Annapolis, Maryland…….. Something for Everyone!
Our Great Chesapeake Bay Loop adventure around Maryland continues this month with Annapolis, the sailing capital of the world, that is jammed packed with fabulous restaurants, places to see and tons of things to do.
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant, Pub & Whiskey Bar
Upon our arrival in Annapolis we headed straight downtown to the famous Galway Bay for lunch. Opened in 1998, Galway Bay is a well-known Annapolis tradition. The owners Michael Galway and Anthony Clarke had a mission to bring truly Irish hospitality and food to Annapolis; to be authentic in every sense, and to create a memorable experience in food, beverages and service that their customers will come back for.
The first thing we noticed was the lack of TVs in their pub and restaurant area, a welcome surprise. This has definitely created an atmosphere for lively conversation; a great place to gather and enjoy each other’s company. The dining room’s rustic red brick and wood finishes create comfortable surroundings to enjoy friends, great food, and premium beverages.
Their bar was hand constructed in Ireland and brought over in pieces and assembled by Irish craftsman making this bar simply specular and magnificent! Galway Bay boasts over 80 Irish whiskeys which won the prestigious 2019 Irish Hospitality Global Award for Best Irish Whiskey Experience in the Americas!
We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about Galway Bay’s Irish Eggnog Liqueur. This was truly the best Eggnog we have ever had! It is a hand-crafted imported beverage distilled and bottled at Terra Liquors Distillery in Ireland. This old Irish recipe expertly blends spiced Irish whiskey, vanilla, and Irish cream, finished off with a hit of nutmeg to create a completely unique seasonal delight! Available during the holidays and only in store purchase, we were told people fly in from all over the country to purchase and take home their famous eggnog! Their eggnog was so good we are definitely coming back to buy more for our 2020 Christmas festivities. Yum!
Since this was our first time at Galway Bay we had to try their famous Fish and Chips, I have to tell you their Fish and Chips was the best I’ve ever had… it was outrageously delicious, delicate, tender battered fish cooked to perfection! Their fish and chips makes me want to drive back to Annapolis right now! Their Corned Beef Reuben is legendary and so delicious; they also have a spectacular one-of-a-kind Shepherd’s Pie just to mention a few favorites. Their Chef Kevin Duffy recently returned from a menu study trip to Ireland, where he met with famous Irish chefs such as Darina Allen and Kevin Dundon. Kevin spent time at the prestigious culinary institute, Ballymaloe, and sampled regional cuisine from Wexford, Cork and Kinsale. So everything on their menu is authentic Irish cuisine!
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant, Pub & Whiskey Bar
63 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis 21401
Ph: 410-263-8333 or visit them on the web galwaybaymd.com
Annapolis Ice Cream Company
After lunch we spent the afternoon exploring the shops along Maryland Avenue, State Circle, Main and West Streets and had a ball. We found so many great shops and boutiques that offered so many unique and wonderful gifts it was hard to stop shopping and browsing. We did manage to stop shopping long enough for some ice cream at the Annapolis Ice Cream Company. Their ice cream is homemade with nothing but premium quality ingredients, so delicious! The Annapolis Ice Cream Company uses only the freshest finest quality ingredients in their ice cream and let me tell you it was fantastic!
Annapolis Ice Cream Company
196 Main Street – Annapolis, MD 21401 –
Ph: 443.482.3895 or visit them on the web – Annapolisicecream.com
Westin Annapolis Hotel
While in Annapolis we stayed at the Westin Annapolis Hotel which is conveniently located in the heart of Annapolis. The rooms are well appointed with magnificent views of the city, a gorgeous lobby, valet parking coupled with accommodating courteous staff members to help create a memorable stay. This property has an indoor heated pool and well equipped fitness center, 24-hour a day room service and dining available at Azure. You can enhance your stay with healthy, delicious dining at Azure restaurant and be sure and try their signature burgers and jumbo lump crab cake or stop in and refuel for a busy day with a refreshing breakfast. We loved this property and highly recommend staying at the Westin Annapolis Hotel while visiting Annapolis.
