(1/29/2012) A restless night gave way to an early morning. I’ve momentarily lost track of Monsieur and had to retrace my steps. A crisp January air coupled with a low paced Sunday gave way to a thought. Go find my man at the U.S. Naval Academy. The 27 mile trip from Baltimore had my wheels churning. Give up the chase for Monsieur, grab a new guy and live in happy world.
Once again I paid my toll (maybe I should invest in a toll pass) and headed towards Annapolis. Once I crossed the small bridge, I felt transported in time. Beautiful brick buildings of St. John College were a welcome sight so early in the morning. After a few turns I found myself at the academy’s Gate 1 but had to park on the street. That was fun! I wish I could do a ‘Jetsons’ number (the cartoon) and my car would fold itself up and I could carry it like a briefcase. After passing through a security check point, the beauty of the campus opened up. Everything was so orderly and neat that I felt I should salute the shrubbery. The housing for several of the officers and superintendents were very spacious. The Chapel stood as a central figure in the landscape. The anchors that are displayed on pillars either side of the outer stairs are labeled as “old-fashioned” and made for the 1st armored cruiser ‘New York.’ They weigh 10,500 lbs. so I guess I won’t be dragging any of those around anytime soon. I was in hopes of capturing one or two of the Navy blue dressed hunks as they made their way out of church but the river was dry. Another plan would be devised.
While I pondered, I had a bite to eat at Sugar Buns in the Kitchen, 137 Prince George St. The treat is light like a crescent roll with pecans. The cream cheese frosting gives it the winning flavor. Curiosity of the town got the best of me so I followed the trail towards the shopping district. Reconstruction of part of the area was in progress but it did not deter those who wanted to shop or sit out and enjoy the brief warm weather in January. A shop at the crown of a side street became the love of my tea lovers heart. Capitol Tea is a family tradition that spans five generations. The great, great-grandfather of Manelle, over saw a plantation in the Demula Region of Srilanka, 120 years ago. With her husband, Peter, the Martinos have a wonderful shop that bathes you in sunshine and space. Choices of flavorful loose teas abound as well as accessories like tea sets, single serve cups and my latest buy, a double walled, glass tea tumbler. I love the fact that I can prepare my brew, remove the strainer and carry it all in one step. Pots of tea samples simmer and await your sampling. The best part of the visit was the manager, Joyce Hopkins. Her knowledge and assistance makes the stop worthwhile. After a light conversation, I had to give her a hug for making my morning a great start.
I made my way through the doors of re:Source a unique find with beautiful and interesting items at 162 Main St. Their motto is earth friendly, recycled, re-purpose, sustainable or fair trade. In addition, 90% of what is sold is handmade, American crafts of which 20% is from local artists. They also support co-ops for women in Kenya, South Africa and Honduras. The crafts provide money so that the women are able to care for their families, send their children to school and often escape persecution. Another example is bracelets made from recycled material from South Africa through a program called Do-Ubuntu. 100% of the profits from these bracelets go to supporting an orphanage where all of the children are affected by AIDS. All of these programs offer a way for worker’s to provide much-needed income without the use of sweat shops or child labor with paid wages that takes them out of poverty. Do-Ubuntu, Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
Although there was a chill in the air it didn’t stop shoppers, visitors or the locals. To warm my innards, a banner in a store front window boasted that they have the best hot chocolate. Annapolis Ice Cream Company, 196 Main Street is a simple shop with a penguin mascot. A friendly clerk greeted me as I challenged the message I had just read. “It’s true, just ask them,” as he pointed to a couple sitting at a table. The woman nodded her head in affirmation. I told him that I drove from New Mexico to Annapolis just to try it out. He chuckled and said he doubted the truth to my tale and proceeded to whip up the chocolate concoction. To my surprise, he was right. Hot chocolate and ice cream that’s 100% made on the premises, is not their only claim to fame. The unusual, quirky, ‘spoon art’ showcases numerous customers vast creativity. As of this year the spoon count will reach, 30,000 in the display collection. During the spring and summer they receive 1000 spoons a week for the art board. (Yes, I created a spoon for display)
I made my way across the street to peek into more windows and take more photos. As I rounded the corner, I caught sight of an item in a store window and went inside. The Museum Store carries various items including those related to my favorite topic, lighthouses. The friendly faces behind the counter, Patti Atwell and Shirley Young, could charm the fur off a cat. No pretense with these two. Their kindness made my visit feel like old friends gathering after time spent apart. I picked up my shopping bags and headed to my car to drop them off. A black and white awning tapped my curiosity and through the doors I went like Alice in Wonderland. The Annapolis Bookstore, 35 Maryland Ave., is a mixture of Murder She Wrote and Sherlock Holmes. There were books, books and more books everywhere; corners, tables even on shelves over my head. The store carries used books and the childrens section consits of a mixture of new and used. Here are a few of my favorite things; the knick-knacks and buried treasures between books or on top of them. You’ll find tea cups and saucers, an Underwood typewriter and a glass case with trinkets to purchase. A small chest contains old postal love letters from her father to her mother, written during WWII prior to their marriage. Classic oversize chairs, oak tables, a garden that opens in the spring and a beautiful black spiral staircase that leads downstairs to more riches. For the love a good book or a place to hide out for an hour or two with a cup of coffee or light snack from the cafe, this is the place to be.
The day was winding down or maybe it was me. As I headed back to my car for the last time, The Big Cheese, 47 Randall Street would be the last of my day’s discoveries. I ordered a #10 ‘Skinny Turkey’ sandwich and waited for my order. Judy, one of the managers, has a passion for a clean store and right angle shelving. Her smile is bright and draws you in through its own energy. This healthy sandwich was a delicious delight and a perfect way to end a day of discovery and wonderment in Annapolis.