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Annapolis Ghost Tours

by John Collins, REALTOR

Ghost Tours in Annapolis

Almost everybody likes a good scare every once and a while. However, where can one get a good scare “fix” when it is not Halloween? One good place to look is one of the oldest cities in America, with a long (and sometimes bloody) history. Annapolis, Maryland, is one of the oldest cities in America (founded in 1649) and is filled with tantalizing stories of ghosts and the long-dead. Come find out these dark tales in a walking ghost tour.

Walking Ghost Tour by Lantern Light

Tired of ghost hunting television shows filmed through night-vision goggles as the camera races about?  In Annapolis, ghost tours are done right with the light of a lantern. While you are led through historic Annapolis to the sites of some of its darker past, you will get a chance to view some of the oldest and most historic buildings in the United States.  Highly knowledgeable guides take you through these ghost tours and you'll hear the tales of some of Annapolis’ more colorful departed.

Tales from the Dark Side

Guides will walk you back into Annapolis’ past where you’ll hear the tales of the likes of the Headless Man whose sword fight ended up not in his favor. Hear how Joe Morgue dug graves for 50 years and did not let death stop him from his work!  The tours are conducted at a calm pace and take anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes.

Ghosts, History and maybe some Beer
Tours are broken up by the Walking Ghost Tour and the Haunted Pub Crawls Tours.  Both will wind you though the beautiful and historic section of Old Town Annapolis. For those whose palate runs more towards hops than horror, there is also a craft-beer tour and the Hidden Pub Crawl filled with murder, sex and scandal!

How Do I Join The Fun?

The best way is to get tickets is by going directly to the tour company. Tours are offered every night of the week although the hours vary from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a price of $18 per person. There are even Groupons available for these tours.  Want to avoid a crowd of tourists? You and up to 35 of your friends can schedule your own ghost tour.  Prices start at $250 for a minimum of 15 guests with $13 per extra person.

William Paca House

by John Collins, REALTOR

Step into colonial-era splendor with a tour of the William Paca House in Annapolis, Maryland. Home to three-term Maryland governor and signatory to the Declaration of Independence, this 18th century Georgian mansion was designed by William Paca himself and includes a walled garden and two-story summer home.

William Paca House History

Originally designed as a one-story house, The William Paca House was altered in the 19th century by the addition of a second story and the conversion of the house to a hotel. Changes to the inside and exterior have since been restored so the house hues close to its original appearance. Governor Paca lived in the house from 1765 to 1780 when he sold the house to a Maryland attorney.

Historic Annapolis acquired the house in 1965 after plans were made to demolish the home and put in high-rises and the surrounding property was acquired by the state of Maryland. In 1971, the Paca House was declared a national landmark.

The Paca Gardens

Two acres of lush plants and trees surround the Paca House in a pleasure garden originally designed by William Paca. Much of the garden fell into disarray in the late 19thcentury after the house was converted into a hotel. An extensive campaign to restore the gardens to their original beauty took place in the late 1960’s. Much of the beauty of the gardens including a pond, canal and bridge were considered lost but were later discovered after excavation work began on the gardens.

The upper terrace of the gardens provides space for gathering and entertaining. The middle terrace shows off heirloom roses and colorful blooms and period style landscaping. The lower terrace of the garden houses a pond whose bridge leads to the summer house and includes lush paths through lawns and native plants.


Once known as Carvell Hall, this national landmark is open to tours for individuals and groups. Daily tours are available and last 40 minutes. Self-tours of the gardens are available any time during business hours. The William Paca House is closed for tours during the month of January and re-opens for tours in February.  Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for kids and teens aged 6 to 17 and children under 5 are free.  For reservations or more information click on the Historical Annapolis Foundation Website or call 410-990-4543.

