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Archive for May, 2013

Annapolis MD

I’m home. Annapolis is where I moved when my kids were little and I was still married. After getting divorced a few years later, I raised my kids here alone and got sober here and lived here for 20 years. I may have grown up in Nebraska, but I lived here longer than any place else.

It’s hard to find a more beautiful town than Annapolis, especially in the spring with everything in bloom. George Washington really slept here (funny how I keep ending up where he hung out – he chopped down a cherry tree in Fredericksburg) and it was the US capitol for a short time.

Here’s a picture of Middleton tavern across from the city dock. Geo.Washington hung out here, too. It was established in 1750. I hung out here in the 70’s a lot. Very popular place especially the outdoor dining in the spring. We ate there after my son’s wedding a little over a year ago. Wonderful food but pricey.

Middleton Tavern

Middleton Tavern

Ego Alley - City Dock

Ego Alley – City Dock

City Dock – or Ego Alley as we used to jokingly call it and now it seems to be what it’s called on the maps – is where people pull their boats in to show off and dock their boat to come downtown for the restaurants and bars. We used to sit on the walls and laugh at the smart alecks trying to turn around in such a tiny area. It’s a small area going right up into the main drag. Sailing is a pretty big deal here, and they have a huge boat show every year at the city dock. Most locals try to leave town then or rent out their houses for outrageous sums.

State House Plaque

State House Plaque

Annapolis State House

Annapolis State House

The State House is the oldest one in continuous use in the country. The Governor’s Mansion is next door and across the street is St. Johns College established in 1696. The other college a couple blocks away is the Naval Academy. Midshipmen and women – Mids – are all over the place in their dress whites looking so crisp. Johnnie’s – St. Johns Students – are also everywhere. If you live here you can recognize the Johnnie’s. They are nerdy creatives if that’s a style. They have a look that is unmistakable and hard to describe. Every year the have a croquet match between the two schools.

Mids waiting for the bus

Mids waiting for the bus

There are three unique shopping areas; Main Street is only 2 blocks long going from Church Circle down to the City Dock, Maryland Avenue, which stretches 2 blocks from the Academy to St. Johns, and West Annapolis. This was my choice for boondocking my first night here.

If you have anything larger than a minivan, you do not want to drive downtown on the narrow colonial streets. I barely squeaked through with my conversion van. You won’t be able to park anyway. I am parked at the Naval Academy Stadium where they play the Army-Navy game.

The only drawback is they don’t like you to sleep in the lot, so I slept overnight on the street in front of the little West Annapolis shops before I went over to my housesitting job. It’s just a couple blocks from the stadium so it’s convenient, and I didn’t have to worry about homeowners being around.

You can park at the stadium for $5 a day and take the trolley to downtown, which is just a short distance, for $2 round trip, and they come around every 20 minutes. If you can’t walk much you can take the trolley around downtown for free but it’s very walkable and all within a few blocks.

There’s a little bookstore and cafe near where I am staying and I stopped by this evening and chatted with the owners a bit. Two very nice ladies. I was going to try to get something to eat but the little places I went seemed to close at 6. I walked on downtown but the places that were open were all the pricey restaurants, so I finally found a little place on Prince George Street called The Moorings and got a toasted sandwich of fresh tomatoes and brie on sourdough bread. Delicious. I also have now had a Brie and Granny Smith Apple on a Baguette at the Bookstore since then.

Day 2 in Annapolis I went to lunch at the Potato Valley shop on State Circle that I was trying to get to yesterday. OMG wonderful little place. All kinds of baked potatoes with every filling you can imagine under the sun…artichokes, spinach, cheesesteak, everything.  Had a very nice chat with the owner, Barb, and she was great. They have actually been there for 18 years and do a very brisk business right across the street from the Statehouse.

Garlic Butter Potato

Garlic Butter Potato

Potato Valley

Potato Valley

Potato Valley

I got the least expensive which was Garlic Butter with greens and roasted onions…$4.65. It was a whole meal…huge potato with a salad of lettuce, red pepper strips, cucumber, sliced apple, and the roasted onions are kind of like crunchy onion rings. So good.

Then when I was at the counter chatting with her after I paid for the potato, I decided I also wanted a brownie and she wouldn’t let me pay for it. Then when I was almost done with my potato, she gave me a free sample of some corn salsa and beans and avocado and cottage cheese to try on mine. Oh YUM. What a deal…what a sweetheart.

Love this place and must go back while I’m here. I don’t think I was even looking homeless today. Little outdoor tables…so sweet. I stayed awhile till the lunch crowd was gone when I took this picture. It’s only open for lunch though so go early…closes at 4 or 5.

