Just minutes away from the hurried pace of Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., sits an area of historic towns and quiet villages where time is marked less by hands on a watch as by the passing of the tides.
This peaceful waterfront region of central Maryland is best explored on the Anne Arundel Colonial Tour Scenic Byway, a 40-mile-long loop that follows the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay has been described by many as what it was, and still is: a fish and shellfish factory, producing 500 million pounds of seafood each year. To this day, you can still find piles of oyster shells several feet thick on land.
You can also find many restored sites that underscore the region’s colorful past, including
the home Captain Salem Avery and his wife and seven children shared. A true waterman’s
home, the Captain Salem Avery House has been preserved as a living-history museum —
complete with period furnishings, historic boats and models, fishing equipment and
collections of oral histories from local families.
With only one road in and one road out, the friendly village of Galesville is a slice of Americana. We parked our motorhome and walked to the Hartge Yacht Yard on Church Lane, home of one of the oldest working boatyards on the bay. A one-room nautical museum — housed in the original 1878 family manor — traces the history of Henry Hartge, a cabinetmaker and piano manufacturer from Germany who parlayed his woodworking skills into a successful family business designing and building yachts and watermen’s boats.
Just minutes north of London Town — site of the largest ongoing archaeological project in Maryland open to the public — is Annapolis, the most well-known port along the scenic byway. Annapolis, which became the capital of Maryland in 1695 and served as our nation’s first peacetime capital from 1783 to 1784, is rich with historic attractions.
Boasting more surviving 18th-century buildings than any other city in the United States, the entire Colonial Annapolis Historic District is a designated National Historic Landmark. In fact, four of the signers of the Declaration of Independence — Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, William Paca and Thomas Stone — lived in Annapolis. All of their homes have been preserved and three of them (the Charles Carroll House, the Chase-Lloyd House and the William Paca House and Garden) are open to the public.
With its easy access to the bay, Annapolis is known as “The Sailing Capital of America,” and it lives up to its lofty nickname in spirit and appeal. Many boats are available for tours around the harbor, surrounding rivers and creeks, and the bay. It is easy to understand why Maryland is known as the land of pleasant living; the undercurrent of history and the ebb and flow of life here are to be savored … slowly.
For more about “Tide & Time,” pick up the April 2006 issue of MotorHome magazine on the newsstand — then subscribe to MotorHome so you can stay informed on great travel destinations, the latest motorhome tests, previews, technical information, products and more.