Featured Site

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

US Powerboat Show in Annapolis

Maryland Flag
Flag of the State of Maryland
 Part of any cruising boater's life is the chance to travel to far-off places.  There are some communities that touch a boater's heart like none other.  One of which is arguably the yachting capital of the world: Newport, RI.  If there were a sister city for Newport, it would certainly be Annapolis.
Annapolis City Harbor
Annapolis City Harbor
Annapolis (meaning 'Anne's City,' so named after Anne Arundel, the early 17th century aristocrat), is also the seat of Maryland's government.  The entire Anne Arundel County is affectionately known as the 'Land of Pleasant Living,' and for once the moniker does its due diligence.

Annapolis is at once regal, spirited, nautical, and understated.  The well-kept capitol building barely pokes out from above the brightly-colored forest of brick commerce around it, as a gentle reminder that this is a place of official business.  Meanwhile, the bustling streets with a uniquely historic feel make one forget that any sort of seriousness could occur at such a strikingly relaxing place in this world.

There is a quirky blend here of color, nature, water, western-style commercial buildings, lamp-spattered brick streets, nautical boutiques, historic taverns, crab, more crab, and sweet delicacies of various traditional types.  The city feels like a perfectly retrofitted old New England factory that, when populated with iMac computers and big-screen televisions, can speak for the progress of America at one glance.  As poetic as that sounds, it is nonetheless true - Annapolis is truly unique.
City Streets of Annapolis
City Streets of Annapolis
Although the US Powerboat Show in Annapolis is the premiere marine event of the year, I am reluctant to say that the prowess of the show is almost lost amidst what is clearly an old salt's town.  Here, it is simply assumed that you just stepped off of your trawler on the way from Old Saybrook CT to Key West FL.  Annapolis is where you can be among those 'in the know' when it comes to the feeling of heading out of a channel into a flat-calm sea on a clear-blue Fall day.  Everyone's a boater here.
The US Powerboat Show at Annapolis
The US Powerboat Show at Annpolis
No one could reminisce on Annapolis without mentioning the native crab, which in each form around town makes one marvel in disbelief that life could ever be properly lived without a proper crab dish at least twice weekly.  The textures, flavors and techniques surrounding this crustacean make it possible to have a crab dish in each of the town's beautifully crafted restaurants without ever having the same experience.  Also, for the record, crab cakes are crab cakes in Maryland and in Seattle; anywhere else is second fiddle.

As for the show itself, one of the highlights was the row of on-the-water drinking establishments right alongside the show, anchored by the Marriott's Pusser's Caribbean Grille.  This restaurant makes up for its average fare with a perfect harborside location and its namesake Pusser's Painkiller drink (the author's favorite, by the way).  Fellow devotees of this British Virgin Island flagship drink gather directly along the water with the boat show sprawling out in every direction, with nary a railing in sight.  This is dockside living at its best.

With the usual array of vessels in-water, the show does a fair job of presenting attendees with a good lineup of various shapes and sizes.  However, large vessels (above 40 feet) are largely lacking, and comments were made that Ft Lauderdale is one of the last remaining US boat shows for that sort of shopping.  One highlight of the show was the extensive square footage within the exhibitor tents scattered throughout the show property.  Inside, row after row of nautical wares await the explorer who needs everything from embroidered towels to the latest and greatest anchor (more on that in a later post).  For those traversing the Eastern seaboard on an autumn journey, this is certainly the place to pick up provisions and luxuries of all kinds.

Annapolis was unexpected.  By the end, I was wondering why Maryland was the state to get the greatest flag, something I've never pondered once in my life.  Everything from the types of stores to the colorful dedication to the upkeep of brick lends to an experience that is simultaneously relaxing and exciting.  By the end of my short stint there, I had only one thing left to wonder.

How soon can I come back?
Share this post
  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Google+
  • Share to Stumble Upon
  • Share to Evernote
  • Share to Blogger
  • Share to Email
  • Share to Yahoo Messenger
  • More...


  1. If you want to stand securely on the board you choose, it must be large enough for your height and weight. The board you choose would also depend on the style of paddling you intend to do. These boards usually measure 10'6 to 11'6 in length, 29 inches in width, and four to five inches in thickness. Paddle board ocean