When you think about what makes a city unique or what defines its look, its character, its je ne sais quois, there is perhaps nothing more important than its architecture. Okay, maybe food, but certainly architecture is one of those things we think of when we think of a place. Miami = art deco. Palm Springs / Wildwood = mid-century modern. Santa Fe = pueblo-style. Annapolis = colonial. When you look around this magnificent city of Annapolis, how do you know which architects designed which buildings? What inspired them? And what they were trying to convey with the materials used? To answer these questions and more, welcome to ArchiTrex, a tour now being offered to the public by Annapolis Tours.
Back in March, I was on the very first ArchiTrex tour, well before it was made public, and it was incredible. A local architect, Craig Martin of Spire Architecture who helped develop the tour, explained the architectural history of some of Annapolis’ well-known buildings and some not-so well-known ones too. It was an easy, two-hour walk, along some of historic Annapolis’ most beautiful streets, and it offered up a wealth of information about such gems as the State House, William Paca House and Hammond-Harwood House.
This is a tour most suited for those who want to know more about the cornices, porticoes, English and Flemish bond brickwork, roofs and doors of Annapolis. Every participant received a large page detailing the buildings on the tour and their unique architectural characteristics. There was ample time for questions at each stop and I was quite impressed with the questions being asked by the tour-goers—it was clear many of them were architecture-philes.
The cool factor of the tour lies in the fact that it enables a general audience to fully understand this historic city’s many architectural treasures. I don’t want to give away any secrets of the tour, but I will say this: I now know that we have one of the most important doors in America right here in Annapolis. And by the way, that’s just one reason why this tour should be taken by not just tourists, but locals too.
Currently, the tours are offered twice a month through September. Cost for adults is $22, children 3 -11 is $14. Ages two and under are free. For more information, visit http://annapolistours.com/our-tours/architrex-architecture-tour.
Photos courtesy of Donna Cole