Tue 23 Jun 2009
Sometimes it’s too easy to forget DC is a mere drive away from some beautiful destinations. On a recent bright Saturday, Mike and I packed up the car and our cocker spaniel Murphy for a day trip to Annapolis, Maryland. Every time we visit Annapolis I’m surprsied by how small it is. Lined with brick streets, charming historic homes and buffered by the Naval Academy, downtown and state capital, Annapolis is an enchanting place to spend an afternoon. It’s just cozy enough for a relaxed day of strolling, window shopping, and eating…which is exactly what we did.
We started off the day at the Quiet Waters Dog Beach, where the largest population of labradoodles I have ever seen splashed into the water after tennis balls. Murphy, however, expressed no interest in swimming. Instead he sat comfortably behind a log calmly staring at us while we tried to coax him in. He’d go in about paw deep, drink the water, grimace at the saltiness of it, run away from a wave then sneak back to drink the water and grimace some more. No amount of tennis ball tossing and whistling would convince him to swim. Fine, we decided, it was time for lunch.
Reviews and more photos after the jump!
Because we had the land-loving mongrel with us, our lunch options were limited to al fresco restaurants who welcomed canines. We opted for a meal at Buddy’s, a casual family restaurant planted smack in Annapolis’ downtown. Grabbing a plastic table on the front sidewalk, we were able to enjoy the sunshine with a view of the harbor and historic main street on either side of us. The menu at Buddy’s features a smorgasbord of all-American options from seafood to BBQ to your basic restaurant salads.
Of course, being Annapolis there was really only one option for lunch: crabs. Mike went with the crabcake sandwich while I opted for a fried softshell crab (but with a side salad instead of fries, because I am just so calorie conscious). Both were decent. Mike’s crabcake had a little more filler than we’d like and it in no way measured up to the blow-your-hair-back crabcake sandwich we’d enjoyed at Hook, but the price and the view were tough to beat. My softshell crab sandwich was decent – lightly fried, still warm and tasting just crabby enough to satisfy. The upstairs of Buddy’s is expansive and suited to large groups. While sitting on the sidewalk we watched hordes of families and recent Naval Academy graduates pour into the restaurant for a congenial meal. Even if the food isn’t amazing, the casual atmsophere and simple menu make Buddy’s a great place for families and unadventurous eaters alike. Note to diners: while planning this trip, we heard constant rave reviews of Cantler’s crabs. Alas, they didn’t accept dogs so we couldn’t try it but they are on the top of our list for the next visit.
After several hours of window shopping and taking in the beautiful views and sunshine, we worked up enough of an appetite for dessert. There is some universal law in America that a small, scenic city drawing revenue from tourism must have a overpopulation of two things: 1) shops specializing in t-shirts with lame jokes and 2) Ye Olde Fashioned Fudge Shoppes. I don’t understand this decree but it is damn consistent. I dare you to visit any ski town in Colorado and *not* see someone making fudge in a large window.
But instead of fudge we made a beeline for a dessert option we discovered on a previous trip: gelato at Aromi d’Italia. This cafe sits a little off the main drag right on the docks, between stores specializing in door knockers and windchimes. Aromi d’Italia offers sandwiches, salads, and coffees but the real draw is their gelato. Creamy and piled high with toppings, the siren song of Aromi d’Italia is too much for us to resist. On this trip, we split a cup of sour cherry gelato, where we oohed over the tart cherries mixing with the sweet cream of the dessert.