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Trip Report Trip Report -- Crabs in Annapolis & St. Michaels

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I had never experienced a ‘crab fest’ in Maryland, and this past weekend my boyfriend and I took a road trip to Annapolis from New York City. It was a great time!

Although we had arrived at the Manhattan parking garage by 11am on Saturday, due to an unforeseen cycling event, all the cross-town streets were closed and it took an hour to get out of the city. Add in some heavy New Jersey turnpike traffic and we reached Annapolis a bit later than anticipated. Oh well, we thought, we’ll save daytime activity and athleticism for another weekend. There were crabs to be eaten.

We dropped our bags at the O'Callaghan Hotel. The place was very well-located, not near the water but quite close. Very basic hotel -- clean, quiet, no frills. I did see a bar downstairs but we never used.

We strolled into downtown Annapolis and I loved wandering around the outside of the Maryland State House, which is the oldest legislative building in the nation that is still in use. It actually served as the nation’s Capitol for about eight months back in 1783-4.

We meandered down Main Street toward the City Dock, stopping in the General Store and few boutiques along the way. A good-natured yet pretty lousy acoustic guitar player was singing the Eagles and Led Zeppelin to the crowd gathered on the dock… it was a fun, relaxing atmosphere for a summer Saturday at dusk.

On a whim, we decided to take the 90-minute Thomas Point Lighthouse Cruise at sunset. We hopped on board and got to watch the sunset on the Chesapeake Bay. Was wonderful and I learned a couple things!

After the cruise we stopped into Middleton Tavern for a pre-dinner drink. Legend has it that George Washington was once kicked out for being too rowdy. The place just seemed like a regular old bar and grill but we enjoyed our beers anyway.

Now, on to the main event. Blue crabs at Buddy’s. We ordered a dozen steamed crabs for us “to start.” I should mention that we decided we wouldn’t eat between breakfast and dinner. I am so hungry at this point I’m practically drooling.

The appetizers – a crab cake appetizer and a crab dip – are perfect. Seriously, it might be the best crab cake I’ve ever had, absolutely no filler, almost entirely crab meat. And the dip is the perfect combination of crabmeat, cheese and spice. Loving my meal so far.

Then the crabs arrive in dramatic fashion – 12 freshly steamed medium crabs smothered in Old Bay seasoning arrived, ready for us to dismantle and eat. Each crab took about 10-15 minutes to take apart and eat. Delicious! We proudly polished off the second round of crabs and a second pitcher of beer. By the way, we arrived at Buddy’s at 8pm, we sat down immediately and ordered right away. It is now 11pm and the crew is cleaning around us. We had literally been eating the entire time. We headed to Ram’s Head Tavern for a nightcap, which we cut short when it became clear the frat boys have taken over. I went to sleep on a full stomach, fully satisfied with my crab experience.

Sunday morning we visited Hard Bean Coffee & Booksellers for coffee and a light breakfast. It’s one of the cutest coffee shops I have ever been to – full of books for sale, adorable little knickknacks, amazing-looking desserts and plenty of seating. They even sell wine in the evening. Love it!

After breakfast, we drove about 40 minutes to St. Michaels, as I had never been there. Upon arrival to St. Michael’s I noted that it is beyond quaint, full of ice cream shops and gift stores with names like “This or That.”

Lunch is at the Crab Claw Restaurant -- at 1pm on a Sunday, the place was absolutely up for grabs – multiple groups of 15-20 people strolling in, ready to get their crab game on. I had every intention of ordering a sandwich or a salad or something lunch-y like that, considering the crab fest from the previous night. However, in the short walk from the host stand to our table which overlooked the Bay, I witnessed at least four tables happily hacking away at their blue crabs. And so it was… another half dozen! It was fun to compare these to the ones at Buddy’s. My overall takeaway was that Crab Claw had better tasting crabs, but Buddy’s had better presentation and atmosphere.

After lunch we wandered the main street and ventured into another coffee shop, St. Michael’s Perk. That morning, I was ready to declare that Hard Bean Café in Annapolis was the cutest coffee shop I had ever seen, but St. Michael’s Perk was even cuter: three spacious rooms, your choice of comfy couches or tall tables, fun books, magazines and newspapers to peruse and free wifi. Who could ask for anything more?

Overall, a wonderful weekend getaway. For photos and more details, you can read my report here as well: http://suchaluckygirl.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/a-lighthouse-and-24-crabs/

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