Tour Eastport on foot

June 10, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Annapolitans treasure their elegant old buildings and quaint waterside views, but some historians and business people have learned to treasure and capitalize on something less glamorous -- Annapolis streets.

In and around the downtown historic district, visitors and residents can take in history, architecture and fresh air by strolling the streets on several walking tours.

The newest among them shows off the history and industry of Eastport, the neighborhood east of Spa Creek.

The community, which dates to 1868, stood out last year when residents staged a "secession" from the rest of the city as the bridge over Spa Creek closed three weeks for repairs, leaving its merchants virtually cut off from the historic district. Residents erected a bright yellow flag and declared their neighborhood the Maritime Republic of Eastport.

That same year, to attract visitors coming to town for the Whitbread race, the Eastport Historical Committee designed a 13-stop walking tour.

"Eastport has always been a solidly working-class community, mostly blue-collar, who all knew each other," said Peg Wallace, curator of the Barge House Museum, which gathers Eastport history.

The 90-minute tour (two hours on a lazy day) covers the three bridges that span the creek to the historic district, the area's first boatyard, the current marine industry and the last standing farmhouse, representing the area's previous industry.

Trumpy & Son's boatyard, one of the stops on the tour, was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places. Trumpy moved to Spa Creek in 1947 and built some of the nation's finest yachts and military boats during the Korean War. One Trumpy yacht, the Sequoia, served U.S. presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. John F. Kennedy used it most often.

Another notable stop on the tour is McNasby's Seafood, a favorite place to get Maryland crab cakes and once an oyster processing plant. "We have collected a lot of history and a lot of information, and the aim of it is to teach people in this community and visitors about history," Wallace said, explaining that all the information couldn't fit into the 900-square-foot Barge House Museum, at 133 Bayshore Ave.

The self-guided walking tour allows visitors to "just come and look at it and do it in pieces," says Wallace. Maps for the tour are available outside the museum (which is open only on Saturdays) and at the Spa Creek Bridge. Information: the museum at 410-295-0104; Wallace at 410-268-1802.

Other Annapolis walking tours include:

Three Centuries tours of historic Annapolis, led by costumed guides: Tours leave daily at 10: 30 a.m. from the Visitors Center at 26 West St. and 1: 30 p.m. from the information booth at City Dock. Tickets are $9 for adults and $3 for school-age children. Information: 410-263-5401.

U.S. Naval Academy tours: Guided tours of the historic military school begin at the academy visitors center inside Gate 1. Tours are available Monday through Saturday from 9: 30 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. and Sunday from 12: 15 p.m. to 3: 30 p.m. The cost is $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors age 62 and older, and $3.50 for children in grades one through high school. Preschoolers are admitted free. Information: 410-263-6933.

Historic Annapolis Foundation tours: The foundation offers two tours on tape that allow users to see the city at their own pace. The Walter Cronkite Historic Walking Tour and the African-American Heritage Walking Tour take about 90 minutes each to complete. The tapes and a cassette player are available for rent from the museum store daily for $5. The store usually stops renting tapes about 4 p.m. each day, however, because the State House, one of the stops, closes at 5 p.m.

The foundation's museum store, at 77 Main St. near City Dock, opens each day at 10 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Information: 410-268-5576.

Pub Date: 6/10/99

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