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  #1  
Old 02-22-2011
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Annapolis Boat Show 2011

OK, realizing I'm a bit early, I'm planning to attend the Annapolis Boat Show in the fall and am planning the trip in conjunction with a visit to my son at Ohio State and some time in Washington, DC. For those of you who have attended, how many days would you allow to really enjoy the show. I'm not shopping, just enjoying looking at the boats and equipment. I checked the seminars and might attend one or two. Also, what are the other "must sees" while I'm in Annapolis? This will help me plan ahead and secure hotels, etc while they're still available. I'm planning on staying at the Marriott which looks like it's right by the show. Is this a good choice?

Thanks, Mike
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Old 02-22-2011
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Just to be certain, Annapolis has two shows. One dedicated to sailboats, the other to power boats. Be sure you are scheduling the right one.

We've stayed at Lowes, which is a bit of a walk, but definitely walkable. We spent one full day, specifically sought out about 5 manufacturers for tours and attended a seminar. Walked and browsed all the vendors and docks. Took a break for lunch in town, not in the show. That seemed sufficient. If I had the time, I would have been happy to attend another day and more seminars.

I know a vendor who works both shows. He says splitting the power v sail makes for very interesting distinctions in attendees. He wouldn't fully elaborate, but did make this observation. If it rains during the power show, it is vacant. If it rains during the sail show, they set attendance records. Bring your foulies.
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Old 02-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinLA View Post
OK, realizing I'm a bit early, I'm planning to attend the Annapolis Boat Show in the fall and am planning the trip in conjunction with a visit to my son at Ohio State and some time in Washington, DC. For those of you who have attended, how many days would you allow to really enjoy the show. I'm not shopping, just enjoying looking at the boats and equipment. I checked the seminars and might attend one or two. Also, what are the other "must sees" while I'm in Annapolis? This will help me plan ahead and secure hotels, etc while they're still available. I'm planning on staying at the Marriott which looks like it's right by the show. Is this a good choice?

Thanks, Mike
I think if you are into sailing and are coming from a long distance to see the show you might as well plan at least 2 days if you want to take your time and visit a lot of the vendors and get on a lot of the boats.

The Downtown Marriot will be a fantastic base since you are literally ground zero for the show. Pusser's restaurant in the hotel is a must stop during the show for a Painkiller or 3. Right next door is the Fleet Reserve Club. During the show, they have Pit Beef sandwiches which is kind of a Baltimore local specialty that I haven't really seen elsewhere in the country. If you like roast beef, slopped in melted cheese and or bbq sauce you should try one. Alternately, there a many pub type places (including Pusser's) within 5 minutes walk of the show/Marriot. Chick and Ruth's Deli is good for breakfast and lunch but, is legendary so waits will be long during the show for sure but everywhere is going to be crowded that weekend.

I've never done it, but I think you can get a tour of the Naval Academy, which besides the city itself is about the only thing I know of you might want to visit. I'm a VA guy though so I'm sure some of the Marylanders will have more good suggestions.

In DC, you might want to consider the National Aquarium. Its not really well known and is not as extensive as the Baltimore Aquarium but the guests we've taken there seemed to enjoy it. For me, the incongruity of an aquarium right in the midst of our Government is amusing.

Enjoy.
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Old 02-22-2011
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The sailboat show runs 3 days - Thursday through Sunday. Thursday is VIP day and while the ticket price is a little higher, the crowds are much smaller. beyond the obvious reasons, less people make it much easier to navigate the floating docks.

Annapolis is one of my favorite places. Beyond the boat show and the Academy, just plan to poke around the town and see the shops. Don't forget to poke around Eastport too. One day at the show is enough for me, especially if it's VIP day. You could spend another day exploring the rest of the town.

You could spend a week in DC and still not see everything. The Smithsonian museums are free and range from the Air & Space, to the National Galleries, to the Hirshhorn (not a Smithsonian museum, but great), to the Archives, National Cathedral, Capitol,etc, etc.
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The sailboat show runs 3 days - Thursday through Sunday. Thursday is VIP day and while the ticket price is a little higher, the crowds are much smaller. beyond the obvious reasons, less people make it much easier to navigate the floating docks.

Annapolis is one of my favorite places. Beyond the boat show and the Academy, just plan to poke around the town and see the shops. Don't forget to poke around Eastport too. One day at the show is enough for me, especially if it's VIP day. You could spend another day exploring the rest of the town.

You could spend a week in DC and still not see everything. The Smithsonian museums are free and range from the Air & Space, to the National Galleries, to the Hirshhorn (not a Smithsonian museum, but great), to the Archives, National Cathedral, Capitol,etc, etc.


Uh, the sailboat show runs Thur through MON. 1 day for "VIPs" (people willing to pay extra) and F/S/S/M for the rest of us.

BTW the HIRSHORN is part of the Smithsonian and has a really nice sculpture garden across the street in the Mall. (sunken)

You might want to go over to Back Creek on the other side of Eastport and just wander around the Marinas/Boat Yards. I love just walking around looking at ... well, boats!

