A couple weekends ago, family and I ventured into Historic Annapolis to check out the sailboats and meander around the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.  If you’re familiar with Annapolis, you’re likely familiar with “Boat Show” weekend, but you may not know that the boat shows come to Annapolis twice annually: Once in the spring and once in the fall (usually the first or second weekend in October which also includes a powerboat show).  This was my first visit to the Spring Sailboat Show, so I brought along my three children and husband for the experience to make it a family affair!

We left home early on Saturday so that we could arrive in town around 10 am, right when the show opened.  I was pleasantly surprised when we found on-street parking right across from the William Paca House.  Perhaps others chose to park out by the Naval Academy Stadium and take shuttles in, but with my whole crew I wanted to park and walk.  Our first stop was lunch, because, of course, my six-year-old was starving.  I chose Mission BBQ, located right on the corner of Randall Street and Market Avenue, across from Ego Alley and the entrance to the Boat Show.

Annapolis Spring Sailboat ShowIf you’ve never been to Mission BBQ, you need to!  I walked in with two children at my side, a baby in my Ergo carrier, and a backpack on my back.  After we ordered, the cashier asked if I needed help getting my food to a table.  With full hands, yes absolutely, I would love assistance!  But you’d be surprised that I am seldom given this option; what superior customer service!  I was already in love with the restaurant.  My six-year-old and four-year-old led us upstairs to a table overlooking City Dock, which was super fun for them.  The military and service person décor (uniforms, helmets, pictures, plaques) is also really captivating for children.  I personally loved that at noon they played The Star Spangled Banner; I almost cried when the entire restaurant stopped and stood up to hold their hands over their hearts.  It was a proud moment for me and a teaching moment for my children.  After we enjoyed our yummy lunch with conveniences such as paper towels at our table and a nearby drink station and private bathroom, we headed outside where we found the Mission BBQ Catering Truck.  It was a real military vehicle, presumably used in Vietnam according to the server distributing temporary tattoos nearby.  My son and daughter climbed into the truck and we snapped a few pictures before completing our experience.

Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show Paddleboard yogo in Ego Alley

I really think the kids would have been happy if we left town right after lunch!  But my daughter, always the epitome of fashionable attire, was eager to show off her mermaid costume at the Boat Show, and my son, the consummate adventurer, was itching to get onto a real boat.  The Spring Sailboat Show features nearly one-hundred sailboats.  An in-water boat show is quite an experience, especially if you’ve never been to one, because you board the boats from a floating dock.  I grew up spending weekends on my father’s boat on the Chesapeake Bay so boarding boats doesn’t faze me, though I do have great respect for the water and the dangers associated with it.  My husband was a little hyper with all the kids on the floating dock though, so we chose to take a brief tour of the in-water boats and only board a couple.  Once back on land, we took a little sunscreen break and the kids danced to music from the Shawn Owen Band.  We checked out the poly tables from Backyard Billy’s and strolled through a few other vendor booths.  There were beer and wine tastings for those interested, but I was drawn to the yoga on paddleboards in Ego Alley at City Dock.  Can you imagine doing yoga… on a paddle board??  These brave ladies must have amazing balance and core strength to stay on a paddleboard while practicing yoga.  I wish I could have tried it!  There were also paddleboards and kayaks for rent nearby.  Truly, there was something for everyone!

It was a hot day, so we headed for my favorite ice cream shop: the Annapolis Ice Cream Company.  It is at the top of Main Street, which was a downfall for the kids because we walked past at least three other ice cream shops before we arrived.  But I just had to have my peanut butter oreo fix while we were in town!  After cooling off, we milled around the State House in the grass and shade before heading home.

It was a great day!  Thanks for the memories, Annapolis!


Photos courtesy of Becca Beasley