Annapolis: great street, pretty town

October 12, 2008|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,chris.guy@baltsun.com

Annapolis officials say they've believed it all along, but they aren't about to turn down two national accolades that have put the city in the limelight.

First came news Wednesday that the city's Main Street was named one of 10 great streets in the country by the American Planning Association, through the organization's Great Places in America program.

A day later, Forbes Traveler magazine chimed in to note Annapolis as one of the 20 prettiest towns in America.

Mayor Ellen O. Moyer called it a double dose of praise for a city she says deserves the recognition.

"Sometimes, maybe we take our hometown too lightly until something like this comes along," Moyer said. "It's extraordinary. It's significant because these awards kind of travel around the world. It has been quite a week for us."

The city's five-block brick Main Street, a popular thoroughfare for visitors and residents alike since the Colonial era, was noted for more than 60 historic buildings that line its sidewalks from City Dock to St. Anne's Church. Once called Church Street, Main Street, which provides clear views of the Chesapeake Bay, was part of the 1696 design created by Gov. Francis Nicholson.

APA's Great Places named Annapolis' exceptional character and highlighted the role of planners in preserving the city. Among the historic structures at the top of Main Street is the Maryland Inn, which houses the Treaty of Paris restaurant, named for the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were among the signers of the document who stayed at the Maryland Inn in 1784.

Other winners were streets in Tempe, Ariz.; Tampa, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Portland, Me.; Boston; St. Paul, Minn.; Philadelphia; El Paso, Texas; and Arlington, Va.

Forbes Traveler lauded the town because "Annapolis is somehow able to maintain ties to its historical and maritime past without seeming hokey." The magazine suggested it might be "the East's most romantic town."

Burlington, Vt.; Bisbee, Ariz.; Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Portsmouth, N.H. were among other towns named by the magazine.

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