Quote:
If it rains during the power show, it is vacant. If it rains during the sail show, they set attendance records. Bring your foulies.
Uh, that's because stinkpotters all have a pilothouse and never have to go out in the elements. They're all a-feared of getting wet.
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Old 02-22-2011
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The Marriott is uber-expensive, especially during the shows. If that doesn't throw you, the location is the best. It's right in the middle of everything.

I used to spend three days at the show, but that usually meant one day for myself, one day with my buddies (lots of Painkillers that day), and one day with the wife and kids (lots of ice cream that day).

There's a lot to see and do in Annapolis. I recommend a cruise on the schooner Woodwind. Watch them sail right through the crowded anchorage. They're nuts. Breakfast at Chick 'n Ruth's is good. Get there early enough for the Pledge of Allegiance. Have a beer at Davis' Pub and another at the Boatyard Bar & Grill.

I always enjoy tooling around the anchorage to look at all the home ports on the transoms. People come from all over for the show. Hop aboard a water taxi for a tour if that interests you too.
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Old 02-22-2011
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VIP Day used to be Industry Day, and a great chance to keep up with innovation and new products. Now, as VIP day, it's a chance to mingle with people who pay too much for tickets and are often rude. Friday is a better day, with Saturday to pick up the follow-through visits.

Make your reservations now - you're already late for most of the hotels within walking distance.
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Marriott is definitely the best place to stay. It's basically connected to the show and many of the seminars are held inside the hotel. I would concur that you should reserve at least 2 days, and Thursday is the best day if you have the time. On Sat/Sun last year there were lines for many of the boats.

Downtown Annapolis is small and easily walkable. Lots of shops and old buildings. Naval Academy is worth a visit and it's walkable from the Marriott. I'd also recommend taking the water taxi or walking to Eastport for dinner one night. The Eastport Yacht Club also usually holds a party during the show, which is fun.

Many of the restaurants along the waterfront are overpriced for what you get. I like the Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport. It's not right on the water but it's a local hangout, the food is good, and it's not as expensive as many places. Another fantastic local spot for crab is Cantler's, which is on the water, but not downtown. You'll need a car to get there. Also, be warned that they do not take reservations and during weekends in nice weather the wait can be up to two hours. But the food really is good.

For visiting DC, it depends on what you like to do...museums? food? shopping? outdoor activities? history?
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Old 02-22-2011
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The boat show is great. We haven't missed a year for the past 10 years. You could spend all five days there and still not see everything. Two days is a must if you want to check out the boats. The VIP day CAN be worth the money as there are almost no lines to get on the boats. Saturday and Sunday can be VERY crowded depending on the weather.

With regards to where to stay - the Marriott, while being at ground zero, has their service focus elsewhere from their guests during the show. They are the staging area for show management, seminars and there is constant traffic through the lobby. They do a decent job managing the large crowds, but the cost is huge. Also, there is a high noise level on many of the floors from nighttime parties. On the other hand, if this is what you're looking for then it's a great place. Keep in mind that the boat show is as much of a get together for vendors and locals as it is a place for you to visit. I had the pleasure of being involved with this side of the show for a year or two and it's one HUGE party for the vendors.

So.. where to stay. There are several places downtown and midtown. You can also do the B&B thing and looking up Historic Inns of Annapolis. Chick & Ruths has some nice rooms above it that are reasonably priced. We usually stay in an area called "Riva Road", which is about 10-15 minutes from the show. We drive to Eastport which is just across Spa Creek and walk over the bridge to the show (you can also take a water taxi). Free on street parking is usually available over there, but if it's not you can usually get a parking spot on someone's lawn or at someone's business for $10. This way you're not reliant on the pay shuttle from the official pay lots, and you can leave whenever you want (and have a place to put stuff).

Places to drink and eat... our normal is Chick & Ruths for lunch (usually not too tough to get in to - maybe a 10-15 minute wait at lunch), Joss Cafe for dinner one night (one of the best sushi menus on the east coast, and awesome Sukiyaki), Cantler's for dinner (best crabs, awesome steamers), Boatyard Grill for drinks (this is where the Americas Cup guys go when in town), Buddies for Sunday brunch (tourist place for dinner, but HUGE and good brunch on Sundays), Adam's Ribs for dinner (great BBQ). We tend to stay away from Pussers except for painkillers (which are a must and a tradition).

There are often offsite sales of things during the show too. For example, Weems & Plath has a sale at their warehouse in Eastport. Several of the other businesses in Eastport also have special sales.

Also, there has traditionally been a Sailnet get together on the Friday night of the show at the Port Annapolis Marina.

Lastly, on Monday afternoon all of the sailboats leave and they reposition the docks for the power show. This is an amazing feat with great choreography. Hang out on shore by Pusser's to watch the event - it's well worth it.
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Old 02-22-2011
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Uh, the sailboat show runs Thur through MON. 1 day for "VIPs" (people willing to pay extra) and F/S/S/M for the rest of us.
My bad. I knew that but never go to the last day of any boat show because everyone is fried and talked-out (been there and done that). I kind of forgot the ending days. Yes, Thursday is the VIP day and does cost more but is worth it, IMO. The vendors aren't tired and you can talk more easily, IMO.

I wasn't aware that the Hirshhorn (yep, spelled correctly) was a Smithsonian museum....learned something new. I agree that the sculpture garden is awesome (Rodin's Burghers of Calais is fantastic).
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