During my teaching trip in Annapolis, Will and I found time to explore Annapolis before classes started, and on some evenings after class. It’s a picturesque East Coast village with some cobbled streets and clearly dated architecture. The State House was particularly appealing. Built in the 1770s, it’s the oldest state house in the U.S. still in use. From here, George Washington resigned his commission before the Continental Congress. A month later from here, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War.
We were enjoying walking up and down streets and remarking upon the old buildings, and sometimes grand old houses. We passed one grand old house that said it was “Open.” We walked up the steps to make inquiries. The place was the William Paca House. The house was built in the 1760s (and then improved upon in order to “keep up with the Joneses.”) complete with a 2-acre garden. William Paca (rhymes with “take a”) was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and was Maryland’s third Governor. His good fortune had much to do with the fact that a year after he graduated from law school he married wealthy Mary Chew in 1763. Naturally, all the prestige and grandeur of the place is named after him (grr).
A tour was starting in 20 minutes so we bought tickets, and then went out to explore the garden while we waited. The 2-acre garden was covered for a long time by a large hotel, but when the hotel came down, the decision was made to excavate. Archaeologists found foundations and paths and a brick wall that helped them recreate the garden as it once had been.
We were called back to the house with a dinner bell, which I think is a nice touch. The only problem was that I didn’t hear it. Will did though, so we were on time. I think if one is waiting to be called to dinner, the bell might be easier to pick out amidst the other noise of the city, ha ha. We then were taken on a one-hour tour of the interior of the house, well-maintained and fascinating to see.
We left the William Paca House and headed directly to the Naval Academy to catch the museum there before it closed for the day. I’ll post tomorrow about the Academy. We did find time to enjoy other things in Annapolis, like great food, night life, and the waterfront.
A few nights later we went to a cat cafe that Will had found for me. He remembered how much I enjoyed the one in Japan, and discovered that there is one very close to the hotel where we were based. The best thing about the place is it’s name: Kittens In Cups. They house 12-16 cats at a time, and they are all adoptable except one. You pay an hourly fee and can get coffee, tea, and snacks, just like in Japan. You take off coats and shoes in the entry room, then there are two additional rooms filled with cat trees and couches and tables and chairs and you can hang out with any cats that will have you. There is a third room with a cat-sized entryway, where several of them would run to if they got too stressed out. We were there in the evening and the cats were pretty mellow and I think most of them would have preferred to take a nap. But we did get some good interaction, especially when the lady at the counter sold us a tiny bag of treats.