Annapolis, MD

Thursday marked the day that Grandma Cathy and Jim were finally arriving!  The girls were so excited.  My mom was able to spend a full week with us at Easter time back in April.  It’s hard to believe it had been almost 3 months since we’d seen her!  That was way back when we had been in Florida for months on end.  We saw my mom when we were in St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Islamorada and Cocoa Village, FL.  So this felt like a long time between visits.  Molly was able to rattle off that since then, we had gone through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland!

Unfortunately my mom and Jim weren’t arriving until close to bedtime so we had the whole day to wait.  We took the shuttle from the marina into town and looked at a boat we’ve looked at once before.  Then we walked into the cute little downtown part of Annapolis and grabbed some lunch and shopped a bit.  I love these old cities.  I love their charm and their houses and their cute little streets.  As usual it was hot so after some shopping we stopped for the girls to get ice cream.  We knew all day it was going to storm and it had held off for quite awhile.  As we were walking to the shuttle stop we saw the sky turn colors and knew we were in trouble.  We had pushed Mother Nature too far and 10 minutes before the shuttle was due to pick us up she unloaded on us!  There was no protection.  I had the girls’ rain coats and had umbrellas for the three of us.  Ben won’t do jackets or umbrellas usually so I didn’t have one for him.  Unfortunately he was carrying the activity bag I packed for the kids when we were looking at the boat including Maddy’s summer workbook.  It has now completely dried out but is about 2 inches thicker than it was previously with VERY rippled pages!  We sprinted through rivers and flooded streets to the shuttle where Scott from the marina was standing with the doors open for us, taking umbrellas and hurrying us in.  Such a sweet guy!  Thank you Scott!

We got back to the boat and changed clothes and dried out a bit and went back to waiting for Grandma to arrive.  My mom and Jim arrived around 8 PM and the girls ran full speed ahead to greet them.  After hellos and hugs we all got back on the boat and eventually got the girls in bed.  Molly was super excited because my mom brought birthday presents so the birthday celebration would continue in the morning!  We had a lazy day Friday.  Birthday presents in the morning followed by breakfast at the café by the pool.  Then the playground and pool for a few hours.  Later Friday afternoon we went into town for dinner.  We had quite a few recommendations for Annapolis restaurants and hit as many as we could.  Friday was Boatyard Bar and Grill and we had a great meal.

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Saturday morning we were ready to go in the morning for a day of sight seeing.  We took the shuttle into town and headed for the Naval Academy.  When we got there my mom realized her ID was in her other purse so we saw the town instead.  We walked the charming streets and up the hill towards the circle around the State House.  We stopped in a lot of shops and had a nice lunch.  We passed a public piano in the square and an amazing pianist happened to be sitting there playing when we walked by.  After quite a bit of walking we went back to the shuttle stop, which happens to be right across the street from the marina with the boat we keep looking at so we took my mom and Jim to see the boat while we waited.  We opted for dinner on the boat that night and prepared the rest of our crab cakes for them to try.  They still tasted good!

Sunday my mom, the girls and I went to St. Mary’s Church – a beautiful old church with a steeple that we could see from all over town.  It was founded years ago on land owned by the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence.  The inside was beautiful with a ceiling that looked liked starts.  Maddy is a sucker for a good ceiling, dome, rotunda….you name it. She loves them.

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After church we had a fantastic brunch outside overlooking the water at Carol’s Creek.

Then we went to the Naval Academy for the afternoon.  What a wonderful treasure open to the public.  We started in the Visitor Center and watched the introduction video about the Academy.  We did a self guided tour and began in Lejeune Hall – the sports Hall of Fame.  The girls (and adults) were amazed at the Olympic sized pool and the diving well.  We were able to go in and look at the pools.  The diving platforms are SO HIGH.  The naval academy students have to conquer jumping off the platforms at the start of their sophomore year.  If they have height issues (like me!) or can’t quite do it at the start of the year they are given that year to work out their issues.  This height is the height of the top of the ships they will be stationed on and it’s important for the candidates to find out now if they can handle the heights and the jumps or get out before they get in too deep.  Seems logical!

After Lejeune Hall we walked the campus a bit.  We passed some of the pretty Commander’s Houses on our way to Bancroft Hall, the largest student dormitory in the United States.  We were treated to seeing candidates marching in formation while we walked.

