Guys, the East Coast is so different. I mean, you drive one hour and you’re in a different state. Drive six and you cross three states. Did you know California takes about 15 hours to drive from North to South? Growing up, my family spent many summer hours in a car driving up, down, and around the Western states. I learned how to love my time spent in an automobile, sometimes watching hours of nothing but desert whiz by. It was in our old Dodge Van that I perfected my techniques for dealing with my chatty little sister and where I learned how to instantly fall asleep by the rocking of a vehicle. Today, though I don’t take them as much as I used to, I still love car trips. Not only does it remind me of my youth, but it reminds me of how big my world can actually be.
When I was living in New York, I think I was swallowed by city living. Sadly, I only managed to get out of NYC a handful of times. A handful! In five years! That’s pretty sad. There was one memorable Fourth of July trip to Cold Spring, New York, where I swore thereafter that I would make efforts to get out of the city more. Then an amazing trip up the coast to Maine for the following Fourth, which I reminded myself of my previous years’ promise. Sprinkled in between were a few more trips upstate and out to Jersey. But certainly not a track record of travelling about to boast.
A few weeks ago I went on a very short day trip to Annapolis. A few hours, really — we didn’t even leave town until 3pm. The car ride wasn’t that long, an hour at most. I wasn’t really expecting anything other than a naval academy and an abundance of shellfish restaurants, and was pleasantly surprised when we drove up to a bustling, quaint, café-filled college town. As we ventured out of the car on foot, everywhere we looked were coffee shops, bars that looked like they’ve been operating since the 19th century, waterfront seating, and flag-decorated patios.
Somehow we found ourselves first strolling through the US Naval Academy, which was a surprisingly beautiful campus. Lots of greenery, lots of beautiful brick buildings and very wide paths. A beautiful gym, and dumpsters that, to no ones surprise, were in formation. About face!
We checked out an old musty bookstore, filled with old and new books practically falling off the shelves it was so packed inside. We peeked our heads in an ice cream parlor, only to forgo ice cream since the line was just too long. We walked around the quaint streets of town, observing the old houses with their colorful, tiny doors and ivy-covered alleyways. Doors and alleyways that could only have been built when the nation was first founded, as no one of excess height or weight today could comfortably fit under or through.
I’m so thrilled that already in DC, I’ve been exploring beyond the city limits far more than I did in my previous stint on the East Coast. And, it’s wonderful. Maybe it’s given the nature of people in this city, maybe it’s the accessibility of the freeways and that more of our friends have cars, maybe it’s just that the city is boring (no, not this, definitely not). Well, maybe it’s also that I’m now married to someone who can’t sit still.
Here are a few gems to hit up on a day trip to Annapolis:the USNA 52 King George Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21402
Phone: 410–293-8687 (TOUR) Annapolis Bookstore 35 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis Maryland 21401 Annapolis Ice Cream Company 196 Main Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: (443) 482‑3895 the City Dock Dock Street, Annapolis