Touting the trolley tour!
Don't miss Discover Annapolis Tours!
Treat yourself to an hour of good company, lovely sights and interesting historical information in a charming, comfortable setting—take the Discover Annapolis Trolley Tour.
Don't procrastinate, don't hesitate—head over to the Visitors Center (currently in the Arundel Center on Cathedral Street) and hop aboard for sixty minutes of relaxing fun. If you're closer to the City Dock, pop in to the HistoryQuest Museum . You can catch the trolley tour there as well for a forty-minute version of the same tour.
The Discover Annapolis Tours originated with Matt Grubbs over twelve years ago. Matt was a Junior Guide for Historic Annapolis Foundation in the early 1970s, when he was a teenager. Matt recognized that he enjoyed introducing the city to visitors, and they appreciated his expertise and enthusiasm.
After graduating from college, Matt explored other business opportunities, but in the back of his mind, a business related to tourism always sounded like fun. In 1994, he conducted a survey and found that people wanted a tour that wasn't entirely self-propelled; instead, they wanted to see Annapolis from the comfort of a touring vehicle—preferably one with air conditioning. Matt knew that he was just the guy to provide those tours.
That winter, he did his business homework. Matt researched and planned. He found a perfect little 24-passenger minibus that could make its way through the narrow streets of Annapolis . After purchasing the bus, he repaired, cleaned, and upgraded it, added a sound system, and settled upon a tour route through the City's narrow streets and around its sharp corners.
Then, he went to work on his narrative. With his old Junior-Guide tour notes as the starting point, Matt wrote a script for his tour—street by street, historic site by historic site.
In 1995, Matt Grubbs launched his little business, Discover Annapolis Tours.
Working alone for the first six years, Matt learned what succeeded and what didn't. The biggest problem: paring down his narration to fit the six-to-ten seconds he had while the minibus crawled past the Paca or Brice House.
As a result, Matt has devised one of the most succinct, informative and entertaining tour narratives one can experience. It includes a blend of historical, horticultural and architectural anecdotes; important dates and information are included in an engaging manner.
Things have changed for Matt and his little tour van over the last twelve years. Most important, he has a partner now—his wife Marie, who helps with the tour company and runs two businesses of her own: Mary Kay Cosmetics and Marie's Gift Arrangements gift baskets. Matt and Marie have added a new "full-time employee," now four years old: their son Ryan. There are now two trolleys running tours as well as the trusty, original minibus.
Discover Annapolis Tours welcomes both out-of-towners and local residents on the trolley tours. Anne Arundel County residents with picture IDs can take the 60-minute tour for FREE—as long as there are seats available, no advanced reservations. Also, if you're entertaining yet another round of guests from out-of-town, and they're clamoring to see the sights, this is a tour that will keep you happy as well as please your guests. And, if you accompany your friends, they get $1 off their tickets. What a deal!
Discover Annapolis Tours has also expanded its transportation services beyond tours. They offer transportation for weddings: getting the bridal party to-and-from the ceremony in fine style and shuttling wedding guests to-and-from church and reception and parking lots (critical logistical issues for a wedding in Annapolis ). The Discover Annapolis Tour trolley can often be seen on the Naval Academy Yard, not for regular tours, but for pre-arranged weddings at the Chapel and celebrations at the Officers' Club.
Those cute little trolleys are even enhancing Annapolis 's conference, business and corporate meetings. Arrangements can be made to have the trolleys shuttle participants between various meeting sites and their hotels, and often provide tours and arrange entertainment for the spouses who are not attending the business meeting or conference. Arranging a trolley shuttle or tour can be a great addition to a family outing or reunion, a birthday or anniversary party.
In fact, Discover Annapolis Tours can make arrangements with Reynolds Tavern to conclude your trolley tour with High Tea, or they can provide a water view of Annapolis and the Naval Academy for your group onboard the Harbor Queen. Perhaps your group would enjoy a trolley tour that visits historic gardens, like those of the Paca House and London Town .
The group wants time to shop? The trolley will drop everyone at Maryland Avenue for an hour of wandering through art galleries and specialty shops, then pick-up everyone and carry tired shoppers and their parcels back to hotels or on to another shopping stop down on Main Street or out at the Mall.
There's a comprehensive web site you can refer to for complete details on all the tours and services offered. Go to www.discover-annapolis.com or call 410-626-6000. Tickets can be purchased in advance on-line.
For the sixty-minute tour commencing at the Visitors' Center, adults pay $15; youth, ages 11-15, $7; children, 10 and under, $3. The forty-minute tour that begins at HistoryQuest is a bit less expensive. If you're paying the tour guide at the Visitors' Center, only cash or checks are acceptable. You can also buy tickets at History Quest Museum downtown where credit cards are accepted. And, remember, County residents can take the sixty-minute tour for free on a seats-available basis.
Tours run daily from April through November, except for Sunday mornings. December through March there are usually tours every Saturday.