Bancroft Hall is a work of art.  Nothing like the dormitories Ben and I lived in at University of Illinois!  We will have to take the girls there and show them the difference.  Bancroft reminded me of DC with the white stone and front steps.  Up we went into the main hall where we were treated to another rotunda and amazing ceiling!  Then up the main staircase into the assembly room where the “Don’t Give up the Ship” flag is displayed.  This room is gorgeous and contains quite a bit of history and museum like exhibits.

We also got to tour a sample dorm room.  This was neat for the girls since they have never been in a college dorm.  These rooms were HUGE compared to ours as well with large closets for uniforms and big desks below the beds.  And each room contains it’s own sink and shower because cleanliness is very important at the Academy.  Bathrooms however are down the hall.

Next we moved onto the Main Chapel at the Academy.  Services are open to the public on Sundays.  The chapel is huge and ornate.  I loved that in addition to being a house of worship it also pays tribute to the Navy with a ship!

Finally we moved onto the museum.  We had hoped to just stop in and see the model ships exhibit but the rest of the museum was great too.  We spent quite awhile looking at everything and really enjoyed the model ships.

There was a whole group of models carved out of bone.  These actually had nothing to do with the US Navy.  They were carved by French POWs during the French Revolution.  The prisoners were allowed to make things out of whatever scraps they could get their hands on.  The bone was from their meat rations.  The prisoners were then allowed to sell what they made.  These ships were amazing.

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Made from bone!

After a very full day at the Naval Academy we decided to head back to the boat and save the State House visit for Monday.  Monday morning started with a sewing lesson!  We acquire clothes with holes in them and give them all to my mom when she arrives.  Madelyn had some pajama pants and Ben had a t-shirt that needed to be mended.  The girls love to sew and I can hardly thread a needle.  So they truly enjoyed the grandma time learning new skills.  They each took turns with my mom sewing up different holes until everything was as good as new.  While they were sewing I headed out for a haircut and a pedicure.  YAY!

Next we headed back to the other marina for a test ride on the boat.  This boat is perfect for us in so many ways and we just keep coming back to it.  Monday we got to go for a test ride.  It’s a great boat but during our ride Ben did some math and tested out various speeds and realized that the fuel economy on the boat is downright bad.  We are looking for a boat that will allow us to do longer range cruising, so burning more fuel isn’t the answer.  So, sadly I think we have put that particular boat behind us.

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It was windy!

It was another sweltering hot day.  We walked into town and straight to an ice cream shop!  Jim opted for a beer.  My mom, the girls and I got ice cream.  And Ben stayed at the marina for a few talking to the broker.  Then we all convened at the Maryland State House.

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There is so much history everywhere we go.  We quickly learned that this is where George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental army and stated that he wanted to go home to Mt. Vernon to be a farmer.  State congress was not in session so we were able to see the Senate and House floors as well as an elaborate silver service on display in the Caucus room.  The silver was commissioned by the Maryland governor when the state had no money to pay for it.  The governor started a state wide fundraiser including school children to raise the $5000 to pay for it.  There are six themes present in the silver ranging from country (an eagle) to state (crops) to the Navy (ropes and ships).

The State House contains the actual room where George Washington gave his resignation speech.  This room is not used by congress anymore and is set up as a museum room now.  To be standing in a piece of history was pretty incredible.  His resignation is what led to returning the military back to the people and the development of the structure that has the President serve as Commander in Chief over the military.

Finally we got to tour the Old House of Delegates room.  The Old Senate Chamber is currently under restoration.  Just outside the State House is the original Treasury building, still standing on the grounds.

Back to the boat to cool off and have some pool time while Grandma Cathy and Jim went out for dinner.  The girls loved playing basketball in the pool!  After my mom and Jim were back it was our turn for a date night.

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Tuesday came quickly and my mom and Jim had to leave for the airport after lunch.  My mom and Molly took a walk on the nature trail in the morning and Ben and I ran and got some last minute grocery shopping done.  We headed back to Boatyard Bar and Grill for lunch since we all enjoyed it on Friday.  We finally got a picture with all of us in it!  And then all too soon had to give goodbye hugs.  The goodbyes are never easy but we’ll see them again soon.  We spent the rest of the day soaking up the pool and relaxing.  We loved our time in Annapolis!

 

 

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