Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sailing Away in Annapolis

Here’s What We Did:

Hi, everybody! It's Andrea and Steve. This trip began as an idea to tour a bit of New England in the spring before retrieving our daughter from boarding school in Maryland at the end of the year. A week-long his and hers getaway. Good food. Good wine. Good views. Good wi-fi so we could still work.

The original plan had us leaving Georgia on a Saturday, picking up our daughter the following Saturday. We would begin our drive home the same day to arrive home on Sunday, more than a week after our departure. So, the trip would have been a total of 8 days, 7 nights. The schedule was squeezed as the date neared due to work and family demands. We realized we weren’t going to be able to leave until much later that week – Wednesday!  We scrapped the New England leisurely drive and chose a locale closer to the boarding school outside of Baltimore. We settled on Annapolis because it has a charming and relaxed downtown area with great shops and restaurants in easy walking distance. We knew we would have to complete a marathon drive on the way up and back, but we would have two days in Annapolis, and that was worth trying to make the effort. Following that, we would proceed to Baltimore on Friday as planned, pick up our daughter on Sunday morning and drive all the way home on Sunday. Our trip was 5 days and 4 nights, and we managed to get in a few additional adventures in Pennsylvania and Delaware!


Who: Two adults
Where: Atlanta, Georgia –Annapolis, Maryland – Baltimore, Maryland – Atlanta, Georgia
When:  Last week in May
How Long:  5 days, 4 nights
Transportation:  Driving
Maximum All-Inclusive Budget: $2000
Special Purchases and Events: Christmas ornaments, silver bracelet charms, books by local writers, a cruise on the Chesapeake, a museum or two, visits with friends, try some good restaurants, side trip to Delaware, look at property

Day Plans:

Day 1: Atlanta, GA to Annapolis, MD
Breakfast: At home
Lunch: Picnic in car
Dinner: McGarvey’s Oyster Bar and Saloon
Hotel: ScotLaur Inn

Day 2: Annapolis, MD
Breakfast: Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers
Lunch: Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs
Happy Hour: Maria’s Sicilian Ristorante
Special: Woodwind Schooner
Dinner: Reynolds Tavern
Hotel: ScotLaur Inn

Day 3: Annapolis, MD to Baltimore, MD
Breakfast: Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers
Lunch: Picnic in car
Dinner: Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano
Hotel: Mount Vernon Hotel

Day 4: Baltimore, MD – Chadds Ford, PA – Wilmington, DE – Baltimore, MD
Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at hotel
Lunch: Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, PA
Dinner: Bellafonte Café and Trading Company, Wilmington, DE
Hotel: Mount Vernon Hotel

Day 5: Baltimore, MD – Atlanta, GA
Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at hotel
Lunch: Picnic in car
Dinner: Fast food
Hotel: none

Bottom Line:

We loved the ScotLaur Inn. Mind you, it was super-budget friendly and left a lot to be desired in the way of aesthetics and comfort. BUT! It is SO close to everything downtown. We like to have our cocktails and wine at dinner, and being able to walk to the hotel afterwards is a big plus because it saves us cab fare. The owners and staff were incredibly friendly. It’s very close to parking with multiple entrances. AND it sits atop Chick and Ruth’s Delly, an Annapolis legend. Chick and Ruth’s is a busy diner with locals and tourists alike. You will actually check in for your room in the diner. The really fun thing was the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in the diner.  We love our luxurious hotel linens and 24-hour room service as much as the next person, but it was no big sacrifice for the location and the charm. However, if you don’t like feeling you are in a bed and breakfast, it’s definitely not for you. You can pay 300% more and stay at the more modern, luxurious, and generic hotels down the street.

We also loved the Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers. Free and fast wi-fi, a small but eclectic selection of used books, new books, and featured books by local authors. Coffees. Quiches. Sweets. On the harbor. Just wonderful. Wonderful staff. We spent a few hours there each day to work remotely. Also budget-friendly.

Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano – Holy Cow. I can’t believe how many times I have been to Baltimore and missed this treat! I am not even sure I have words for how good the food was. It’s worth going to Baltimore to have dinner there. Recommending the Colossal Lump Crab Cocktail appetizer, Shrimp Bisque, Lobster Saffron Mashed Potatoes, and the Osso buco. Not even slightly budget-friendly but so completely worth the splurge.

The sunset cruise on the Woodwind Schooner with live music was by far our favorite thing. We plan to do this every time we are in Annapolis. Great staff. Lovely music. And toasting at sunset on the water was terribly romantic. Make sure you look at their calendar online, though. The nightly cruises are frequent, but the live music seemed to happen every week or so. You can reserve your spot online as well. If we hadn't booked ahead of time and taken our confirmation number to the dock with us, there would not have been availability.

We actually didn't have time to do this on this trip, but the Mount Vernon Hotel is around the corner from the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore. We have been many times over the years, and we just love it. If you haven't been, it is a museum that is completely worth an leisurely visit. Stunning. The Archimedes Codex by R. Netz and W. Noel is a great read about one particularly special piece of antiquity that came their way. Mystery, history, science, and art rolled into one.

The Numbers:

Our spreadsheet of what we bought, where, and how much it was. This includes everything from gas to souvenirs to hotels, meals, and replacing lost iPhone chargers. (Coming soon.)





Happy Travels!

Andrea and Steve

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