Committing their enterprise to eco-friendly tourism, the women at SegZone Tours guide visitors through the historic streets of Annapolis, along the city waterways of Dover, and around the track at Dover International Speedway—all aboard segways. For groups or private parties, tour leaders can also focus excursions on local gardens, architecture, and wildlife in areas often unreachable by car or paraglider. They also guide themed seasonal tours, such as rides along haunted-house routes or past holiday-light displays. With an eye toward safety, staff members always provide thorough instruction on riding before tours or rentals, though they often give customers license to race or argue over whose segway would look better with flames painted on the side. When not leading guided excursions for customers or school groups, the team organizes corporate team-building events as well as indoor obstacle courses for recreation.
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.
In the shadow of national monuments and blooming trees, a chorus of camera shutters click while photographers usher once-fleeting moments into eternity. Premier Photo Tours' staff helps foster such experiences, giving shooters skills with which to go after their photographic pursuits. Each a combination of instructor and guide, the company's camera pros lead themed walks around town that teach kids and adults how to frame scenic shots or get a stubborn art sculpture to smile. Deeper instruction comes in the form of Photo Mentor classes for photographers who want to take a more artistic and technically savvy approach in any stage of their photography development. During any of Premier's sessions, snappers have the opportunity to build community with one another around their budding talents, which can be enhanced on group travel excursions to some of the world's most photogenic locales.
Annapolis Ghost Tours' thrill-seeking guides lead walking ghost tours and pub crawls around the city's historical district, examining and explaining the lives of its long-dead citizens while occasionally enjoying each pubs' choicest sips. Tours eventually wind their way to the graveyard, where a guide recounts spine-tingling tales of the buried dead and their favorite back scratchers. They also lead craft-brewed beer tours and twisted history tavern tours that fill tour goers' heads with titillating tales of the Founding Fathers and the drinking game that wrote the Constitution. For the holiday season, they offer seasonal tours, such as Santa's Naughty Pub Crawl, a festive celebration of cocktails and naughty carols. Guides also lead the Ghosts of Xmas Past Tour, which immerses guests in ghostly holiday hauntings.
Joan Elias began her career as a shampoo girl at the age of 15 and quickly accomplished her goal of becoming a stylist. Today, she owns Annapolis Boutique Spa and oversees a staff of stylists, massage therapists, and aestheticians. Drawing upon her more than 30 years of experience, Joan helps her team cater to their clients’ aesthetic concerns while attempting to promote their physical well-being. Skincare treatments revitalize dermal layers with potent blends of essential oils instead of buzzword-heavy pep talks, and bodywork sessions promote the body's natural healing process with therapeutic massage modalities and holistic energy-balancing treatments. The treatment menu also includes a variety of hair and nail services and spa packages.
The 90-minute narrated tour, led by expert guides who share insider info about the city and the Inner Harbor, shows off the city's prime sights. From the Annapolitan II, a luxury water van, you can spot Federal Hill, Fells Point, and the USS Constellation, and get a glimpse of Fort McHenry. While the open upper deck is ideal for making eye contact with attractions, a climate-controlled lower level, featuring a full-service bar with drinks and snacks available for purchase, provides some respite from potential awkward encounters with socially inept seabirds.