Founding fodder

History never tasted quite this good

By Josh Bishop

For an entertaining, educational tour of Annapolis, look no further than Capital City Colonials. They offer a variety of local history tours that focus on food, the historic district, women, grand houses, or custom interests, each led by a guide dressed in authentic Colonial garb. These tours take groups to private homes, back streets, and small museums that are too often overlooked by the casual tourist — a true insider’s look at Maryland’s capital.

In the words of founder Susan Senis, by the time groups finish the three-hour Annapolis Food and History Tour, they’ll have had “enough food for lunch and enough history for continuing education credits.”

Tours begin at 11 a.m. with a cup of Kona coffee, widely considered to be one of the finest and most expensive coffees in the world. After the wakeup call, groups make their way to Middleton Tavern, which was frequented by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington, along with other members of the Continental Congress. The patriots probably never tasted crab balls like these.

Next is a taste of Italian gelato and then it’s off to the Sands House, a private home that’s been in the family for more than 230 years. Built in the early 1700s, the house has a collection of personal, historical artifacts that spans seven generations and nearly 300 years.

While on the tour, groups will also be given an inside look at the Hammond- Harwood House, a Colonial home built in 1774. Construction of Maryland’s State House, also on the tour, was completed in 1779. It’s the oldest state house still in legislative use, and was the site of several important historic events, including the ratification of the Treaty of Paris.

While escorting groups to these and other historic spots, the guides at Capital City Colonials are careful not to ignore the food. Groups can try jam, bread, cabbage rolls, popovers, ice cream, and other items.

Public tours are held on Saturday, but group tours can be arranged at additional times with sufficient notice. Group tour sizes are typically limited to 14, although it may be possible for larger groups to splitinto smaller parties and participate in the tour with staggered departure times.

Variations on a theme
For groups interested in taking a historic tour of Annapolis without an edible element, Capital City Colonials offers a tour called Historic District 101. The stroll around the historic district includes such landmarks as the Chase-Lloyd House, Paca House, and Brice House, as well as visits inside Saint Anne’s Church and the Waterfront Warehouse. For groups in a hurry, the Annapolis in an Hour tour provides a good, quick overview.

Additional tours include Women of Colonial Annapolis, Washington’s Resignation, Grand Houses of Annapolis, and Vicar’s Tours. Tours can also be customized to meet group preferences or interests.•

This article was published in the Fall 2010 Northeastern issue of Group Tour Magazine. To see the full archived magazine, click here. Click here to print a pdf.