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Visiting Annapolis Maryland:
The United States Naval Academy

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August 13, 2005

Gems of Maryland's Western Shore: Annapolis

Part 1 Visit Annapolis
Part 2 The Naval Academy
Part 3 Annapolis Dining and Bed & Breakfasts

The Naval Academy

No Annapolis visit is complete without a visit to the world's preeminent maritime university, The United States Naval Academy.  Of all five federal academies (Naval Academy, Military Academy, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy), Only the Naval Academy's gates spill out into the center of a tourist destination.

SECRET: If you are a U.S. military retiree, reservist, or active duty member with a valid sticker, you can probably park within the Academy grounds and save yourself the headache of toll parking.  Circumstances and parking availability dictate of course. See the Academy security guidelines regarding access to the Academy.

Start at the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center which is adjacent to the Admiral Halsey Athletic Center.  It is a bit of a museum unto itself, plus you can arrange for tours there.  The Navy gift shop is located there as well.

The Naval Academy Chapel is beautiful.  Most weekends you may see a wedding (or a few weddings) there, but if you can get into the Chapel, look around to see some of the most interesting Nautical Stained Glass windows.  Halfway down the nave, turn around and look above the entranceway to take in a most fascinating ship.

Once you have completed your view of the Chapel, head outside to go below to see the crypt of John Paul Jones.  Mind that you enter with the most solemn respect and decorum.  Here lies the father of the United States Navy in one of the most ornate crypts you may ever see.  There is always a Marine guard keeping watch, though you may not see them at first due to the dim light within the crypt. They are always there to guard this most sacred of naval memorials.

After paying respects to Admiral John Paul Jones, make your way to Preble Hall, Home of the Naval Academy museum.  You will be intrigued by the historical treasures to be found there.  More fascinating is the lower floor of the museum with it's vast array of wooden and bone model ships.  Some of these ships date back to the 1700's in the days when shipwrights would present models to the British Admiralty to show ship design, and to estimate costs.  Details such as drawers and tile floors have been found inside these great wooden marvels.

More information can be found at the Naval Academy's website Visitor Page.

Next: Annapolis Lodging and Dining

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