Celebrate Spring In Annapolis

Posted by admin on April 2, 2014

After one of the harshest winters in memory, Annapolis is going all out to celebrate Spring which sails in with the Vernal Equinox-two of my favorite words in the English language-on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. We need not delve into the scientific whys and wherefores. Suffice it to say: the length of days and nights is approximately the same at this time of year, with the number of daylight hours increasing as we approach the Summer Solstice on June 21.

Here are some signs that spring has arrived in Annapolis, and some tips on how to enjoy it:

Oyster Roast and Sock Burning

Oyster Roast and Sock Burning
One of the best known harbingers of spring is the 4th Annual Oyster Fest & Sock Burning, March 22 from noon to 4 P.M. at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, 723 Second St. General Admission is $25. A cruise on a skipjack at 12:15 or 2 P.M. will set you back $20. For $50 you can sample oyster dishes from several local restaurants and vote for your favorite. Y'all come. And don't forget an old pair of socks to keep the fire going.

Schooner Woodwind

Schooner Woodwind
The ice on the Bay is gone. I say, without equivocation, good riddance! Now we can focus on boating. The Watermark Cruise fleet is all spruced up and ready for passengers, beginning March 22. A super way to view the Naval Academy and Severn River is onboard the Harbor Queen for a 40-minute cruise with a running narrative. Admission is $15 for adults, $6 for kids 3-11. Or board the diminutive Miss Anne, which travels up Spa Creek (same price). Purchase beverages and snacks onboard both vessels. Hoist the main, trim the sails, and swap yarns with the captain and crew on the classic Woodwind I and II, two magnificent schooners that take turns departing on two-hour cruises from the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, beginning April 19. Adults, $39; Seniors, $37; kids, $27. Sunset and weekend cruises are a few dollars more. Heck, you can't take it with you.

Seafood dishes are appearing with greater regularity on local menus. Blue crab (callinectes sapidus) is a big deal in these parts. If you're new to the area, you must give this local delicacy a try. At O'Leary's, 310 Third St., try the shucked Virginia oysters, Lobster Bisque, and Maryland Crab Cakes. At Café Normandie, 185 Main St., tip your hat (and spoon) to the Maryland vegetable crab or cream of crab, or tomato bisque with crabmeat. The softshell crabs are superb, as an appetizer or dinner. For crackin' crabs (and local atmosphere) you can't beat Cantler's Riverside Inn on Mill Creek, 458 Forest Beach Rd. If it's mild, opt for a table on the deck, raising the bar on "picturesque." I think it's worth paying top dollar (and you will) for the Extra Large or Supers, when they're available. More meat, less work. Words to live by!

Summer Garden Theatre

Summer Garden Theatre
The Summer Garden Theatre, at 143 Compromise Street, kicks off its 48th season with "42nd Street," the toe-tapping, Tony-award-winning musical, guaranteed to put a spring in your step. The show runs from May 20 to June 21. Two more productions follow, with performances through August. All seats are $20. (Can you beat that?) Tickets go on sale April 1.

A young man's fancy may turn to thoughts of love in Spring, but the rest of us, we think, ICE CREAM. The downtown historic district boasts several places with exceptional ice cream. Try these then let us know your favorite. Annapolis Ice Cream Company, 196 Main St., has been pleasing customers and racking up awards for a decade. The ice cream (17% butterfat) is made onsite most days. Yum. Try the peanut butter Oreo. Kilwins offers a variety of delicious ice cream concoctions (waffle cone or sundae, anyone?) and is also the go-to place for candies and chocolates made in the store. The candy apples, hand-dipped pretzels and fruits and fudge are worth leaving home for. If you're dieting, the fresh-squeezed lemon- and limeades are just what the doctor ordered. Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, 130 Dock Street, is my old standby. I've been licking their mocha chip ice cream for more than 20 years. Some days when I need a break, I sneak away from my office, slip into a 30-minute parking space, and enjoy a cone from the red metal bench out front. Listening to the ducks and feeling the sun on my face, ah, life doesn't get much better.

AUTHOR: Beth Rubin

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