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A visit to Annapolis, Maryland, is not complete without a tour of its historic district. Founded in 1649, the city boasts over 300 years of history, including the fact that for nine months during 1783-1784, it served as the capital of the United States. At the Annapolis City Dock's visitor information booth or the visitor's center on West Street, you'll find lots of resources for learning about Annapolis history.
Annapolis' City Dock, along with being near the center of the historic district, it was here that Kunta Kinte, ancestor of Alex Haley, disembarked to enter into a life of slavery. If you remember, Alex Haley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots, made into a TV miniseries back in the mid 1970s. The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial includes a sculptured scene of Haley, seated and reading to three children of ethnic diversity. Across the street, HistoryQuest is a free history orientation center run by the local preservation group with three floors of exhibits on Annapolis' black history, maritime heritage, Civil War and the "Golden Age" before the American Revolution when Annapolis was a prime vacation spot for wealthy doctors, lawyers and planters.
The Maryland Statehouse is the oldest state house in continuous legislative use in the United States. It includes the old Senate Chamber where the Continental Congress met and George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Portraits of the 4 Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence hang in the state house. Tiffany skylighs adorn both the current senate chamber and the house chamber, which date back to 1902.
The United States Naval Academy Visitor Center and Museum draws crowds year-round. Michael Smith, who commanded the ill-fated spaceship , Challenger, was a graduate of the Academy.
If you're traveling to Annapolis with children, don't miss the Chesapeake Children's Museum on Silopanna Road, with its interactive nature trail, exhibits, and regular events.
A major focal point of this port town is, of course, the water. Thought of as America's sailing capital, Annapolis has a number of boating businesses offering cruises for individuals and families, as well as providing opportunities for learning how to sail. The popular motorboat tours are the "Miss Anne" and the "Harbor Queen", both of which depart from City Dock adjacent to Phillips Crab Deck. The most popular sailing tour is the "Woodwind" schooners. These 74 foot twin racing schooners are docked on the other side of the waterway known as "Ego Alley" (check out the parade, and you'll get where this comes from!) at the Marriot waterfront (entry through "Pusser's" bar). Two "sandbagger" sailboats located adjacent to Phillip's, "Bear" and "Bull" are also available, but these require significant advance notice. Water taxi service is readily available to take tourists across the harbor to Eastport, where there are many great waterfront restaurants to choose from.