Wednesday, September 13, 2017


We couldn't find a parking space in downtown Annapolis near the State House, so we parked about a mile away. The good part about that was that we got to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Chesapeake Bay. The bad part is that it was about 100° and about 90% humidity.

As we got near to downtown Annapolis, it was a nice surprise to come upon this public art piece showing a man telling stories to three children:
That soda behind the girl on the right almost looks like it belongs there.

Then we learned that it's not just ANY man--it's Alex Haley, author of the epic saga Roots (1976), which became a record-breaking television miniseries in 1977. (By the way, did you know Haley also co-authored The Autobiography of Malcolm X? That came out in 1965.) Roots tells the story of six generations of Haley's own family. The Kunta Kinte - Alex Haley Memorial commemorates the arrival of Haley's ancestor and other slaves in this very harbor:

I had a flashback to the Kunta Kinte statue in Atlanta outside the Martin Luther King Museum, which shows Kunta Kinte holding aloft his baby daughter Kizzy, much like Mufasa holds up his newborn cub Simba in The Lion King.
I love this encouragement to share our stories:

A series of bronze plaques lines the nearby walkway next to the bay, each containing a nugget of wisdom from Haley's book:

The Annapolis city government website notes that this memorial "portrays in word and symbol the triumph of the human spirit in very difficult times and conveys Alex Haley's vision for national racial reconciliation and healing. It stresses the importance of maintaining strong family connections and of preserving and honoring one's family history and cultural heritage."

It also notes that the Memorial is dedicated to Africans "whose names, unlike Kunta Kinte's, are lost forever in the oceans of time. It is also for all people--African, Asian and European--who arrived in the New World in bondage, whose unpaid labor forged the backbone of this nation's rise to greatness. It is dedicated also to their descendants, who strive to create a nation that celebrates ethnic diversity within the spirit of brotherhood, mutual respect, and understanding."

These words seem more relevant today than ever.

We continued our walk into the heart of the city. Annapolis, population 40,000, has a small-town America feel:

. . . and small town sensibilities:

We were drawn to this idyllic garden:

. . . part of the grounds of St. Anne's Church:

My "AHA!" moment occurred here. "Annapolis" means "Anne's city" in Greek.  Anne is the Virgin Mary's mother. Okay, it's all coming together!

St. Anne's, an Episcopal Church established in 1692, was the very first church in Annapolis. However, that church was razed in 1775 because locals thought it looked too much like a barn, which was bad timing since the Revolutionary War started the next year and all labor and construction supplies went into building forts. It wasn't until 1792 that the new church got built, but in 1858 that church was gutted by fire. The third and current church was built almost immediately.

One of the church's claims to fame is that Francis Scott Key, who wrote the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner," was a parishioner from 1789 to 1800.

What a great idea:

My Stained Glass Envy kicked into high gear as I looked at this brilliantly colored depiction of Christ quieting the wind and water:

My favorite thing about this tender meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth is the way their husbands hover in the background, as if trying to eavesdrop on the women's conversation:

Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the temple. Simeon and Anna recognize who He is and thank God:

Some windows have intricate, quilt-like framing:

This window includes the words from Revelations 2:10: "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life":

It looks like a Renaissance painting:

Two of St. Anne's windows were made by Tiffany Studios. I am impressed by the Tiffany collection in Annapolis! We had also seen a few at the Naval Academy Chapel. When I think of the Tiffany style, I think of a rich palette of colors, so the brown and peach tones of this window depicting Mary as a young girl being taught from the scriptures by her mother Anne (for whom I assume this city is named) make it especially unique:

The other Tiffany window draws from a more traditional Tiffany color palette to depict the Angel of the Resurrection:
While the architecture of this little church is fairly simple, these stained glass windows are quite spectacular. 

There are other hidden gems in St. Anne's, including this pipe organ in its beautiful case in the choir loft:

. . . this detailed woodcarving behind the altar with totem poles of saints on each side of Christ:

. . . this baptismal font ringed with pensive human and animal faces:

. . . this medieval-looking painting of Christ:

. . . and this golden mosaic lunette over one of the doors:

Time to move on. I saw this blooming tree all over Annapolis. Can someone tell me what it is?

On our way back to the car, we peaked into St. Mary's Catholic Church:

With its lofty ceilings, star-studded dark-blue night sky, and Gothic veining, the inside of St. Mary's is stunning:

It's also a geometric wonder:

Since there was some kind of service going on, we couldn't take many pictures. If I ever return to Annapolis, I'd like to go back for a second look.

As we crossed the bridge over the water that marked the boundary of the civic center, I turned for one last look. What a lovely city.

We had to make one last stop at Mike's Crab House in Riva, Maryland, a ten or fifteen minute drive from Annapolis. This is the kind of place where the tables are covered in brown paper because guests make such a mess. We made more mess than most, and we definitely had more food than most. Bob ordered enough food for about ten people. I kept looking around to see who he'd arranged to come join the party, but it was just the two of us:

The most unique dish was this plate of soft-shelled, deep-fried crabs, a local delicacy.

Mike's Crab House was definitely worth the drive, and if you eat like we did, you can skip the next two or three meals.


I read Roots by Alex Haley when I was a senior in high school. Seeing the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis sparked an interest to go back for a reread--until I remembered that the book is over 900 pages long. Instead, I've put the mini-series in our Amazon Prime queue. There are six episodes that run 90 minutes each.

I've also discovered that the The History Channel released their own version of Roots in 2016. There are four two-hour episodes available on iTunes for $5.99/episode. If I can figure out how to stream that on our TV, we may watch that instead.


  1. Annapolis is a great spot. One of my favorite cities that we've visited in the U.S. Lots of great food, wonderful culture, some significant historical events and beautiful scenery.

  2. Your shrub with pretty white flowers looks like Dogwood. Annapolis looks like a great place to visit (sometime when the temperature drops below 70 degrees).

    1. You're right about the dogwood. Thanks! I never knew what dogwood looked like! If I lived there, I'd have a yard full of them.

  3. Dogwood. It comes in pink and white and I used to love it when they'd pop out in the spring. Before blossoming, the buds look like tight little berries, then pow! these glorious blossoms. I love the church photos (both). So beautiful!