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Day 1: Historic Colonial Homes
Journey into the past. Explore Annapolis' long, illustrious American history and rich maritime heritage. Bet you didn't know that Maryland’s capital city boasts more surviving 18th-century buildings than any other city in America.
Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence lived in Annapolis and three of their homes are open for you to visit. The William Paca House & Garden is well-known for its two-acre garden featuring five terraces, a fish-shaped pond, and a wilderness garden. You'll marvel at the interior, furnished with a fine collection of antique furniture, silver, and decorative arts.
Charles Carroll, whose grandfather was the first Attorney General of Maryland, is the only Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence. You'll see Annapolis' cultural and aesthetic vibrancy represented in the Charles Carroll House.
While another signer, Samuel Chase, began building his house in 1769 he never resided in it, and sold it in 1771 to Edward Lloyd IV, a wealthy Maryland planter and politician. The Chase-Lloyd House is one of the first three-story Georgian townhouses erected in the American Colonies and ranks among the finest of its type in the country. It's a definite stop during your visit.
Another home that evokes the Colonial past is the Hammond-Harwood House. With its ornately carved mouldings, see the finest example of five-part Georgian architecture in colonial America, featuring formal rooms with mid 18th and early 19th century furnishings and fine arts.
Day 2: Historic Buildings
Continue your exploration of Annapolis' past by touring historic buildings. Check out the Maryland State House, the oldest statehouse in continuous legislative use in the country, and the only one with a wooden doom. The flagpole that sits atop the dome is actually a lightning rod that was designed by Benjamin Franklin. This is also where George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and where the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War was ratified in 1784.
The U.S. Naval Academy Chapel is a definite must-see. Its landmark dome is symbolic of the vital role that moral and spiritual guidance plays in shaping Midshipmen into naval officers. The Chapel also houses the tomb of John Paul Jones, America's first well-known naval hero.
Other popular attractions for you to explore include the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Eastport, St. Anne's Episcopal Church; Banneker-Douglass Museum, housed in the historic Mt. Moriah Church, and History Quest.
Your final stop of the day should be The Benson-Hammond House, located near Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Northern Anne Arundel County.
You'll be enchanted by this 19th-century farmhouse. It's one of the last surviving farmhouses of the once booming local farm industry and is now home to the Anne Arundel County Historical Society.
Day 3: Maritime Villages
Maritime villages such as Deale, Galesville, and Mayo invite you to escape to a simpler time. Experience what life was like for a 19th-century waterman at the Captain Salem Avery House Museum along the banks of the West River in Shady Side.
How about exploring 350-plus years of a historic waterman’s village and surrounding community? See it on display at the Carrie Weedon House, home of the Galesville Heritage Society.
Finally, no trip is complete without stopping by the 23-acre Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater, site of one of Anne Arundel County's first colonial settlements and home to the largest ongoing archaeological dig in Maryland. London Town is also home to the William Brown House, a National Historic Landmark house museum featuring an eight-acre woodland garden and the Richard Hill Garden of native and imported medicinal plants.