“ArchiTrex,” is a brand spanking new tour from Annapolis Tours℠ by Watermark® and Historic Annapolis and it is a must-do for anyone that is fascinated or curious about the history and architecture of Annapolis.
The tour runs at 10am on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month through September (for now) and is a guided 2-hour tour that begins at the Harbormaster’s Office on Dock Street.
Last week, I had the opportunity to take the tour and kick the tires, so to speak; so here’s the skinny.
First off, it is NOT guided by someone that put in an application for a tour guide–the two guides, Leslie Xavier and Craig Martin are both architects with a vast pool of knowledge. We tossed a number of questions out to them and they kept batting them out of the ball park and for this 20-year resident of Annapolis, I learned a lot…one more notable fact was that the Paca Gardens are a modern incarnation of times gone by and dating only back to the 1960s.
Our tour was marked as a two-hour tour but I can see this running to three or more hours depending on the number of people and the questions asked. Unfortunately, when discussing specific buildings, it is not easy to answer questions and clarify things while walking to the next stop. So, if you grab one of the first tours–it might be better to plan for a little more time as they figure out the timing.
You will definitely not be bored. From the Harbormaster’s Building we hiked all over town and visited the following:
- Sands House
- Shiplap House
- Patrick Creagh House
- William Paca House
- Naval Academy Chapel/Grounds (in passing)
- James Brice House
- Chase-Lloyd House
- Hammond-Harwood House
- Commodore Waddell House
- Alexander Randall House
- The State House (in passing)
- Government House (in passing)
- John Shaw House
- Franklin Law Offices
- Zimmerman-Wilson House
Two stops that were listed on the tour were skipped for time– the old Post Office on Church Circle and St. Anne’s Church.
As I mentioned, it is a walking tour and according to my Fitbit, it was about 7,500 steps or just shy of 4 miles. Wear comfortable shoes and remember, we are walking in a centuries old city with uneven sidewalks. At this point, if you have any mobility issues, I would call ahead to see how Annapolis Tours could accommodate you.
They did tell us that the tours could be customized for a group. So if you have a photography club, a group of students studying architecture, or just have an interest in a specific period, please give them a call.
Annapolis is laden with tours–we are a tourist town after all. There are pub crawls, ghost tours, history tours, water tours, food tours, trolly tours, segway tours, and probably a few others. This one is the most unique one; but what really makes this tour is the level of expertise by both Craig and Leslie. I can guarantee you that you will leave with a greater appreciation for the City.
And, one last thing–do not think that this is for tourists only. Residents alike will enjoy this as well. Go on, be a tourist in your own backyard; you won’t regret it!