04 Oct Historic Maryland
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
BY JILL WEINLEIN
Driving from Annapolis to Washington D.C. during Labor Day weekend, we noticed cars along the beltway pulled over and people standing outside holding cameras and cell phones. There was a crowd of people lined up along a freeway overpass with an enormous American flag hanging down.
We knew Senator John McCain, who died on August 25, was going to be buried in Annapolis, Maryland, yet had no idea we would be on the highway when his hearse with an 11-vehicle motorcade and 17 flashing police motorcycles escorted him to his final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy. This was one of many historical awe-inspiring events we experienced while visiting our daughter in Maryland.
Known as the Sailing Capital of the World. Annapolis is a picturesque city on the Chesapeake Bay offering a wide range of historical sites and activities. We stayed one night at the newly acquired Hotel Annapolis. The six-story, 215-room hotel is located on West Street at Lafayette Avenue in Annapolis Arts District. It’s a short walk to the U.S. Naval Academy campus, museums, boat harbor, shopping and dining venues.
Sailors come from all over the world to visit the Annapolis docks and admire some of the most beautiful and exotic boats of all sizes along the Chesapeake Bay. Right in the center of town is the elite U.S. Naval Academy. Officers in crisp white uniforms, walk along the brick streets with family and friends during the evening hours. Since 1845, the Academy has educated the officers of the United States Navy. Visitors can tour part of the 338 acre campus steeped in history and culture. There is the United States Naval Academy Museumand the beautifully adomed chapel that holds the ornate crypt of John Paul Jones, father of the U.S. Navy.
Nearby, the historic Maryland State House, built in 1772, is the oldest state house still in use. Once the capital of the nation, it was here that the Treaty of Paris was signed to end the Revolutionary War, and General George Washington resigned from his post as commander of the Continental Army.
Another historic museum is the African American History at the Banneker-Douglass Museum celebrating two figures in American history: Frederick Douglass, the great writer and abolitionist, and Benjamin Banneker, the 18th-century mathematician, astronomer and author whose work inspired many in the drive for freedom.
We took a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay aboard the two-level Harbor Queen for a narrated cruise of the Annapolis Harbor and the banks of the U.S. Naval Academy. Not only did we learn more about the training at the Naval Academy, but we saw the white tent where Senator John McCain was to be buried.
Back in our car, after the McCain motorcade drove past us, we drove about 40 minutes to Washington D.C., to explore the historic monuments and museums. Arriving late in the afternoon, we stayed one night at the newly repurposed Wharf area. This new lifestyle complex offers three hotels, dining venues, residential units and entertainment.
The new Staying InterContinental at The Wharf is a 12 story waterfront hotel offering 278 guest rooms and suites. Up at the rooftop is a bar and sparkling pool with views of the riverfront, Jefferson Memorial and beyond.
The distinctive red brick exterior with metal accents and glass offers a modern interior design with beige and nautical blue, contemporary maritime and industrial decor in elegantly furnished rooms.
Checking into room 907, we appreciated the two queen beds with high quality cotton linens and two different pillow types – down and non-allergenic foam pillows. In the closet were two plush bathrobes and complimentary slippers. The luxurious bathroom featured a large walk-in glass enclosed rain shower and hand held shower-head system.
On the ground floor of the hotel is Kith/Kin restaurant by one of the Season 13 Top Chef Alum’s Kwame Onwuachi. Dining during the dinner hour, we appreciated this talented chef’s celebration of West Africa and Caribbean spices. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Directly in front of the hotel is a complimentary Southwest neighborhood shuttle bus that takes hotel guests to the Smithsonian and National Mall every 15 minutes. From there, everything is close by taking the metro, renting a bike, electric scooter or walking.
We explored the Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in the evening, while the weather was cooler and the crowds thinned out a little. The next day we visited two free world-class museums, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of American History before driving to the airport to fly home. Noticing a few trees were starting to change colors, October is an ideal time to visit the historic sites in Maryland and beyond.