Licensed professional tour guides could tell you about the design plan of the U.S. Capitol, the specifics of the congressional resolution to build the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the quotes engraved on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Or, they could show you.
Excellent Tours' four experienced guides share their knowledge of the capital during three narrated tours aboard vans, mini-buses, and coach buses. Each tour includes stops at the White House, Capitol building, Lincoln Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which is where the similarities end. Tours run at three different times and visit several different additional sights, such as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the World War II Memorial. During each excursion, guides divulge facts such as how President Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its name in 1901, and why the engineer who laid the cornerstone of the Washington Monument used the same trowel George Washington used nearly a century earlier instead of the nice one his mother bought for him.
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.
The Spirits of Ellicott City’s local guides, garbed in anachronistic costumes, lead revelers on a three-hour tour, which divulges the supernatural lore surrounding up to four historical watering holes. Groups gather in the cozy confines of a predetermined start site, usually The Wine Bin, to meet their knowledgeable guides. Tours that start at The Wine Bin enjoy a complimentary pre-tour pour. Once an old fire station, the wine merchant reportedly plays host to a series of spectral firefighters, responsible for ominous noises and ghostly warnings about playing with sparklers. A stop at The Diamondback Tavern reveals tales of mysterious faces seen in windows and ghostly sightings by local police, and guests at the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company may find themselves seated under the site of a man’s grisly hanging. At Tersiguel’s French Country Restaurant, groups descend to the cool depths of the wine cellar to experiment with different types of ghost bait at its dimly lit tables or peer into an ancient open cistern.
Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society honors local history with its comprehensive library and museum collections. A year's membership gains history hounds unlimited free admission to the cavernous library and scintillating exhibits, such as Maryland's National Treasures, a showcase of swords, vital documents, and keepsakes from Revolutionary War heroes including George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and a young John F. Kennedy. Among the museum's permanent exhibits are the original "Star-Spangled Banner" document written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, as well as painted and inlaid furniture, silver, quilts, and toys.
Since 1996, the staff at Seadog Cruises has welcomed explorers aboard sophisticated, open-air speedboats for city tours. Over the years, they’ve led more than two million sightseers through Baltimore and Chicago on cruises that elucidate city histories, paying special attention to landmarks such as Baltimore’s Naval Reserve Center and Chicago’s Tribune Tower. Their fleet of watercraft uses low-sulfur diesel and four-stroke engines that produce lower emissions than older models, allowing eco-conscious passengers to rest easy and allowing fish to finally open their windows for some fresh water.