Friday, July 1, 2011

Navy Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is located in Annapolis, MD, 30 miles east of Washington, DC and 30 miles south of Baltimore, MD. Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, is situated at the mouth of the Severn River on the Chesapeake Bay and is known for its sailing (the city is known as “The Sailing Capital of the World”) and historic downtown district. Perhaps the most important piece of information to have up front is that the Navy Marine Corps Stadium where the game will be played is not on the Naval Academy campus. It is actually located about a mile and a half northwest from downtown on Rowe Blvd. Visit the Annapolis Visitor Center website for a slew of information. If you are visiting Annapolis for the first time I highly recommend getting in a day early. A visit to the the Naval Academy is a must. Parking and Visitor info is available in a nice printable map. There is so much to do in the area. I suggest using the Official Maryland or the Washington D.C. Guides.


Midshipmen March On About 30 Minutes Before Kickoff Thanks to DC Pages.

Naval Academy Things to Do List
(Thanks to Scout poster Unrep)

1) Go to "Noon Meal" formation in front of Bancroft Hall in Tecumseh Court.
2) Turn around and see Tecumseh painted up for spirit before the game.
3) Once noon meal formation is over go inside Bancroft and see Memorial Hall. The Annapolis Peace Conference was held there in 2007. Dedicated to fallen Navy and Marine Corps heroes and Academy Alumni. Some neat Naval Artifacts. Sample Mid's room as you enter Bancroft on the right.
4) Tour the Chapel and John Paul Jones Crypt.
5) Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall has historic artifacts and priceless sailing ship models.
6) Drydock in Dahlgren Hall a good place for a bite to eat and a soda on campus.
7) Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center has a 12 minute movie about "The Academy", exhibits, and gift shop. The visitor center is where you go to start your USNA tour.


Noon Formation--hated by the Mids, loved by all others

FLYING

There are three major airports in the area. The closest to Annapolis is the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (aka BWI or Thurgood Marshall Airport). BWI has Southwest Airlines, AirTran and USA3000 and because of that the airfares are usually very competitive. The other Airports are Reagan National (DCA) in Washington DC and Dulles International (IAD) on the west side of DC. Both DC airports will require considerable more travel time, although cheaper airfare can be found at times. Reagan is literally within about a mile or two from the US Capital. It should be a serious option if you plan on visiting DC. It has several discount air carriers. Washington Dulles (IAD) is the international gateway but is the furthest away. NOTE: DC and Baltimore traffic is atrocious. I would try to avoid traveling by car anytime from 6-9am and 3-7pm during the work week.

GETTING FROM BWI TO ANNAPOLIS

All major car rental companies are represented at BWI. Driving from BWI to Annapolis is very easy. Airport traffic is relatively light for a major airport and the drive to Annapolis is quick and easy. About 30 minutes total travel time, most of which is on limited access highways.

Airport Shuttle
Van transportation from BWI to many destinations in the Annapolis Area. Reservations are recommended (you can reserve a private van or share one with other travelers). Prices generally run about $40 one way for a single person on a shared ride (prices go down with more passengers on a reservation). A reserved van runs about $111 each way


TAXI AND BUS

Taxi service to Annapolis is relatively easy. Make sure you make return reservations as there are not a large number of taxis in the Annapolis area. RMA sedans and Limos also serve BWI. Trip cost is approximately $69 to Annapolis.

Annapolis Transit Buses
Only operates Monday through Friday
Departs BWI at :45 after odd hours
Last bus departs BWI at 5:45pm

TRAIN

Amtrak service is available. You should arrive at Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI) train station. The station is actually a little over a mile from the Airport Terminal but is connected via free shuttles. The airport shuttle offers convenient service for Amtrak patrons to Annapolis. Another option is to rent a car at the train station station.

