“In the current economic climate, it seems more financially sensible, and sometimes actually more enjoyable, to visit the less-travelled destinations that the world has to offer. I tried this out this summer, when I flew out to America for some long-awaited sun. As we had already visited New York last year, there were few other places we wished to see in the east of the country, other than America’s beautiful capital, Washington D.C.
But, as you can imagine, Washington (the city, not the state, which is in fact on the west coast of the country) is a busy, bustling tourist destination. Home to some of America’s most famed attractions – the White House, the Lincoln Memorial to name a few – the city is always packed with eager tourists and gaggling groups of American children on school or church trips. A way to escape the madness of the city during peak times – roughly from May through to September – is to either visit during less busy months of the year, or to stay somewhere nearby. We tried the second option in late July, and stayed in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, which is one of the states that borders Washington D.C.
Annapolis is within easy driving distance of Washington, yet far enough away that accommodation prices are very reasonable and where a British accent is greeted with glee and surprise in the local diner – check the “Double T Diner” for fluffy french toast. Unlike other destinations in America – Florida, for example – swimming pools are seldom seen here, due to the riverside location of the town. It was nigh on impossible to find a holiday rental with a pool, so we settled for a gorgeous river house, which had 3 decks and a pier leading right down to the waterfront. Swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing are all popular activities to do whilst there – in addition, Annapolis is famous for its crabs. Either try fishing yourself, which is easy to do considering the sheer amount of riverfront homes and B&Bs, or sample the famous local crab cakes, known as “Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes”.
The predominant reason this town is known nationally is due to its navy camp; Annapolis is home to the United States Naval Academy. This means that you will barely turn a street corner without a muscly naval officer jogging past or an SUV with an “I’m a Navy Mom” bumper sticker slapped on the back! Another place you can spot people from the academy is along one of the area’s most interesting attractions – a 13-mile cycling and jogging track that spans from Baltimore airport to an Annapolis bike store. Built over an old railway line, there is about an 8-foot wide paved surface, winding its way through lush wooded terrain and some picturesque suburban areas; it makes for a nice day out for families, or just as a daily workout location for the locals and the training sailors.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, Annapolis is famous for its crabs – not only that, but its delicious seafood. One place to definitely visit is “Sam’s on the Waterfront”, which offers the local favourite, the salmon burger, and refillable “mocktails” for the kids – the Shirley Temple is always a hit. Or after a day trip to Washington D.C., head only 5 miles south out of the city to the beautiful town of Alexandria, where you can find the stylish restaurant, “The Fish Market”, which without a doubt offers the world’s best onion rings, with live music and “oyster nights” on certain select days of the week. Also visit the quaint boutiques and Alexandria’s stunning riverfront – it’s not everyday that you can find such an attractive place to visit only 5 miles from a country’s capital.”