May is an important month for Annapolis Maryland and its visitors and residents. The main event in the Capital of Maryland is the graduation of midshipmen from Annapolis Naval Academy. Midshipmen, as the Academy’s students are called, participate in a variety of traditions and functions during the USNA Commissioning Week or USNA “June Week.” This week-long celebration offers many public and private events for the graduating midshipmen, the ridding of the term “Plebe” from the 4th class, the celebration of the 2nd class becoming seniors with a traditional and romantic dance, and the back-to-back weddings scheduled in the beautiful and historic chapel on the Academy grounds. The newly commissioned naval officers and their brides walk through the crossed swords of their friends as they exit the Chapel; truly spectacular! There are chorale and musical performances, the climbing of the Herndon monument, the Blue Angel flying demonstration, and the graduation itself. The USNA throughout history and continues today to have a very influential presence in Annapolis MD. As such, many of the events during the month of May tend to cater towards the newly commissioned officers and their families. Regardless, there are still many non-related things to do in Annapolis in May.
Downtown Annapolis holds the heart and soul of this city’s history. Many of the historical sites of Annapolis are located in this area and date back to the 17th, 18th or 19th century. One major site is the Maryland State House, which is still in legislative use today. It is the oldest continuously operating legislative building of its kind in the United States. There are also many tours around historical homes in the area including William Paca House, which boasts expansive gardens.
Definitely come the for the Blue Angels demonstration. You can even buy a ticket on the “Miss Anne” to take you out to watch the aeronautical acrobats and fighters from the water.
Another major draw for visitors to Annapolis is its waterfront. The City of Annapolis has the official title of being the sailing capital in the US, but boating in general is wildly popular and ever-present. Naturally, a visit to the waterfront would not be complete without taking a ride on one of the many boat tours available. Go for an evening sail or a harbor tour. Also, the waterfront boasts a thriving boat business for fishing and recreational purposes. You can even take water-taxis around the harbor, from your boat to the town and back, as well as across the harbor from downtown Annapolis to Eastport to experience the other Annapolis restaurants and shops located there. This is a child-favorite and can be done even if you don’t have a real destination in mind. Sometimes the ride is all you want so just tell your Captain your goals and he’ll make sure to satisfy them.
One cannot visit Annapolis, or the Chesapeake area in general, without experiencing some of the wonderul seafood and other exquisite restaurant options. If you haven’t tasted a Maryland blue crab, then do so in May! From picking your own in an all you can eat place like Cantler’s or ordering a jumbo lump crabcake, you can’t lose either way. A great place for both is Cantler’s Riverside Inn. Be sure to arrive early, as getting a table can be difficult.
Annapolis has unbelievable shopping options available. From the large Westfield Annapolis Mall with over 240 stores and restaurants to the more intimate experiences with local boutiques and shops available in historic downtown center and Eastport, you can find EXACTLY what you want. For a unique souvenir, be sure to visit the Annapolis Pottery shop right near the Maryland State House for beautiful handmade and customized pottery.
There are quite a few hotels within the Annapolis area. Some are charming B&B establishments such as the Historic Inns of Annapolis, which consist of three historic properties that are steeped in history but also boast modern amenities. There is also large hotels such as the the Loews Annapolis Hotel, the Westin Annapolis Hotel and the Marriott Waterfront Annapolis Hotel, which is the only hotel located on the Annapolis Waterfront.
Besides events that cater to Naval Academy’s students and families there is also a plethora of other activities around the city to choose from. For example, there is the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre that puts on productions all summer, beginning in Late May. The first production shown for the 2011 season will be Chicago: The Musical. Also, the building that houses the theatre is a historical landmark so make sure you read the history. Archeological research shows that documentation for property rights date as far back as 1696. The theatre is located in the heart of Downtown Annapolis.
You can’t beat the Annapolis weather in May. Come on the 1st and you will be treated to a large number of May Baskets hanging from the doors and entry ways to the businesses along Main Street and around the City Dock area in Downtown Annapolis. You can walk along the streets of town and through the residential neighborhoods to see these gorgeous harbingers of Spring.
Kayaking is always a favorite so head to Eastport and check-out Spring River to rent a boat. You can hire passage on sailboats and motorboats alike so peruse your options at the Watermark station located at the end of the City Dock area. The Schooner Woodwind is usually anchored at the Annapolis Marriott. Try their concierge to see how to book the boat for a few hours or overnight.
May is gorgeous in Annapolis. Stay for the day or make it a weekend. You will enjoy all the Town has to offer.