GETTING TO USNA

Directions to the campus can be found on the Academy’s website:
It’s important to note that there are restrictions on the campus as it is a military base. Unless you have DOD stickers and military ID, you can not drive on the installation and there is no public parking on site (vehicles with handicap placards can park on campus after a vehicle inspection). There are parking decks in downtown Annapolis within short walking distance to the main gate. You must have photo ID if you’re over age 16. Visiting hours are 9am – 5pm. During these hours, there are guided walking tours of the campus which depart from the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center (home to a gift store and Naval Academy museum).

For those driving down from points north of Wilmington, Delaware – if you’re driving down on Friday before the game and want to avoid rush hour traffic around Baltimore, you might consider alternate routes, such as the one found here.



Annapolis has a Great Downtown to Browse

DIRECTIONS TO STADIUM

DIRECTIONS TO THE STADIUM (Courtesy of the Navy Sports Dept)

FROM THE NORTH
• Take I 97 South to US 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM WASHINGTON
(WEST)

• Take US 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM THE SOUTH
• Take I 95 North to 495 East
• Take I 495 East to 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM THE EAST
• Take US 50 West across the Bay
Bridge
•Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (South)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

The stadium is named Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It was built in 1959 and renovated in 2004. It seats about 35,000.



Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium






PARKING

The Blue and Gold parking lots at the stadium are all reserved parking spaces. There are single game parking passes, but these go fast and are determined after season parking passes are sold. Check early with the Navy ticket office for availability (1-800-US4-NAVY). There is a parking lot at Germantown Elementary school (here is another google map view) for $20 a car…but get there early! The parking guide also says RV parking is $60. Germantown Lot opens at 10am. This seems late for a noon kickoff. You can find parking info on the Navy website. A printable fan guide with a lot of parking info. RV'ers: Bad news, looks like no overnight parking. In fact I'm not sure if visiting RV's are allowed to park next to the stadium where the Navy RV's park. I suggest you call the Naval Academy to find out where you can park. The closest Campground for your RV is the KOA. For Military RV'ers there is a fam camp you can try. Important: Arrive to the stadium early. The entire brigade marches from the campus to the stadium, culminating in the march on that takes place about 30 minutes before kickoff. If you’ve never seen it, it is a must-attend event.


Stadium Map

There are also shuttle buses from downtown to the stadium for those who park in the decks. There is also a park-and-ride off of Riva Road that has shuttles to the stadium on game day. All the info you need is with Pinnacle Parking.


Downtown Parking Available on Gameday

Tailgating

Tailgating is awesome here. The lots open at 7am at the season pass lots next to the stadium. Expect more civilized tailgating with expansive spreads. If you are a burger and beer guy you shouldn't feel out of place though. One thing different is you won't see a bunch of drunk coeds or local knuckleheads spoiling the day.

Your 2011 Gameday Guide is here . It lists all the info you need to know to enjoy your visit to the stadium.

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:

Not a lot of places real close by. The closest is Grauls Market. Wine, Hard and Beer Liquor can be found through a google search. Maryland law leaves it up to the individual Counties in regards to what type of establishments can and cannot sell beer, wine and liquor (the good news is you can find beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores in the Eastern Shore counties). The state totally leaves it up to the counties. There are plenty of convenience stores in the state that sell beer, it just depends on the licensing process in that particular county. The closest liquor store is located in a drugstore next to Grauls Market. Mills Fine Wine and Spirits is located between the stadium and the Naval Academy. It offers a great selection of wine and spirits.

Scalping

From what I could tell Maryland allows you to resell tickets to football games but limits the amount to basically face value. The best spot to find extra tickets is at the tailgates. I have always found Service Academy Fans very gracious and will sell extra tickets to opponents. I would troll the tailgate lots before game time. As game time approaches you can find tickets leading to the stadium.

If you run into a professional scalper as opposed to a fan. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plummet to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.



Seating Chart--click to enlarge

Lodging

There are 3 distinct types of lodging available in Annapolis: the “luxury” hotels in downtown Annapolis, Bed and Breakfasts in downtown, and your standard hotels outside of the historic area. Here is a nice overview map of where everything is located.