Westin Annapolis Hotel
100 Westgate Circle – Annapolis, MD 21401
Ph: 410.972.4300 or visit them on the web – Marriott.com/bwiwa
Carrol’s Creek Café’
We dined at Carrol’s Creek Café, a 36 year old fine dining Annapolis icon. Since 1983, Carrol’s Creek Cafe and the Jacobs family have been serving fine food and drinks on the shore of Spa Creek! The food and service was five star in our book, we were greeted and promptly seated at a window table facing out onto the water (a fitting view for our Great Chesapeake Bay Loop trip). It was a cool evening but the lights from the boats on the water and at the dock gave a magnificent glow and relaxing feel. This 5 star restaurant was definitely one of our favorites, for food, atmosphere, unpretentiousness and fantastic service. They offer an eclectic and versatile collection of wines, beers and great cocktails. We started off with Baked Mini Brie in puff pastry stuffed with berries and drizzled with Grand Marnier spiked honey, I’m a huge fan of Brie and this was honestly one of the best I’ve ever had even better than in Paris! Wow, wish I had some now, I think I’ve told everyone about it, actually can’t stop thinking about it! They do offer an extensive starter and dinner menu with something for everyone. For my main course I ordered the Grilled Filet Mignon with caramelized sweet onions, sautéed mushrooms and bacon chive mashed potatoes, finished with a cabernet glace de viande, so tender and done to perfection! My assistant ordered the Pan Seared Scallops with mascarpone, gruyere cheese, tasso ham and green pea risotto, butternut squash hash and chive truffle oil, absolutely fantastic, the scallops were huge and delicious! Very large portions plated and served beautifully. When in Annapolis Carrol’s Creek Café is a must dine at restaurant! Especially traveling the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop, be sure to stop in for seafood (we’ve been told they have phenomenal crab cakes!)
Carrol’s Creek Café
410 Severn Avenue – Annapolis, MD 21403
Maryland State House
While in Annapolis we visited the Maryland State House the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use and is the only state house ever to have served as the Nation’s Capital. The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784. During that time, George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War. The State House is where the Maryland General Assembly convenes for three months each year, and the elected leadership of the state — the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House of Delegates and president of the Senate — all have their offices here. Opened daily until 5pm with free admission. Maryland State House – 100 State Circle – Annapolis, MD 21401
William Paca’s House and Gardens
We also enjoyed a guided tour of Declaration of Independence signer William Paca’s home and took a self-guided tour of his reconstructed 18th century pleasure garden. This five-part Georgian mansion was built in the 1760s by William Paca, one of Maryland’s four Signers of the Declaration of Independence and the state’s third Governor. Carefully restored by Historic Annapolis beginning in 1965, today it is recognized as one of the finest 18th-century homes in the country and a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours of the house, which features period furnishings and paintings, reveal the inner workings of an upper-class household in colonial and revolutionary Annapolis.
Painstakingly restored to its original splendor using details drawn from historic artwork and archaeological excavations, the two-acre colonial William Paca Garden is a picturesque retreat from the bustle of the city. Visitors can view native and heirloom plants while exploring the terraced landscape’s formal Parterres, naturalistic Wilderness, and practical Kitchen garden. The charming Summerhouse beckons guests to cross the latticework bridge over a fish-shaped pond. The garden frequently hosts weddings, receptions, and other special events.
William Paca House and Garden – 186 Prince George Street – Annapolis, MD 21401
U.S. Naval Academy – The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center
Another must see while in Annapolis is the U.S. Naval Academy – The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center. The best way to truly experience the U.S. Naval Academy is to take one of their highly-regarded historical tours. These tours are led by professional, passionate, certified guides from the Naval Academy Business Services Division, during the tour your guide will bring many of the U.S. Naval Academy’s most important stories to life. The Visitor Center is conveniently located inside USNA Gate 1 near the Annapolis harbor at 52 King George Street. Pedestrian entrances are on Prince George and Randall Streets. The Visitor Center provides guided walking and driven tours for the public and a variety of guided walking tours for private groups.
