The baby blue sky and luscious trees that line the sidewalks of West Street are no match for the patriotic porch and colorful gardens of Annapolitan Bed & Breakfast. The front entrance coupled with the bountiful gardens on both sides and in the back certainly outbid Mother Nature’s landscaping. The wide porch steps are painted red and blue to complement the bright white of the house. Stone foxes, bird houses, and water fountains bring more life and interest to the gardens. An American flag wavers in the wind over the white and blue porch. The kind face of John Holt, co-owner of Annapolitan, smiled at me on the porch and welcomed me in that day I visited. The open doors showed an expanse of sparkling chandeliers, flowery designs, rich materials, and antique furniture and collectibles. Nearly all the square footage housed something visually interesting. In one corner, it was a large lion statue with gold glass. In another corner, it was a silver antique tin. And in yet another corner, a set of sapphire blue vases. It was eclectic and wonderful. Holt offered me coffee and tea, but I couldn’t hear. I was in dreamland.
Holt and I sat at a wicker table on the porch to talk about the bed and breakfast. I wanted to know about the pleasant-looking house I drove by quite often; I wanted to know about its interiors, the owners, and the benefits of staying with Holt and his wife Joetta, the innkeepers. Most of all, I wanted to know the history. And truthfully, the history of the Annapolitan Bed & Breakfast is as extensive as the beauty of its rooms and outdoor space.
“It’s a woman-owned business,” Holt starts, with a laugh coming from beneath his thick mustache, “I just help her out a lot.” The love and dedication to his wife reverberated through his words, and on that same high, he moved to talking about the B&B’s history. Holt shared that the Annapolitan’s original function was that of a farmer’s house. True to form, the first inhabitants cultivated soybeans, tobacco, and all sorts of vegetables to sell at Market House. The farm was over 400 acres and extended to what’s now known as Forest Drive, Spa Road, and Chinquapin Road. At that time, the only neighbor lived across the street on a horse farm that stretched all the way to the Naval Academy. The road the Annapolitan sits on is appropriately named Cherry Grove, as there were lines of cherry trees once there.
Since the establishment of the property in 1870, the lovely building has changed many hands for many purposes. Once Annapolis developed as a city, the property became the first bed and breakfast in town. The owners of the property dubbed their great buy “The Annapolitan,” a name the Holts smartly chose to retain. Still, it would take some years before John and Joetta would come into contact with the house. After the initial start of Annapolitan Bed & Breakfast, it became a rooming house, or a place for workers who traveled from the Eastern Shore to stay during the week to nix the high ferry costs. Then, the Annapolitan was transformed into an apartment building with four units. It changed into a nursing home, a single family home, and a head trauma center before John and Joetta bought it. Even with the Holts, the Annapolitan as it stands today would not be realized before John and Joetta regarded the property as their residence and contemplated turning it into an assisted living home. Finally, after seven different functions, the Holts restored the property to a B&B.
As a side note, Holt shared the Annapolitan was very much in need of tender love and care when he and Joetta took over. The grass was thigh high and the structure was struggling. I recall looking at the crisp white siding and immaculately manicured yard when Holt relayed that information, not able to imagine the house as anything less than perfect. Thankfully, John’s background was in construction, so he managed to restore the property with help. Joetta, too, was a business woman but sold her company to create the dream of owning a bed and breakfast with her husband. The Holts are another testament to the greatness of this city–it attracts those who are dedicated not only to bettering their lives, but improving the allure of Annapolis.
The history of any given place is valuable, but is defined by what occurs in the present. The Annapolitan Bed & Breakfast is no exception. By very definition, the bed and breakfast specializes in two aspects. The eight bedrooms at Annapolitan are decorated in the same careful, classy manner as is the rest of the house. Though the Annapolitan is mandated to use only five rooms, John and Joetta maintain all the rooms and even dubbed one pet-friendly. The “Spinnaker” room offers guests a king-sized bed; “Sea Breeze” holds a double; “Sunset” features a queen bed; “Starboard Sanctity” has a king bed; “Port Pleasures” has two double beds; “Quiet Waters” features a king-sized bed; “Beacon” also has a king-sized bed; and the “Helm” room offers a queen-sized bed. All guest rooms feature a private bath. The Annapolitan also offers several packages that rotate around the year. Call the number provided below for pricing and more on the package deals.
The Annapolitan takes the adage “Eat your Wheaties for strength” very seriously, minus the cardboard-like cereal. “We offer a full, hot, four-course breakfast to guests,” Holt says proudly, probably getting hungry himself. As an example, Holt shared what that morning’s breakfast consisted of: fresh juice, balled fruit with yogurt and granola, Belgium waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, an omelet, and a special-grind sausage. If there’s a millimeter of space left in the stomachs of guests, the Annapolitan keeps hot coffee and tea on hand throughout the day. Guests can dine on the porch, in the parlor, or in the dining room from 7:15 to 10 a.m. The porch is especially enticing, as guests can sip coffee while watching the fast-paced world race by them. In fact, there’s something to be said about the contrast of fast and slow at Annapolitan. Minutes away from downtown, the bed and breakfast prides itself on being just close enough to the action, but far enough away to enjoy quiet. It’s almost as if stepping on the property transports guests to an easier, more laidback time. “We find that guests enjoy the solitude of our bed and breakfast–you know, we have the gardens and the grass–that downtown B&Bs just don’t have,” Holt says. He also says guests come back simply for the breakfast.
Though the Holts see many guests either associated with the Navy or staying in Annapolis for Navy games, it’s easy for anyone to book with the B&B. In fact, visitors can enjoy the same kind of hospitality and beauty at Academy Bed & Breakfast, the Holts’ son’s establishment. This B&B is located at Prince George Street. See the packages offered at http://www.annapolis.com/prince-george-street-guide-deals-specials/ or http://academybedandbreakfast.com/. Academy B&B also houses one pet-friendly room. If you’d like to learn more about Annapolitan Bed & Breakfast, call 410-990-1234 or visit http://www.theannapolitan.com/.
Another area Annapolitan B&B beats most: they have on-site parking. Guests can park on their property or on Cherry Grove Street. Additional benefits to staying there? “There’s nothing to bring except yourself,” Holt says. “People can bring toothbrushes, but we even provide those,” he adds. Even if the Annapolitan runs out of band-aids or some other necessities, the staff or maybe even Holt himself, can acquire said items. Lastly, John and Joetta certainly can offer food and drink recommendations, but don’t tell guests what to do while staying there. It’s your vacation, and John and Joetta only want to provide a comfy room and a delicious breakfast to get you started. So, let them provide for you! It’s called the hospitality business for a reason.