September 16 - 18, 2019: Annapolis, Maryland
We have been to Annapolis, Maryland a few times in the last month and one of the things we really wanted to do was tour the United States Naval Academy.
We drove from Chestertown, Maryland back to Queen Anne, Maryland and stayed in Tuckahoe State Park. We stayed here earlier in August and really liked this campground and how close it is to Annapolis.
On the drive we saw some cool things along the roads.
Early the next morning, we drove across the Bay Bridge to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. We stopped by the Visitor Center to sign up for a guided tour and then spent some time in the Armet-Leftwich Visitor Center Exhibits before the tour.
One of things about the USNA is that John Paul Jones who was the United States' first well-known naval commander in the American Revolutionary War. More on John Paul later...
Our guide for the tour was a retired Naval Officer who attended the USNA and gave us great insight into the history, traditions, and processes at the Academy.
The USNA sits on 338 acres with 4,400 midshipmen (students) from 7-600 faculty members who are both military and civilian. They offer twenty-five academic majors. The USNA mission is to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically into leaders of character for the Navy and Marine Corps.
First year (freshman) midshipmen are called Plebes. A midshipman first class, or firstie, is a senior. A second class midshipman is a junior. While those midshipmen known as youngsters, or third classmen, are sophomores
As we walked the campus, the first building we visited was the Lejeune Physical Education Center which houses the Athletic Hall of Fame, swimming pool, wrestling room, and more. It was really cool since school had started we got to see the midshipmen around the campus in their uniforms performing various activities.
The next building was Dahlgren Hall. This is where midshipmen social activities are held: dances, jousting, cheerleader practice, and more. There is also a cafe in this building.
One thing we noticed is the architecture of the buildings they are a mix of Beaux-Arts style, colonial, and modern.
The next building was Bancroft Hall. This is where the midshipmen, chaplains, officers, and senior enlisted leaders rooms are. In addition, there is also a barbershop, bank, laundromat, uniform and book store, gym, medical, dental, and more. There are eight wings to this building and it also contains King Hall which is where 4,400 midshipmen are fed simultaneously three times daily!
Of course, the public is only allowed to see Memorial Hall and the Rotunda. We were able to see an example of a midshipmens' room which was pretty neat and tidy!
We also got the see the entire brigade assemble at noon and then march into lunch. This was very cool with each battalion calling out various commands and pageantry.
Our last building was the Main Chapel and the Crypt of John Paul Jones. The Naval Academy Chapel is a focal point of the Academy and the city of Annapolis.
They are renovating the outside of the Main Chapel and discovered that the dome needs to be completely replaced. This will take a few years and be a very large undertaking.
John Paul Jones died in 1792 at 45 years of age. He was buried in Paris at the Saint Louis Cemetery, which belonged to the French royal family. Four years later, France's revolutionary government sold the property and the cemetery was forgotten. In 1906, the remains of John Paul Jones was brought to Annapolis, Maryland. On January 26, 1913, the remains were finally re-interred in a crypt below the Main Chapel in a bronze and marble sarcophagus. Notice the intricate ornate details of the sarcophagus. The legs are dolphins and the top is barnacles. What a beautiful crypt.
After the tour, we ate lunch on campus at The Alley. As we walked around the campus, we saw some great statues and...one of them was of Bill The Goat, the USNA Mascot!
Next on the campus we visited the United States Naval Academy Musuem which is located in Prebel Hall. The first floor is about the history of the United States Navy and the Naval Academy. The second floor is a collection of antique models ship. Below are a few pictures:
This is the second floor with model ships. The oldest ship we found that has never been restored is from 1701. The oldest ship that has been restored is from 1650! And...there are ships that were made by prisoners of war out of bone, straw, etc. WOW....VERY IMPRESSIVE!
Some of the pictures and text may be difficult to read because we could not use a flash.
We did not realize that ships had different ratings for the size and type of ship.
After the Naval Academy Museum, we wandered around the campus and town a little bit. Just love the architecture!
At the end of the day, we needed to stop by Fidelity and do some financial stuff. Right around the corner...I saw the restaurant that has my favorite beer. Gordon Biersch! I visit these in Vegas and Phoenix area, but had no idea they were on the East Coast. When I saw it, I said "Oh My God!". Craig thought there was a major problem and almost stopped the truck ; ) oopsie...even after that he patiently sat there while I enjoyed a Hefeweizen with a hint of banana and clove. AAAHHHHH what a great way to quench my thirst at the end of the day!