurant.  Being the wildly enthusiastic sports fan (cough cough) that I am, I had no idea who he was.

After dinner it was back home to the hotel for an early bedtime – I had a big day tomorrow.  I was going to the Mall!

 

And this other time it snowed…

This snow that has been taunting us for the last several days and never actually appearing got me thinking about a trip I took a few years ago to Maryland and Pennsylvania, to visit the Antietam and Gettysburg Civil War Battlefields. It was February then, and it also snowed on that trip. I always thought that people in Washington State were kind of wimpy about snow – it creates an amazing amount of chaos for a few inches. I thought it would be different in Maryland, but apparently not. I flew in and went to the hotel, and watched the news reports about the Snow-mageddon of 2008. So, figuring I was either going to be stuck or not, I went to bed and slept in the next morning. In the morning, the reports were all about the snarled commute and the various repercussions of the post-apocalyptic snow event. I was in a hotel room with a sliding door looking out onto an indoor courtyard where the pool was, and no outside window.

So, I slowly got prepared for what would be a horrible driving experience, and went outside – to find a quarter inch of snow on the grass and absolutely nothing on the roads or sidewalks. “Hey,” I thought, “it all melted – on with the day!” I drove out to the Antietam Battlefield, about 20 miles away, with clear roads and no issues the entire trip – only to find the Visitors Center closed due to snow. Someone had neatly taped a sign to the inside of the door telling visitors of the closure. Ok, so you mean some employee actually managed to get down to the Visitor’s Center (at significant risk of death or serious maiming – I’m kidding here if you couldn’t tell), opened the door, taped up the sign, and went home. Hello, you’re already there, why not just open? So, my trip to the Antietam Battlefield Visitor’s Center was thwarted, but I wandered around the battlefield anyway. Because, hey I was already there, and there really wasn’t much snow, as you can tell by this photo. I had a good time.

See, no snow on the sidewalks (or the roads)

During that same trip, I also headed over to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to see the site where the historical battle occurred. If you haven’t been there, you should go, even if you are not a Civil War history buff. There is something deeply humbling about standing on the sites where tens of thousands of Americans died for their respective causes. The town of Gettysburg is still fairly small and is unravaged by time and the development that has plagued so many other towns and cities. The buildings and fields where the battle was fought still look today like they did during that time, and in a fit of bureaucratic genius, the US government saw the need even back then to do what it could to preserve the area for the education of future generations. You can look out from Little Round Top and imagine the Confederate charge that Joshua Chamberlin defended against on Day 2 of the battle. You can imagine the sheer insanity of Pickett’s charge on Day 3, across more than a mile of open field, over fences and rock walls, and back up the hill into a heavily fortified waiting Union Army (I’m still amazed that anyone lived through that).

The view of The Devil’s Den from Little Round Top

And the cemetery, what could I possibly say about that? To stand on the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address months later, and to see the countless rows of graves marked with numbers instead of names – it really makes you wonder about whether the political infighting we experience today is really worth it.

Gettysburg Cemetery

When I was there, the new Gettysburg Visitor’s Center was not yet open (it was scheduled for its opening in April, and I was there in February). The old one was open though, even though there was actually more snow in Gettysburg. They had exhibits on the weapons that were used during the Civil War, artifacts, and a lighted battlefield map that took you through the Union and Confederate positions on each day of the battle. I believe that this map was created in the 1920’s so any child today would groan at the sight of it, but I thought it was pretty cool. Apparently others did as well, because the plan was to save it, rather than trash it when the new Visitor’s Center opened. In another 150 years, history buffs and scholars will really appreciate the foresight.