The Nutcracker Tea

by John Collins, REALTOR

While there are many holiday traditions that take place in Annapolis each year, including candlelight tours and the Parade of Lights, one of the more popular events is the annual Nutcracker Tea at the Westin Hotel. This year’s Nutcracker Tea will be held on Saturday, December 17, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

A Magical Holiday Tradition

Decked out for the holidays with a gingerbread model of Annapolis, the lobby of The Westin offers plenty of holiday cheer and lights as kids and adults take part in what is becoming one of the most sought-after holiday events in Annapolis. Characters from the Ballet Theatre of Maryland pose for holiday pictures and greet guests as they gather in the lobby. An abundance of hot chocolate and holiday treats are served while The Nutcracker Ballet comes alive. Ballerinas from the cast of The Nutcracker Ballet perform excerpts of Tchaikovsky’s classic.

After the ballet, Santa and Mrs. Claus make a special appearance to read A Night before Christmas before heading back to the North Pole. Each child attending this special event receives a toy from Franklin Toys and adults get a special tea sampler from Capital Teas. Door prizes from Smyth Jewelers and a child’s tea set are given away at each sitting.

Tickets and Information

Tickets for The Nutcracker Tea are $42 each and tend to sell out quickly with sittings in the morning and afternoon. Families and groups of friends can reserve tables. Buy tickets by calling 410-267-9390 or online.

Post-Tea Activities

A stroll down the cobblestone streets after this magical performance is a must. Families can look out onto the Chesapeake Bay or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. Galleries, shopping centers, and tours of downtown Annapolis are just minutes away. Tickets are also available for those who want to see full performances of the Nutcracker by Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

The Nutcracker Tea is one of the many holiday events for Annapolis families to enjoy. With hot chocolate, tea, and an up-close look at ballerinas in action, kids and adults alike will get into the holiday spirit and leave with smiles on their faces.

Parade of Lights Cruise

by John Collins, REALTOR

Celebrate the holiday season in style this year with a Parade of Lights Cruise on the majestic Catherine Marie. From the climate-controlled decks of this elegant yacht, you and your friends and family can take part in this annual Annapolis tradition comfortably and in style.

Exclusive Waterfront Dinning

The evening begins on December 10th with fine waterfront dinning at the Severn Inn. With a great view of the Naval Academy Bridge,the Severn Inn is popular place to take out of town guests for a drink or casual dining at the popular Sunday brunch.

While taking in panoramic views of Annapolis and the Severn River, diners can relax and choose from a menu of local and seasonal dishes along with the catch of the day. After dinner and drinks, it’s all aboard the Catherine Marie for dessert and an hour and a half cruise around the Chesapeake Bay.

Cruising in Style

Each year, the members of the Eastport Yacht Club decorate more than 70 power and sail boats with everything from sparkling lights to elaborate moving displays and parade through the Annapolis Harbor during this holiday tradition. From the simple boats with blinking lights to the elaborately decorated displays depicting Santa and his reindeer to showing support for the Naval Academy, this event is fun for the whole family and draws hundreds of people to area. The best view of the annual Parade of Lights can be seen from one of the three decks of the Catherine Marie. Annapolis is rich with naval history and colonial heritage and is considered the center of the sailing and boating community in the Mid-Atlantic.

Champagne and Fireworks

After dessert and viewing of the lights, the evening ends with a champagne toast and fireworks display and a short cruise back to shore. Parking is free at the Severn Inn so there’s no need to rush back to shore after the tour.

Book a Passage

There are many ways to ring in the holidays in the Annapolis area including taking in a concert, going on a holiday walking tours, and participating in extended midnight madness shopping hours in the downtown area. To truly make your holiday season special this year, book a passage on the Parade of Lights Tour. This December 10th is the date, and the tour is costs $119 per person and fills up quickly.

Navy Football

by John Collins, REALTOR

Navy footballCollege Rivalries in Sports

College football breeds rivalries and one of the greatest, capturing the imagination of America, is the Army-Navy game. This year’s Army-Navy game will be played on December 10, in Washington, D.C. with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m.

There are many types of college football rivalries with colorful histories including “The Game” between Michigan and Ohio State, the “Civil War” between the University of Oregon and Oregon State or the Iron Bowl matching Alabama and Auburn. But year after year, the Army-Navy game uniquely pits the two oldest service academies, and the game has a long history going back almost to the start of the sport.

