Historic Annapolis at St. John’s College preserves and celebrates the area’s rich social and political history with tours of the colonial city and its landmark homes. The nonprofit group restored the Paca House & Garden, National Historic Landmark, to its colonial-era glory so that visitors could wander the rooms and gardens and travel back in time to an era teeming with revolutionary political ideas and patriotism. A historical museum holds exhibits that illuminate the past, such as a six-foot-by-six-foot model of 18th-century Annapolis and a wormhole to Ben Franklin’s kite shop. At Hogshead at 43 Pinkney Street, living history presentations immerse visitors in the language and thoughts of long-ago citizens. Historic Annapolis also hosts a variety of public events, from historical interpreters presenting on colonial life to summer camps for burgeoning history buffs.
The Annapolis Craft Beer & Music Festival encourages visitors to BYO. That's not BYOB, mind you (there are more than 100 beer styles here from craft breweries around the country). Instead, visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs—and set them up near the Pilsner stage to listen to live music all day while sipping their samples.
But there's plenty to do at the fest away from the lawn, too. Informational seminars teach all about beer, with sessions that might cover the fundamentals of craft beer or cooking gourmet dishes with it. Until festgoers can get back home and can put those lessons to action, there are plenty of hearty eats to try at the festival grounds, including freshly shucked Maryland oysters.
Handicap Accessible: No
Staff Size: 1 person
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Half-Day and Sunset Sailing
Pro Tip: Bring sunscreen, hats, and a smile
What inspired you to start or run this business?
Before starting Classic Sail Charters, I volunteered with a community sailing organization that exposed people to sailing who had never sailed before. Most of the participants in the program realized the special calm joy that comes after casting off lines and raising sail. Gliding quietly through the water under sail seems to wash the stress away, and it was apparent in their eyes and faces. After 25 years working in corporate offices, I decided this was for me.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Helping people get away from it, and watching the faces light up.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Sailing yachts is a sporty activity that requires some mental concentration, as well as some physical strength. When the wind is up and the boat pitches and rolls a bit, it is not the best or safest activity for children under 7, nor is it much fun for the parents.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
"Thank you, that was wonderful."
CapitalSUP LLC's founders and head instructors aren't just all Annapolis-area natives—they're also all experienced in aquatic fitness and local history. It may come as no surprise then, that they've found a way to teach standup paddleboarding and the rich history of Annapolis at the same time. They offer a trifecta of guided tours, beginner and intermediate paddling lessons, and equipment rentals.
Daytime tours begin at the South Annapolis Yacht Centre, the city's oldest operating marina. After a brief training session, groups set off to explore the city's creeks and rivers, passing under the shadows of docked yachts and centuries-old stone buildings. Tours visit historic sites such as St. Mary's Church and the US Naval Academy, balancing aquatic adventure with a history lesson and the occasional Roman mock naval battle. Nighttime tours add a little drama with colored lights affixed to the bottom of each board and nonstop music throughout the tour. CapitalSUP goes beyond basic paddleboarding, though: fitness classes start with dynamic land exercises before using the boards as a floating gym, and FloYo classes work through yoga poses out on the water.
Before purchasing a new video game, players at Press Play Entertainment can test out full versions of the latest releases. At surround-sound stations equipped with consoles such as Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation 3, 3D-ready HDTVs accentuate each game's crisp graphics. Press Play customers can also sample accessories like the PlayStation Move's mobile controllers or the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset.
At weekly tournaments held on 47-inch TVs, Press Play pits gamers against each other in rounds of new and old classics. Contestants square off in HALO, hunt each other down in Call of Duty, and argue against parking tickets in Street Fighter. For players 17 and up, Press Play raises the stakes with prizes such as sporting event tickets and vintage gaming systems.
When Pete and Kate Vonderheide moved from Hawaii to Annapolis to live closer to their family, they thought they'd have to give up a career of ocean kayaking to resume responsible office jobs. Soon they recognized the historic city harbor's lack of kayak tours and knew they couldn't stay inside forever. Their shared passion for history spurred them to research and interview the locals until they'd compiled enough historic material to start leading tours. Today, their tours can teach something new even to locals.
The Vonderheides continue to assemble a team of outdoor guides certified in CPR and first aid who all bear a well-researched knowledge of area wildlife and history. These experts lead two-hour scenic tours through the historic harbor. Starting each excursion with a brief paddling lesson, they put first-timers at ease with basic instruction and an amiable demeanor, unlike guides who rely only on their convincing Captain Ahab impressions. Excursions begin at the Spa Creek headwaters in Truxtun Park and lead participants into open-harbor waters to drift in full view of the state capitol building, the US Naval Academy, and historic Eastport. Trips peak at the City Dock, where participants receive a break to take photos and rest. On the return trip, guides field open-ended questions about city history such as presidential visits, the crabbing and oystering trade, and whether George Washington had to swim using floaties.