Founded in 1649, Annapolis, Maryland’s capital city on the Chesapeake Bay, is a living history lesson. Visit the historic cemetery at the Romanesque-style St. Anne’s Episcopal Church and step inside to see Tiffany glass windows. Maryland Avenue is long-treasured as one of downtown’s best spots for shopping, dining, and experiencing the culture.
Attend the world’s largest in-water boat shows in this Sailing Capital of America, Oct. 13-15. Advance tickets $18; $5 ages 7-12. City Dock & Harbor, 1 Dock St., Annapolis.www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-powerboat-show.
The annual Oyster Festival, held at the Captain Avery Museum on Oct. 15, celebrates with food from top local eateries, two music stages, children’s activities and craft offerings; $6. 1418 E. West Shady Side Road, Annapolis. 410-867-4486, http://captainaverymuseum.org/event/oyster-festival.
Getting there: Annapolis is about 33 miles east of Washington, D.C. One-way rates from $93; nonstop American or Delta to Reagan Airport. From $101 each way on nonstop United to Dulles Airport.
Stay: Comprised of three historic buildings, the restored Historic Inns offer a mix of Victorian character and modern amenities, and each inn is within walking distance of Chesapeake Bay attractions. Enjoy seasonal cuisine in the elegant Treaty of Paris, the on-site restaurant (open breakfast, lunch, dinner) that dates back to the 1700s. November, December rates from $110; from $144 October. 58 State Circle, Annapolis. 410-263-2641, www.historicinnsofannapolis.com.
Eat: When having a pint at the Rams Head Tavern, ask about Amy, a ghost first spotted here in 1794. This iconic pub offers a full menu from pub fare (to $15) to regional seafood dishes (to $29.50), steaks and craft beers. The tavern hosts some of the top musical acts in the country each weekend. 33 West St., Annapolis. 410-268-4545, www.ramsheadtavern.com.
Experience: Take a self-guided tour of the Maryland State House (built 1772-1779), the oldest state capitol in continuous use. It was home to the Continental Congress from 1783-1784, and is the only statehouse to have served as the nation’s capital; free. http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/pdf/selfguide_sept2015.pdf. Look for the Charles Willson Peale painting of Washington, Lafayette and Tilghman at Yorktown, which hangs in the Senate Committee Room. Walk along the small tidal waterway of the City Dock, also known as Ego Alley for the many pleasure boats and yachts that maneuver the turnaround in front of the Market House. Enjoy views from the waterfront parks looking across Spa Creek or pop into one of the many boutiques and restaurants. www.downtownannapolis.org.
Stay: The downtown Loews Annapolis Hotel is steps away from the Chesapeake Bay. On site are a fitness center, and a restaurant and bar lounge. King room rates from $174 per night include a $25 food and beverage credit for each night of stay. 126 West St., Annapolis. 410-263-7777, www.loewshotels.com/annapolis.
Eat: American cooking using canning, pickling and fermenting is highlighted at Preserve. This modern spot’s eclectic menu (many vegetarian choices) includes beef and pork dishes, gnocchi, grilled polenta, chicken pot pie, pierogies and shoofly pie ($11-$30). 164 Main St., Annapolis. 443-598-6920, www.facebook.com/PreserveEats.
Experience: Professional, certified guides lead the 75-minute walking tours of the Naval Academy and provide commentary on the major attractions in the Yard and about midshipmen life. Daily tour costs are $11; $9 first through 12th grades. Or take a narrated riding tour from a five-passenger open-air electric vehicle; $30 includes water bottle and postcard book. Book at least two days in advance. 52 King George St., Annapolis. 410-293-8687, www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors/public-tours.
Stay: The Annapolis Inn is the epitome of luxury with three exquisitely appointed king suites. Touches include silk, brocade and damask fabrics, Italian bed linens, settees and armchairs at the fireplace, marble baths, towel and floor warmers, and a private terrace. Thursday-Sunday rates from $299-$399 (less midweek) include a three-course breakfast. 144 Prince George St., Annapolis. 410-295-5200, www.annapolisinn.com.
Eat: Find classic French dishes such as Duck Confit ($16.50) and Le Coq au Vin ($26) at romantic Les Folies Brasserie. Menu items to $38. 2552 Riva Road, Annapolis. 410-573-0970, www.lesfoliesbrasserie.com.
Experience: After dark, walk across the creaking floors of the most notoriously haunted mansions and hear the ghostly tales from centuries past. Led by a guide, the Historic Ghost Walk enters the haunted James Brice House (believed to have 10 ghosts). Ghoulish period-dressed guides lead the way by candlelight. Fridays and Saturday evenings through Oct. 29. Tickets $22; $14 ages 3-11. A special Annapolis by Candlelight walk through the historic Murray Hill neighborhood lets visitors step into privately owned historic homes built in the 20th, 19th and 18th centuries. Nov. 3 and 4 only (5-9 p.m.); $40. 99 Main St., Annapolis. 410-268-7600, http://annapolistours.com.
Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.