Luxury Hotels

There are two hotels in downtown Annapolis – the Lowe’s Annapolis and The Annapolis Mariott Waterfront. Both hotels are within walking distance of downtown and the stadium. Both will cost you $300+ a night (not including parking). The Westin isn't on the Water but is centrally located near everything. O'Callaghan Hotel is also close by and isn't your usual US cookie cutter motel. Both hotels are located on West Street within walking distance of USNA, City Dock, and the stadium. They also offer shuttle service for guests. Several Historic Inns can be found in Annapolis. These are generally smaller hotels but usually pamper you like the best luxury chains. Check out the Maryland Inn, Governor Calvert House, and the Robert Johnson House.

Bed and Breakfasts

Probably for the older fan who doesn’t plan on being drunk and rowdy late at night. These B&B's are all owned and operated by single families, and none have more than 5 rooms. Most cost anywhere from $100-$200 less than the downtown hotels. Most don’t allow children or pets and have two night minimums on the weekends. These tend to fill up early in the fall, so advance reservations are highly recommended.

The Flag House Inn is one of the more recognized B&B’s in Annapolis, not just because of it’s location, but because the owners fly the state or country flag of each of the visitors. The owners, Bill and Charlotte Schmickle, had a son graduate from the Naval Academy in 1999, and Bill spent time as an adjunct professor at the Academy. Bill also spent many years as the chairman of the Annapolis Historical Preservation Society. The combination of close ties to the Academy and the city give them a unique insight into all things Annapolis.


Flag House Inn--One of Annapolis' many B+B's

Standard Lodging

There are numerous chain hotels in the Annapolis Mall area (about 2-3 miles from the stadium). A comprehensive list can be found at the visitor’s center website. Google also shows about 10 of the properties. For those eligible to stay (Military) at the Navy Lodge you need to call early.

DINING

Annapolis is known for fine dining especially seafood and steaks. Before we explore Annapolis fine dining I'll recommend a few casual dining places. For Breakfast and lunch try Chick & Ruth's Delly (close to the Naval Academy). Another quaint lunch joint is the Cafe Normandie. Five Guys is a growing chain of burger joints. They are noted for big greasy burgers, hot dogs, lots of fries and free peanuts. Note: Order half the amount of fries you think you'll eat...trust me. When you get your fries expect to get twice as much as you ordered. Looking for Pizza, Strombolis and Wings; try Pizzaboli. California Pizza Kitchen is a national chain but they do a good job in delivering numerous specialty pizzas. They are located at the Annapolis Mall. The Mexican Cafe generally has good reviews for Mexican Food. Finally, a solid Brew Pub is the Ram's Head Tavern.

Annapolis delivers a pair of nationally known restaurants. Ruth's Chris, and the Chart House are both here. Some of the best local fine dining can be found at: Lewnes Steakhouse, Carrol's Creek Waterfront (surf and turf), Carrapaccio's (Tuscan), O'Leary's Seafood, Middleton Tavern (Historic, a short walk from Gate 1), Butcher's Block (a unique store/restaurant), Galway Bay (Irish), for ribs try Adam's Rib, and the Lemongrass (Thai)


We've Got Crabs! Maryland is famous for their crabs. Crab cakes is something you should try before leaving. Several restaurants come recommended: Buddy's Crabs (short walk from the Naval Academy Gate #1), Cantler's across the bridge to the north, Mike's Crab House a couple miles to the southwest and Harris Crab House on the other side of the bridge going over to the eastern shore.


Mike's Crab House--click to enlarge

Sports Bars
Annapolis has several sports bars that offer TVs for watching football before or after the game. The West End Grill offers an upscale look but still maintains a sports bar resume with 11 plasma screens. Hero's offers satellite TVs with a Fire Dept Theme. It is just north of the stadium. Wild Willie's (nee: Sharky's) is a sports bar/pool hall/music. It turns into full fledged bar at 9 pm on Saturdays. About Five miles SW of downtown is the Original Steak House & Sports Theatre in Edgewater. I'm sure how many TV's they have but they might be worth a call.

LIBATIONS
Scout poster Gaetano01 suggests several places downtown for evening drinks.