Best of all…all proceeds from the sale of tours and merchandise benefit the Brigade of Midshipmen activities. The Visitor Center is the first stop on a visit to the undergraduate college of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. There are information specialists that welcome visitors to view a 13-minute film, The Call to Serve. The film plays daily, repeating every 15 minutes.
U.S. Naval Academy – Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center – 52 King George Street – Annapolis, MD 21402
Great Chesapeake Bay Loop
Our Great Chesapeake Bay Loop adventure would not be complete without a visit to the Annapolis Maritime Museum. The museum provides visitors with a rich maritime heritage of the area and the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay through their programs and exhibits. The museum is positioned overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and is housed in the last surviving historic oyster packing plant in Annapolis. The museum houses the Wilma Lee, one of the few remaining Chesapeake Bay Skipjacks. The Annapolis Maritime Museum truly paints a good picture of the Chesapeake Bay’s heritage and culture, from crabbing to oystering to setting sail aboard a skipjack. Right near the museum, visitors can board a boat that goes to the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, the last remaining screwpile lighthouse in its original location in the Chesapeake Bay. Tours are available by going to https://uslhs.org/about/thomas-point-shoal-lighthouse/tours. Visiting the Annapolis Maritime Museum and the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is an experience to include when traveling along the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop.
Annapolis Maritime Museum – 723 Second Street – Annapolis, MD 21403
Or visit them on the web – amaritime.org/
Miss Shirley’s Café
Before departing from Annapolis, we had breakfast at Miss Shirley’s Café just around the corner from the Westin. Miss Shirley’s Cafe offers guests an upscale-casual and exceptional award-winning culinary experience for all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch. Their specialties are rooted in Southern fundamentals and the abundance of fresh ingredients from the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland. They pride themselves in beautifully presented plates, prompt and professional service, as well as clean, comfortable and well-maintained premises.
Established in 2005 by restaurateur and Baltimore native Eddie Dopkin, Miss Shirley’s Cafe was created as a tribute to an inspirational team member and personal friend, Miss Shirley McDowell. McDowell, a food professional at The Classic Catering People, was known for her sassy charm and sheer joy of preparing dishes for those she loved. Corporate Executive Chef Brigitte Bledsoe and the culinary team craft bold seasonal menus that reflect both McDowell’s southern flare and Bledsoe’s love of fresh Maryland ingredients. The menu offers specialties including: Chicken ‘N Waffles, Shrimp & Grits, Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict & Coconut Cream Stuffed French Toast.
By providing exceptional service, and preparing award-winning dishes, Miss Shirley’s Cafe has grown into a Maryland landmark sought out by both locals and visitors alike. As a local, family owned restaurant, Miss Shirley’s Cafe aims to make all guests feel comfortable & included in their dining experience. The restaurant has become known within the community for its extensive allergy friendly policy, kid friendly activities & bento-style kids meal, seasonal pet friendly patio accommodations, as well as the availability of braille, vegan & gluten-free menus.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe has been featured on national television, including Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and Guy’s Grocery Games, as well as Travel Channel’s Food Paradise. The restaurant has gained additional national attention, being awarded: America’s Favorite Family Friendly Restaurants, Best Pancakes in The Country & Best Breakfast Dish in Maryland by Food Network; The South’s Best Breakfast Spots & Best Fried Green Tomatoes in Maryland by Southern Living Magazine, and Best Breakfast Sandwich in America by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine. Miss Shirley’s Cafe has also maintained its local resonance, having been named Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant by the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
Miss Shirley’s Café – 1 Park Place – Annapolis, MD 21401
Or visit them on the web – Missshirleys.com