This is my kind of town, Annapolis is
My kind of town, Annapolis is
My kind of people, too
People who smile at you
And each time I roam, is Annapolis
Calling me home, Annapolis is
Why I just grin like a clown
It’s my kind of town
With a nod to the famous songwriter Sammy Cahn, I’ve used his hymn to Chicago for Annapolis. This blog concerns my recent historic home pilgrimage around the city as well as a peek into the secret gardens of our Historic District. Even though most of them lack Niermann Weeks furniture or lighting, I hope you enjoy visiting these places with me.
First, let’s go to Whitehall, a colonial mansion dating from the 1760s. In an overcast morning I’m standing about 100 feet from the mansion, and about 100 feet behind me lap the waves of the Chesapeake Bay. In his pre-air conditioning world, the British Governor Horatio Sharp built this summer home to catch cooling breezes off the bay. These breezes lessened the misery of our awfully humid summers.
In its day, Whitehall defined luxury but now it sits empty and unloved. The bricks need re-pointing, the paint needs refreshing, blinds are falling in the windows, and the fabulous plantings cry out for the tender care of a professional arborist. The only care my eye saw is that the grass was being regularly whacked. What an incredible shame for the first Palladian home built in America.
To learn about the home when it was lived in and loved, borrow from your library a copy of Annapolis Houses, 1700-1775 by Deering Davis (1947). Also to see eight photos collected by the Library of Congress’ Historic American Buildings Survey. Look at
Another colonial home, Hancock’s Resolution, has met a better fate. It reflects the lives of a successful farming family in the colonial and early federal periods. Built in 1784-1785, this home is an example of early Chesapeake architecture and one of few existing stone buildings of that period in our county. The Hancock family lived in near-isolation, managed their own mostly self-sufficient property, and ran a teeny store for their faraway neighbors. This website gives more information at www.historichancocksresolution.org
In the living room the bedstead takes up about 40% of the available space. Ma and Pa would have slept there on a mattress stuffed with corn husks or some other rough vegetation. Thank goodness for modern mattress technology!
A picket fence behind the house encloses a small kitchen garden. These “walking” onions spread as the bulblets drop off to root into even more onion plants.
Leaving history to return to modern days, I toured a dozen secret gardens in Annapolis’ downtown Historic District. Walking over to get our tickets, our group saw this sign on a building being re-habbed.
None of the rest of the tour was that vulgar. In fact, it was filled with beauty and good ideas. Our hydrangea season is just beginning and showing off in blue-purple tones.
The oak leaf hydrangeas also have exquisite blooms with delicate pinks amidst the white.
I want a water feature at home so was thrilled to see good examples, like this one flush to the surface with mini hostas planted between the pavers.
Or like this one raised up so one could sit to enjoy the sights and sounds of the pond.
Or like this naturalized style.
My water feature at home right now sits in a blue container on the porch that’s filled with tadpoles from the mama and papa Green Tree Frog.
Mama and papa let me observe them in action, or maybe they were too busy to notice me.
But enough about the private lives of amphibians, let’s conclude with Niermann Weeks and water features. My own pool was recently scouted for a magazine shoot, so we had it all gussied up with Italian Chaise Longues, Hadrian Planters with colorful floral baskets, and Loggia Dining Arms Chairs in painted teak surrounding a Camargue Table. The big white cast iron planter is an antique that Joe restored out of fragments.
Thanks for coming on this vicarious tour of my favorite town, Annapolis, and thanks for reading my blog.