New in Town
Getting out, getting lost, getting on the water
by Gabriela Romeri
Moving to a new place is much like your first day of school. It’s all rather exciting, you have no idea where you’re going and you realize you’ve got a lot to learn. That’s especially so in Annapolis, a city with the nation’s history so deeply ingrained.
Having grown up in D.C., then living in Lewes, Delaware, the first city in the first state, I was nursed on history and the heroic efforts of our men and women.
When I moved to Annapolis, I couldn’t wait to soak it all in, then go back for more, starting with the State House, the place where our Founding Fathers hammered out our Declaration of Independence, walking the halls that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once paced. I wanted to stand before the Charles Willson Peale portraits, visit the Maritime Museum and tour by carriage and trolley.
If only I could find it all.
I am directionally challenged. I get lost more than I arrive anywhere.
It’s a somewhat hereditary condition, passed down by Italian ancestors who lost their way coming to the New World and ended up in South America. My internal compass needs to be recalled. I have gotten lost jogging.
Many wonderful Annapolis locals have helped me find my way. You know who you are, all 2,236 of you to date. You have been so patient; pushing maps into my hands, highlighting routes, even drawing me new shortcuts to get lost on.
The thing about Annapolis, though, is that it doesn’t matter where you go or even if you get there, because it’s all so wistfully wonderful.
Wandering on foot, I ended up downtown. There the faithful gather for ice cream worship, happily waiting in long lines for a simple taste of joy. Crowds formed as people stopped in their tracks to watch unicyclists defy gravity.
There’s a lot to be said for any place where you can have crabs whenever you want. A place where anywhere you go, you see the Naval Academy lads and ladies in their lilly whites. I especially love the Sunday worship service in their Chapel. Seeing that many men in uniform has actually made me more religious; at least it’s inspired me to attend church regularly.
But the very best part of Annapolis has to be its Bay. It’s like watching fluid tranquility. I’ve always felt such peace and wonder from being out on the water. That’s why now when I see people streaming past me in their boats, my blood begins a slow boil.
I got a boat last spring. If moving is like the first day of school, getting that miserable boat onto the Bay has been the first day of hell.
The closest my boat has gotten to water was during the flash floods back in early July. Her downward spiral began with that dreaded phone call from Fairwinds Marina “Your boat is making a very unhealthy noise,” and it went down from there. Then she was finally ready; I would have her out in time for Labor Day weekend. Of course, that’s when Ernesto hit.
Now, I’m joining the frostbite sailors. Wearing a parka, spear in hand, I’ll be leaning over the bow, chipping away at the ice with the spear, clearing a path for me and her through the Bay. If you see me, do not be alarmed. I may be lost, but I’m not alone in Annapolis, where whatever else winter brings, it brings sailors to the Bay.
New Annapolitan Gabriela Romeri has written for magazines and trade journals in Washington, Delaware and Maryland.