The top three variables individuals consider when they’re planning a move or relocation are: safety, affordability and weather. Not surprisingly, the same three criteria play a key role when it comes to planning a vacation.
Perhaps that’s why so many travelers return to Annapolis and Anne Arundel County year after year. The September/October 2017 issue of Where to Retire magazine touts Annapolis as one of “Eight Cities to Park the Car and Walk.” In addition to applauding the miles of shoreline that grace Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, the article cites a moderate climate — a high of 41 degrees/low of 24 degrees in January and a high of 87 degrees/low of 69 degrees in July — as another compelling reason to visit.
Some travelers say they return to their favorite haunts annually to keep family traditions alive. Others say repeat visits help them keep their finger on the pulse of the destinations they love. They believe in the age-old adage, “The only constant is change.” The list of some of the major projects that were initiated or completed in Annapolis and Anne Arundel over the past year is a testament to this theory.
Building and Renovation Boom
Fiscal year 2017, that ended June 30, celebrated the opening of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport’s (BWI) multi-million-dollar D/E Connector that provides additional international airline capacity and new passenger services. In September 2016, the Cordish Companies broke ground on the new, $200 million, 310-room flagship Live! Hotel adjacent to Arundel Mills Mall that’s slated for completion next year. At the same time, the company launched Live! Lofts, a first-class, full-service boutique hotel.
In 2017, Historic Annapolis Inc. embarked on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar restoration of the James Brice House — one of the largest and most elegant of Annapolis’s historic homes and one of the most important surviving structures from colonial America. Historic Annapolis plans to restore the house to its completed 1774 appearance.
On the arts and entertainment scene, Maryland’s premier regional theater for Shakespeare and the Classics, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, opened the doors of its new 1804 West Street location in January 2017. The 8,102-square-foot property is triple the size of its former building. Audiences are now enjoying performances featuring Broadway actors in the company’s intimate black box theater. In February 2017, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts kicked off construction of its new Theatre Production Wing, marking the first expansion of the Maryland Hall building in its 85-year history.
Cuisine and Libations
In the culinary arena, Crooked Crab Brewing Company has signed a lease for a 6,100-square-foot warehouse in Odenton, where it plans to start making beer by year’s end. In downtown Annapolis, the owner of Chesapeake Brewing Company, Carolyn Marquis, said her 114 West Street restaurant expects to begin creating its own craft beers this fall. Lovers of Japanese food have discovered a new favorite in TenTen Ramen at 137 Prince George Street.
Elsewhere on the restaurant scene, the 50-seat social enterprise restaurant, Light House Bistro, opened at 202 West Street in Annapolis’s Arts and Entertainment District in February. Owned and operated by the Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center, the restaurant and coffee bar is on a mission to provide living wage employment for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.
West Annapolis has undergone a culinary explosion with the opening of the health-conscious, sustainability-focused Evelyn’s at 26 Annapolis Street in March and the arrival of Frederik De Pue’s Belgian-inspired Flamant restaurant at 17 Annapolis Street in June.
Then There’s Shopping
Retail happenings include ongoing construction at 110 Compromise Street, the former home of Fawcett Boat Supplies. If all goes as planned, residents and vacationers will have new shopping and dining options at the City Dock location by year’s end. The Boston Whaler boat dealership, Chesapeake Whalertowne, and North Sails Apparel have leased space at the site. It’s anticipated the third and final tenant will be a restaurant that offers dockside and rooftop dining.
Local by Design has opened at 109 Main Street in Annapolis. The shop is home to the creations of more than 60 handpicked local artisans. Nearby Maryland Avenue boasts a host of new shopping options.
Old Fox Books and Coffeehouse has opened at 35 Maryland Avenue. The Annapolis Bookstore has moved into shared space with the Yarn Basket at 53 Maryland Avenue. Evergreen Antiques is now Evergreen Antiques and True Vintage, reflecting the fact that vintage clothing is now a part of the 69 Maryland Avenue shop’s inventory.
The “treasured finds” theme continues at the recently opened Barefoot Dwelling vintage shop and design studio at 65 Maryland Avenue. A Touch of Fancy at 31 Maryland Avenue offers a blend of old and new, upcycled, repurposed and handmade furniture and gifts.
Sightseeing and Getting Around
Several new tours and services make it easier than ever to explore Annapolis. In April, the U.S. Naval Academy began offering a narrated riding tour. Ideal for individuals with mobility issues, the new GEM of a Tour utilizes a five-passenger electric GEM car to escort tour participants around the Yard. In August, Annapolis Urban EvenTours launched an Annapolis by Night tour that offers “history with mystery.” In July, the City of Annapolis reinstituted free City Circulator transportation in the downtown shopping district.
This is but a sampling of all that’s new in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County invites vacationers, business travelers and locals to “Create Your Moment” by reconnecting with their favorite Annapolis and Anne Arundel County traditions and treating themselves to the many new experiences that await them in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
Susan Seifried is vice president, communications, for Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (www.VisitAnnapolis.org), in Annapolis. She can be reached at 410-280-0445, ext. 303, or at [email protected].