Walking the Yard at the United States Naval Academy
Day 4 of our road trip consisted mostly of traveling and getting to the next main destination, Washington D.C.! But, along the way we made sure to find some sights and stops to explore.
If you are just joining in on our journey of our epic Summer 2018 Road Trip, then make sure to start at the beginning where we explored Gettysburg, PA to follow along. You can also read about our previous stop to New York City, and the fun filled day we had by clicking HERE.
Troy specifically requested that we visit the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, so I made sure to fit it into the itinerary!
It worked out perfectly, too, because it was on the way down from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Washington D.C.. Along our way to Annapolis, we drove through New Jersey, Delaware, and into Maryland by crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The country was beautiful, and the bridge across the bay was amazing. It was so high and long! We were all amazed by it.
When we reached Annapolis, we went directly to the Naval Academy and entered through the Pedestrian Entrance off of Prince George St. and Craig St. called the Barry Gate. We found parking at the Annapolis Harbormaster’s Office next to the City Dock just down the street from the gate. We were able to use the free public restrooms, walk along the city dock and admire some of the private boats, and get a glimpse of the little area of town next to the Academy before heading onto campus.
Our first stop was at the the Gate 1 Visitor Entrance, where we went through security and showed our IDs, then entered the Quarterdeck and on to the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center to look through the exhibits about the Naval Academy.
The Naval School was started in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. It later became the United States Naval Academy in 1850 where students attend for a consecutive four year curriculum and training. Campus consists of 338-acres!
The exhibits were very informative, interactive, and interesting for the whole family. We read about the ships, the students, the ranks, and more while learning about the past to present history of the U.S. Navy.
Only seven buildings on campus are allowed for visitors to enter. We picked up our map from the visitor center and began walking the beautiful tree lined streets of campus towards Dahlgren Hall. This could be considered the student center and includes a restaurant, memorabilia, and portraits of naval officers.
Upon entering, we found a life size model of a Wright B-1 Flyer, along with ornately decorated details everywhere! As we wandered the hall, we came upon a giant ship model that Sis just had to have her picture taken with before moving on.
We went back outside to continue our self-guided walking tour of campus, and came upon a WWII torpedo on the lawn. Very cool and very exciting for a 6 year old boy!
Our next stop was Bancroft Hall, the largest dormitory in the United States. It was enormous and beautiful, and I wanted to move right in!
While approaching the Hall, we spied a group of cadets marching from the Hall to some other building on campus. The kids were enthralled and wanted to march just like them.
We were able to enter Bancroft Hall and visit the rotunda, the Memorial Hall, and a replica of a midshipman room. The inside of this building was even more exquisite than the outside, and I couldn’t get over that students formed here! It was stunning!
We then walked over to the Main Chapel.
It was extremely warm, but luckily we were there earlier in the day so it was tolerable. And, we were able to cool off by stepping inside the different buildings.
I was a little surprised when we entered the Chapel and found blue carpet and detailing. I don’t know why, though, it is the Navy after all!
It was beautiful and ornate without being overwhelming or over decorated.
Inside the Chapel we found the crypt of the renowned John Paul Jones. He was one of the greatest Revolutionary War naval heroes. He was the commander of the American ship, the USS Ranger. He died in 1792 in Paris, France and was buried in an obscure grave, until he was found and his remains were brought to American in 1905. He has rested in the crypt under the Chapel since then.
We (I mean Troy and I) could have wandered the crypt and the Chapel for quite awhile, but the kids were done with the “boring” stuff, so we headed back outside toward Dahlgren Hall again.
On our way, we found Bill the Goat, the mascot of the Navy. I think this statue was the highlight of the trip for Bubs!
Back at Dahlgren Hall, we went down the stairs this time, to the Drydock Restaurant. With the option of a grill, pizza, or al-a-carte foods, there was something for everyone, and we enjoyed a yummy lunch.
Our tour of the Naval Academy ended with a walk past the officers’ private residences and back out the Barry gate.
A couple of tips for your visit to the Naval Academy:
Pack Light– take only what you may need during your visit, you bag will be checked at security.
You Can Take the Stroller– strollers are allowed but will also have to be checked at security.
Take Water– it was hot and humid when we visited and we were downing the water. It can go through security, and you can refill throughout campus.
Pay for at least 3 hours of parking– we spent just about 3 hours walking, touring, admiring, and eating at the Academy, and we were a little speedier than most people. So be prepared and allow time when you pay for parking.