The Game

This long time, inter-service rivalry between the Midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the Black Knights of the U.S. StatesMilitary Academy at West Point, NY has continued since the first game in 1890. This game came about due to a challenge to Cadet Dennis Mahan and his Army squad by the Navy team. From that first game held at West Point to today, the rivalry has caught the attention of the entire nation.

This game has often been played the weekend after Thanksgiving with it usually being held in Pennsylvania being half-way between the two Academies.This year’s contest will be held in Washington, D.C. at FedEx Field.

This rivalry featured the first use of instant replay in football, during the Army-Navy Game of 1963, where a one-yard touchdown was overturned. The importance of who wins the Army-Navy game is such that much of the life in West Point and Annapolis revolves around this yearly contest. So much so that the weights in the gyms at the Naval Academy have been stamped with Beat Army!

The Mascots

Both team mascots have a long association with their service. The USNA mascot, Bill the Goat, comes from a Navy legend of a ship mascot who died during a cruise but whose skin was kept for later taxidermy. However the two midshipman stopped along the way to catch the Army-Navy game on the way to the taxidermist and one choose to wear the pelt which is credited for helping win the game. The Army Mule mascot is actually three mules, each of which have their own unique names such as Raider or Ranger. The mule has long been associated with the Army from hauling supplies to pulling canons.

The Competition

Currently Navy leads Army with 55 wins, 49 losses and 7 ties. However just being the leader in wins hides many of the event’s notable games. In 1945, when Army & Navy went into the game as the #1 and #2 teams, Army beat the 7-0-1 Navy team in what was then called the Game of the Century.

Don’t miss this year’s Army-Navy game on December 10

A Christmas Noel with the CPC Chamber Singers

by John Collins, REALTOR

Christmastime is about traditions whether they are spiritual, cultural or personal family traditions. The holidays invoke loving memories of times past even as we strive to create new cherished memories to pass on. One great part of the Christmas tradition is listening to holiday music. If one lives or is visiting the greater Annapolis-Baltimore area, one way to be involved with the making of a cherished memory is to spend an evening with the Columbia Pro Cantare Chamber Singers.


The Columbia Pro Cantare (CPC) has been dubbed “one of the elite choirs of Maryland” by the Baltimore Sun. Founded in 1977 by Frances Dawson, the CPC has been delighting crowds throughout Howard County and Baltimore with music ranging from opera and show-tunes to oratorios and spirituals. Since the formation of the Columbia Pro Cantare, an estimated 100,000 people have been exposed to some of the best musicals works ever created. 

A Christmas Noël

In what is becoming is becoming a Howard County holiday tradition, the Columbia Pro Cantare is proud to perform A Christmas Noël on December 11th at the Christ Episcopal Church starting at 3:00 p.m. The Christmas Noël performance will be mixture of classic holiday music from the Renaissance era to the present day. Twenty eight hand-picked members of the CPC known as the Chamber Singers will perform and its founder, Francis Dawson, will be conducting. Information on this event can also be found on the CPC Facebook page. 

 The Old Brick

The location for the concert is the Christ Episcopal Church at 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD. This church, dubbed “the Old Brick” stands on the original site of one of the first churches built in North America. The original church was built in 1728 as part of Queen Caroline Parish. The current church was constructed in 1809 and was added to the National Register of Historic sites in 1978. The Old Brick is not only worth visiting for its historic value but is well known for its sound quality which makes the Christmas Noël performance even more attractive.

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Contact Information

Photo of John Collins, Realtor Real Estate
John Collins, Realtor
JohnCollinsGroup of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
108 Old Solomons Island Road - U4
Annapolis MD 21401
Office: 410-224-4999
Cell: 410-693-6000
Fax: 410-224-4032 Email: John@JohnCollinsGroup.
John Collins, Realtor
 Office: 410-224-4999 * Cell: 410-693-6000

 John Collins Group of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
108 Old Solomons Island Road, Suite U-4
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
   Office: 410-224-4999 * Cell: 410-693-6000 * Fax: 410-224-4032

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John Collins, Realtor