13 June 2012

Graduation + Guide to Annapolis

A month ago, Brandon and I traveled back to Maryland with his parents and grandparents to attend his grad school graduation ceremony. We had such a nice time catching up with friends and revisiting all our favorite spots from the time we lived there. We even made time for a day trip to the Eastern Shore to visit the quaint little town of St. Michaels. Another fun surprise was that on the weekend we visited, Downtown Annapolis had been transformed into a movie set! We kept hoping for a celebrity sighting, but no such luck...

I ended up feeling so thankful we made the trip out for graduation. At the time of our undergraduate graduations, we were so busy planning our wedding and our cross-country move that I can barely remember the graduation festivities. It really was nice to be able to be 100% present at this one. 

At one point during the ceremony, as Brandon made his way back to his seat after receiving his diploma and hood, we made eye contact for just a brief second. He smiled at me and my eyes unexpectedly welled up with tears. In an instant, I realized that this was our moment to triumph in what felt like the first significant accomplishment of our marriage. This occasion didn't just represent the completion of his Master's degree, but the conclusion of our time in Maryland, our first chapter as husband and wife.

Memories of all the little moments we went through to get here flooded my mind. I recalled finding our first apartment; pulling up in our moving truck late one August night after driving 3,000 miles; decorating with pieces picked up from antique shops and vintage stores on our street; losing our apartment a few months later when our landlord decided to sell; finding another one; interviewing for my first post-college job; crying homesick tears; toasting to new adventures; our first blizzard; our first earthquake; our first hurricane; Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters celebrated by just the two of us; hosting visiting friends; making new friends; and way too many hours to count spent sitting on "our bench," right at the base of the State House, dreaming and scheming, laughing and crying, watching bunnies and fireflies, trapped in the moment, unable to envision the future chapters yet to come. Now, at graduation, all of these moments seemed to have passed by in a blink of an eye, never to be experienced again. It all felt like a crazy dream.

As I've probably mentioned at least fifty times on this blog, Annapolis will always hold a piece of my heart. If you've never been, it's such a great little city to spend a weekend in if you get the chance! Here are my Annapolis recommendations:

Best Place To:

Stay: The Historic Inns of Annapolis
Stop for ice cream: Annapolis Ice Cream Company (My favorite flavor is Peanut Butter Oreo!)
Enjoy traditional afternoon tea: Reynolds Tavern
Grab a crepe and a cup of coffee: Sofi's Crepes (For savory, try the Kevin Bacon. For sweet, Nutty Banana!)
Eat a delicious meal or linger over late afternoon wine and oysters: Harry Browne's
Peruse a wonderfully curated little decorating/antique shop: Natalie Silitch
Get lost for an hour or two: Annapolis Bookstore
Take a day trip: St. Michaels
Pick up souvenirs for your furry friends: Paws Pet Boutique

Have you ever been to Annapolis, or anywhere else in Maryland? What recommendations would you add to my list?