Get Away: Holiday On the Bay

Get Away: Holiday On the Bay

Plus, sleep like a POTUS at the renovated Mayflower Hotel in D.C.

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Boats decked in holiday lights cruise around the Annapolis waterfront in the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade each year.
Photo by Robert Peterson

Maryland’s capital city offers light spectacles and holiday fun on the waterfront. Here are our picks for things to do in Annapolis this season:

Lights on the Bay, located in Annapolis’s Sandy Point State Park, is a 2-mile scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay that’s dotted with roughly 70 light displays, including a Colonial village akin to historic Annapolis and one of U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen tossing their hats. Open nightly Nov. 19-Jan. 1. $15 per car.

Board the garland-trimmed Miss Anne’s Jolly Express “sleigh ride” with Santa at the helm. The 45-minute cruise around Spa Creek on a 24-foot boat includes hot cocoa, warm blankets and holiday music. Cruises are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in December (with the exception of Dec. 10); $23 for adults, $13 for children under 12.

Rides on Miss Anne’s Jolly Express include hot cocoa. Photo by Sabrina Raymond

Dec. 10 is the 34th Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, when dozens of boats decorated with colorful lights in various shapes—think sleighs, snowflakes and mermaids—parade around the Annapolis waterfront. Visit the yacht club website for a list of prime viewing locations.

Cap the day, or night, with a popular spiked eggnog at Galway Bay Irish Pub.

If you want to stay the night, consider the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand. Remodeled in 2015, it is the city’s only waterfront hotel. Guest rooms feature nautical décor, and many have water views.

For a full list of holiday events and hotel information, go to

The Mayflower Hotel’s renovated rooms include plush bedding.

Sleep like a POTUS

The Mayflower Hotel has shared a storied history with presidents since its opening in 1925. Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote his famous “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” inaugural address at the hotel. Harry S. Truman dubbed The Mayflower “Washington’s second best address” after a stint in the presidential suite while the White House was being remodeled. A $20 million renovation, completed last year, refashioned the hotel’s 581 rooms and suites in an elegant palette of grays and jewel tones. The rooms’ signature feature is custom-designed wallpaper that displays Mayflower guest book signatures of John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, Sophia Loren and others.

Pick a blue or red keycard to show your political preference.

Part of Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection brand since 2015, The Mayflower also reflects its capital spirit in the new library (with books about presidents and inspirational leaders), and in your ability to select either a red or blue keycard for your room. The lobby level Edgar Bar & Kitchen—named for J. Edgar Hoover, who dined at the hotel daily—opened in 2013 and features American brasserie cuisine. Rates begin at $189 per night.

1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-347-3000,

The new Highland Lodge at Liberty Mountain Resort, where tubing and fire pits are among the outdoor options

Snow time

Liberty Mountain Resort, located 8 miles from Gettysburg, debuts several new perks this winter. The outdoor Alpine Courtyard Ice Skating Rink joins the winter sports roster of skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Adirondack chairs and fire pits are rinkside, where you can warm up with cocoa, chili and soups available from McKee’s Tavern.

This popular day-trip destination has also added reasons to spend the night. The new stone and cedar Highland Lodge, opened in December 2015, is home to 17 rooms and suites, a spa and two new restaurants. The resort has 99 additional rooms, all renovated within the last five years, in two other buildings. The Highland Lodge’s indoor relaxation options include a saltwater pool, a large hot tub with mountain views and the Laventide Salon & Spa. Snow activities typically begin in mid-December, weather permitting. Rates begin at $174 per night, double occupancy, and include breakfast and a 10 percent discount on lift tickets and equipment rentals.

78 Country Club Trail, Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania; 717-642-8282,

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