24 Hours in Annapolis

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that last week I visited my boyfriend at his new home in Maryland. As always with long distance relationships, the week together wasn’t nearly as long as we would have liked, but we had so much fun! During my vacation, I had the opportunity to explore Baltimore, DC, Frederick, and a spontaneous Memorial Day trip to Annapolis.

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Ry & I capitalizing on the gorgeous scenery

Annapolis, Maryland is an adorable historic, seaside town on Chesapeake Bay, and happens to be the capital of Maryland. Being the capital, I was leery about it being crazy tourist-y, but that wasn’t the case at all. We had a bit of a late start, so we didn’t get to see nearly as much as we wanted to, but we enjoyed our short time so much, that we are already planning a return trip in the future. Needless to say, it turned out to be our favorite part of the trip!

Continue reading for some of our suggestions of places to see when you visit:

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William Paca House from the garden

William Paca House & Gardens // Take a peek inside the what it was like to be a member of high society in the 1700s by touring this grand home! What’s significant about William Paca? One of the four signers of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland, Paca was a wealthy member of Annapolis society from his birth in 1740 until his death in 1799. He also served as governor of Maryland from 1782-1785. This house was one of the first Georgian-style houses in Annapolis, and had quite the history before being restored to its original state in the 1950s. 

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Maryland State House
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The exact spot where George Washington resigned

Maryland State House // Did you know that the US capital wasn’t always Washington, DC? The Maryland State House served as the capital from November 1783- August 1784. Though the reign was short-lived, the building has housed various historical events, and remains the oldest state house that is still in legislative use. You can also see the exact room where George Washington resigned from politics here. 

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Our lunch spot on the trip: Middleton Tavern

Eat seafood // If your lunch or dinner plans include beer and excellent seafood, then look no further than Middleton Tavern. Established in 1750, the tavern has played host to several renowned historical figures; you can check out their website for the full history of the establishment. One of my sorority sisters also recommended checking out the Chart House on our return trip. 

Sail Chesapeake Bay // Learn how to sail or rent out a sailing charter to fully take in the beauty of Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to actually partake in this activity, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!

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View of Memorial Circle from the top floor of the history museum

Shop ‘Til You Drop // There is some great shopping in Annapolis near Memorial Circle. Some of my favorites include Sperry and The Pink Clam. Also be sure to check out the local shops; you never know what treasures you’ll find!

Visit the Naval Academy // We did not have the time during our day trip to tour the Naval Academy because of our late start, but the campus looks spectacular!

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Sailboats on Chesapeake Bay

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For… // ICE CREAM! There are countless options around Annapolis to satisfy your sweet tooth. If ice cream isn’t your thing, check out the local froyo and fudge shops, as well.

Have you been to Annapolis or surrounding areas, before? Let me know what your favorite activities are in the comments below!

– K.

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Note: The historical information included in this post was attained from tours, brochures, and plaques located at the historical site by the Maryland Historical Society and Historic Annapolis. 

20 Travel Tips: Italy Edition

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was on the trip of a lifetime in Italy! Following the trip last year, I did a recap post featuring photos and brief overview so as not to bore you all with the details. HOWEVER, if you so wish to hear more about the trip, feel free to comment or email, and I will be happy to share! 

In honor of this anniversary, and to spark my own nostalgia, I decided to put together a list of helpful travel tips for first-time travelers to Europe. I’m absolutely by no means an expert on the topic, this is simply what I learned on my first trip abroad. Prior to my trip I did a TON of research on things to know before traveling abroad, so I highly recommend you do as well.

  • Europe is full of history and each city has so much to experience, so don’t stress if you can’t visit absolutely everything you want to see. This is something I had a hard time accepting during my time in Italy especially being the type-A, history nerd that I am. The whole point of going on vacation is to relax (and see the world obviously), but you can’t enjoy yourself if you’re constantly stressing over where you’re going to go next.
  • Piggybacking off of the previous tip, don’t feel like you have to plan everything out, especially meals. At the beginning of each day, Ry and I would pick out the main attractions we wanted to see, and wander around the areas. You never know what you’ll find by simply exploring! We found some of our favorite restaurants on the trip by doing this.
  • Be sure to validate your train tickets prior to boarding. Our primary means of travel from city to city was by train. The vast majority of the time, we bought our tickets at the station; I’d read a few articles prior that stated Tren Italia’s website isn’t always reliable so it’s best to purchase directly at the station.
  • Carry a small, cross-body purse and keep it in front of you — Pick-pocketing is huge in the cities and they know a tourist when they see one.
  • If you’re looking for a quick, early meal, think again! Dinner in Italy generally takes place after 7 pm and is more relaxed than meals in the US.
  • Many churches and other religious sites require ladies to have their legs and shoulders covered when you enter.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to drink for free at the various water fountains sprinkled throughout Rome.
  •  Walk as much as you can and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Watch out for scams such as people putting jewelry on your wrist, helping take your luggage off the train, asking you to sign petitions, etc.
  • Drink the house wine — it’s often cheaper, but still delicious!
  • Learn the language. You don’t have to be fluent (the locals don’t expect you to), but pick up a few general phrases that will help you out along the way. I used the free Duolingo app before I went, and it helped immensely.
  • When in Rome, visit the Trevi Fountain later in the day or at night, it’ll be way less crowded.
  • Don’t eat near a major landmark — the closer you are, the higher the prices.
  • Cappuccinos are a morning only drink in Italy.
  • Instead of a gondola ride, opt to climb to the top of San Marco’s Campanile in Venice for some incredible views.
  • Casa di Giulietta is what Verona is most famous for, but did you know that they have an Arena similar to the Colosseum where concerts and plays still take place? We had an amazing lunch at a cafe near the Arena and it was a stellar experience.
  • Don’t miss out on the opportunity to climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence. If you’re asthmatic (like myself) be sure to bring you’re inhaler – that’s 463 steps!
  • It is incredibly easy to get lost in Italy. Download a map (or carry a paper one) so you don’t have to rely on WiFi.
  • The pizza, pasta, wine and gelato are most definitely as good as everyone says they are. Definitely go all in on the food when you’re there; you’ll walk it all off during your visit!
  • Italy is truly a magical place to visit. Make sure you aren’t spending too much time behind the phone/camera, and take it all in!

If you have any questions or need recommendations, leave a comment or feel free to email me! Where are you headed next?

-K