Annapolis Bookstore & Cafe

Annapolis Bookstore & Cafe

Heading to the coffee shop bookstore tomorrow morning to chat with those nice ladies again. Very friendly people here. The tourists can get tiring but they are the lifeblood of Annapolis and the shop owners know that, but still…very nice people here.

Day 3 – Had coffee and chocolate croissant at the bookstore…picked up a cheap used book to read there. Very nice. Book hoarders heaven… stacks on the floor, all around.

My son Allen called to take me for a belated Mother’s Day lunch, so I introduced him to Potato Valley. I had the artichoke, cottage cheese and some chilies and cheddar. Very good. Allen had the ham and cheddar.

Then we spent the day looking at furniture and homes which is one of our favorite things. His wife Shawnt’a joined us later and we had a grand time. Rained a bit on us but we got over it.

Day 4 – Spending the day at home since I was gone so much yesterday. Elvis and I went for a walk over by the Naval Academy today, met another dog to walk with for awhile, stopped at the bookstore for another chocolate croissant. He got lots of love from everyone there. This is a very dog friendly town. People take their dogs to all the restaurants that have outdoor seating. Stores have water bowls outside for the walkers.

Day 5 – Not much going on today. Cleaning up and packing up to head on to St. Michaels. I will miss being here but can’t wait to see my girls. That’s it for Annapolis. I know it was a long post but there’s so much here. Here’s a bunch more miscellaneous pictures if you are interested. I’m sure all you former Annapolitans will chime in with whatever I missed.

Governor's Mansion Gardens

Governor’s Mansion Gardens

Prince Geo. St.

Prince Geo. St.

Annapolis Townhouse

Annapolis Townhouse

Maryland Inn

Maryland Inn

Down Main Street to the water

Down Main Street to the water

Annapolis Main St.

Annapolis Main St.

St Johns SignSt Johns Sign

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I’m back on Virginia soil and happy to be back home safe. My daughter Jena had a pet sitting opportunity for me in Annapolis, MD, my old stompin’ grounds, for next week and it seemed like a good time to just head home. I have some catching up to do on blogs about places I’ve been, but when I was in Fernandina Beach FL which is a lovely place, it rained for 4 days and I got stranded in a Walmart parking lot. I’m just fed up with this van not starting when it rains, and I still don’t have an answer to the moaning problem even after 5 mechanics checked it (Nancy thinks I need an exorcism).

While I was stranded I ran out of power after 2 days in the starting engine because I was heating water and cooking in my lunchbox and charging my phone etc. I do have a jump starter that I was using after that, but that was running dry too and I was afraid to not have enough power to keep my phone charged, and be able to jump the van once the sun came out. Fortunately a nice clerk at the Walmart let me plug it in by the soda machines out front. Another couple came by while I was sitting there and offered to jump start me if it didn’t work, so that was a double blessing.

Earlier on Sunday, the day the sun finally came out, Minivan Joy, who some of you know from the Women Go Solo and VanDwellers forums on Yahoo, came to visit me and try to help. She was on her way to Pennsylvania to visit her kids for Mother’s Day and we went to McD’s and I had some warm food for the first time in 2 days. Boy was I grateful. I just love meeting other van dwellers and I appreciated so much that she drove over to meet me and try to help. We tried to start the car with her jumpnstarter but it didn’t have enough juice either so we just visited a bit more and she went on north. Unfortunately her transmission went out in SC and she had to junk her van and rent a car to get on her way north. Between that and the pet sitting opportunity, I just decided enough was enough. I didn’t want the stress anynmore of worrying about a breakdown and honestly I had just seen all I needed to see for this trip.

I drove straight through from Fernandina and here I am at my dear friend Nancy’s again. Her 15 year old cat just died a couple days ago who she was so attached to, and she is beside herself, so she’s glad to have someone to hug and lean on. Her mama was out of town so I wasn’t too much in the way in her little house. Hopefully I’ve been some help to her. Tomorrow we head to Annapolis for Mother’s Day where we met and became friends and raised our passle of kids.

Monday I head over to the Charlottesville area to meet another vandweller named Gypsy Jane for lunch and then I’m off to my dear friend Juanita’s for a day or 2 of spoiling – she’s already figuring out what goodies she can make to fatten me up. After all I’ve lost a whole 15 lbs on this trip so I’m wasting away…haha, I wish!

I’ll try to get caught up on all the travel stuff while I’m in Annapolis. Too many fun times and chatting with friends to spend a lot of time editing and sorting pictures. Talk to you later.

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