What to do in Royal Oak, MD?
June 6, 2005 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Travel Advice Filter: I'll be in Annapolis and Royal Oak, Maryland, for a wedding this weekend. My husband and I will have a couple of pockets of time to use as we wish, and I'd appreciate first-hand advice on what to do in the area.

I've done some searching on the web, but I'd very much appreciate input from people who have been to this area! The couple that's getting married hasn't provided much information along these lines, and I really hate to bother them about it this close to the big day. We'll probably have some time on Friday during the day (but will need to stay close to Royal Oak). We depart from BWI on Sunday night (we'll need to be at the airport by 5:00), so we'll have most of the day to explore (either there or in Annapolis, or someplace in between). We're probably most interested in restaurant recommendations and outdoor activities. Are there any good hikes or walks? I found what appears to be a state park near Annapolis, but the Google satelite maps make it look like a big marina.
posted by handful of rain to Travel & Transportation around Royal Oak, MD (10 answers total)
Cantlers. I lived in Annapolis for three years, and this was far and away the best crab house I found. If you haven't eaten Maryland Blue Crabs before, be patient - it took me (and everyone I know) a couple tries before getting the hang of it. But I assure you, it is truly a sublime experience.

A lot of Annapolis is a big marina.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:19 AM on June 6, 2005

Couple of suggestions for Annapolis, mostly in the food & drink category.

Chick and Ruth's is an Annapolis original. It's a family-owned diner that truly represents the spirit of the city. Each morning at 8:30am (9:30 on the weekends), everyone in the restuarant rises to their feet to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The food is plentiful, tasty, and cheap. It's a great place to catch breakfast. 165 Main St.

A great place to grab a cup of coffee is the City Dock Cafe. 18 Market St.

I also can recommend McGarvey's for great food and drink. It's at 8 Market Space.
posted by marcusb at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2005

You know you'll be only 45 minutes from DC, right? Lots of museums and stuff here.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:58 AM on June 6, 2005

Um, more like two hours from DC.

There's an excellent French restaurant in Annapolis (though it's not in a very scenic location) called Les Folies.
posted by desuetude at 9:11 AM on June 6, 2005

Um, not to be argumentative or anything, but Chick & Ruth's? Gross. Yes, it's a kitschy kind of touristy place where highlights include the booth that they "reserve" for the Governor (Annapolis being the state capital). Yes, it's open 24 hours, which came in handy during all-nighters. But as a place to eat while on vacation, presumably while you're looking for better-than-average regional cuisine? You'd do better going to Denny's. Less grease.

But, you know, to each their own. Central Annapolis is a big marina. WAY touristy. If that's your gig, you'll be like a pig in shit.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2005

2 hours from Annapolis to DC? 2 hours round-trip, maybe, if there's traffic.

I go to Severna Park at least once a month, and it's usually a 30-minute drive on a Saturday. Really, 2 hours? From where in Annapolis to where in DC, and what time of day and what day?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments...we had actually considered going to DC, but we've both been there before (and have never been to Annapolis or the Chesapeake Bay), and we also didn't know if we'd have enough time to make it worthwhile.

I guess I'm also very curious about the area between Annapolis and Royal Oak (over the Bay Bridge to US 301). I haven't been able to find good info online, but from the geography it seems like it must be a scenic drive (i.e. with stuff to stop at along the way)--is that true? And has anyone been to Sandy Point State Park? It would be really great to find some kind of outdoor activity (ideally a hike). Otherwise, we'll probably try walking around downtown Annapolis (and McGarvey's, Cantlers or Les Folies would all be great options--thanks!!).
posted by handful of rain at 10:02 AM on June 6, 2005

From what I've seen, Sandy Point is just a public beach, mostly, with oily water. Not worth a trip. But I've been only once.

It could take you close to an hour just to cross the Bay Bridge, if it's a busy weekend. But it is, indeed, a beautiful drive. So watch the traffic reports (perhaps that was what desuetude meant--two hours from Royal Oak to DC sounds about right, on a good day).
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2005

MrMoonPie, I grew up in Severna Park. (And I don't envy you for being compelled to travel there on a regular basis. Eck.)

I meant two hours from Royal Oak. Though I never have made it to DC from Annapolis in a half-hour, either. I've gotten stuck in traffic on Sunday mornings, on weekday nights at 3 a.m., you name it.

Sandy Point is indeed an ordinary public beach. In Annapolis, you can arrange for short chartered sailing trips. This would be very worth it...it's a gorgeous area for sailing. It's what we do in Annapolis.

* Agree that Chick & Ruth's is best pointed at from outside and admired for its charm.
* The campus of St. John's College in Annapolis is very pleasant, while you're strolling around. Nice river view.
* FYI, Les Folies is not walking distance from downtown, it's sorta adjacent to downtown in a tangle of a commercial area. The food really is outstanding, though.
* It's more walking than hiking, but you could walk part of the B&A trail, which is the old rail line, paved.
posted by desuetude at 2:08 PM on June 6, 2005

Since desuetude brought it up - I'm an alum of St. John's College. The campus is nice but small - if I'm not mistaken, there's a little art gallery there (I think it went up after I left).

Cantlers is a little ways out of town and, if I remember correctly, in the direction that you specified. DEFINITELY NOT a walk - you'll have to drive to get there, and it's a little hidden. But lordy, those crabs!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 6:06 PM on June 6, 2005

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