When to Go to Annapolis and Southern Maryland

Each season has its charms in southern Maryland. In the heat of summer the Chesapeake Bay provides boating and swimming. In fall, the changing colors of the trees and smaller crowds attract hikers and bird-watchers. The shops of Annapolis offer unique seasonal gifts in winter and many of the historic homes have special holiday events. And in spring, sailors ready their boats for the season and the Naval Academy graduates another class during Commissioning Week.

Maryland's three-day Historic Annapolis Antiques Show in January is one of the major Mid-Atlantic events of its kind. 410/267–8146. www.annapolis.com.

On the last Saturday in April, rain or shine, the Celtic Festival and Highland Gathering of Southern Maryland takes place south of Annapolis in St. Leonard. It includes piping and fiddling competitions, dancing, games, and the foods and crafts of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brittany. Fifty Celtic clans are represented. 443/404–7319. www.cssm.org.

In the second week of May, Commissioning Week at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is a time of dress parades, traditional stunts such as the Herndon Monument Climb, and a spectacular aerobatics demonstration by the navy's famous Blue Angels precision flying team. 410/293–0263. www.usna.edu/specialevents/commweek.htm.

The United States Sailboat and Powerboat Shows, the world's largest events of their kind, take place in Annapolis in October. 410/268–8828. usboat.com.

In the second week of December more than 70 sailboats and powerboats get decked out in lights for the holidays and sail into Annapolis Harbor for the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade. Spectators watch from the center of town at City Dock. Annapolis Harbor, MD, 21401-1814. 410/263–0415. www.eastportyc.org. Free. 6 pm.

The Maryland Renaissance Festival celebrates 16th-century England with entertainment, food, and crafts shops. The grounds near Annapolis include a 5,000-seat jousting area and 10 stages. The event starts in August and continues through late October. 410/266–7304 or 800/296–7304. www.rennfest.com.

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