1) O'Briens Oyster Bar: almost always live music on the weekends, decent food and oysters
2) McGarvey's Saloon: aviator motif
3) Dock St Bar and Grill: live music upstairs
4) Federal House: a middie favorite.
5) Ram's Head Tavern: live music
6) Middleton's Tavern: Have a drink where George Washington did.
7) Armadillo's: next to Dock St; can watch Mids bolting for the pedestrian gate before liberty expires, or bolting for a good place to jump the wall (Gate 0). Finally a website listing many other bars.

SHOPPING

If you are taking along a spouse who isn't interested in watching the game, the Annapolis Mall is large with a great mix of stores. A nice upscale lifestyle center is at Annapolis Harbour Center. Finally, another new lifestyle center is the impressive Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole. It has a ton of great stores and desirable restaurants.

GOLF

Maryland's mild climate allows you to play golf throughout the football season. The first few courses listed are for golfers of all skill levels on a budget.

Eisenhower Golf Course:
Crafted by renowned architect Ed Ault from more than 220 acres of splendidly wooded landscape, Eisenhower's meandering terrain takes golfers through forestland, around one of Maryland's finest lakes, and alongside numerous creeks and swales. Eisenhower's championship layout boasts bent grass greens and plush fairways, welcoming golfers of all abilities. Golfers have long enjoyed playing Eisenhower Golf Course, Anne Arundel County's first public golf course. Since Eisenhower's opening in 1969, the 6,659-yard course has provided a fun and challenging golf experience for tens of thousands of area golfers.


Eisenhower Golf Course

Bay Hills Golf Club
Bay Hills Golf Club was designed in 1969 by renowned golf course architect Ed Ault. The scenic 18 hole golf course finds its beauty in its wooded rolling terrain. Players must place a premium on strategy and shot placement to conquer the six doglegs, 52 bunkers, and water which comes into play on 10 of the 18 holes. The Zoysia grass fairways at Bay Hills gives it a distinct lush condition. Bay Hills layout and conditioning gives players of all skill levels a challenging fun golf experience.

United States Naval Academy Golf Course,
is located in Annapolis. If you get a chance to play you should go. It is open to Military and their guests. Prices are below market.


Upscale Golf

South River

South River i being converted to a private course however it looks like you can still play in 2008. Diverse and well-manicured, Atlantic Golf at South River is an 18-hole shot makers challenge designed by Brian Ault and nestled in the South River Colony community, conveniently located just outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

Renditions

Internationally acclaimed, Renditions salutes the great championships, champions and courses of golf’s Grand Slam. Each of Renditions eighteen holes is a replica of a hole from a golf course that has hosted one or more of golf’s four major championships: The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open and The PGA Championship, plus a hole from The Players Championship, golf’s "fifth major."

Open to the public, Renditions is an award-winning development that offers a unique opportunity to “walk in the pro’s shoes" for a day and play replicas of holes that are historically significant to golf.

Queenstown Harbour

Welcome to Queenstown Harbor, one of the foremost golf experiences just outside Washington, D.C. Here, 36 holes of championship golf on two unique layouts, amid spectacular Chesapeake Bay waterfront beauty and contemporary style, combine for an unforgettable round at Maryland’s premier golf destination. Superior service, including our premium forecaddies, makes Queenstown Harbor the perfect play. The Courses Experience two stunning 18-hole tracks.


Queenstown Harbour

Compass Pointe

Golfers are celebrating the opening of Compass Pointe - Anne Arundel County's newest and only 36 hole public golf facility. - where they can enjoy a premium golf experience at an affordable price. Compass Pointe's 36-holes of championship caliber golf was designed by award-winning architect Lindsay Ervin. The "four nines" - North, South, East and West - cover more than 800 acres of diverse woodland, and provide a wide variety of golf terrains and challenges for golfers of all skill levels.



I'd like to thank Navy Alumnus Andy Schmickle '99, Unrep, Gaetano01, Witt94 and several other Scout Board Posters for helping me with this guide. Their help was invaluable.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.

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