128 miles from Philadelphia (2 hours and 20 minutes by car)
Innkeeper Robert Zuchelli says many of his guests at this four-square cedar-shake-shingled inn come from Philly — a fact that might be explained by the easy kinship Philadelphians feel with Annapolis. After all, the breezy bay city is rather like Philly in that it combines the historical and traditional with the urbane and eclectic — with the added bonus of the ocean. One day you might tour colonial homes along cobblestone streets, passing uniformed midshipmen at the historic Naval Academy, and eat at the Treaty of Paris, an 18th-century gem where Ben Franklin dined when he made the trip from Philly; the next, you might take a sailing lesson on the Chesapeake, hit the boutiques, then sup at trendy Osteria 177, a local favorite for Italian fare.
As for why we all choose Zuchelli’s B&B as our Annapolis base, we can only guess that a handful of vacationers returned home with tales of an innkeeper who effortlessly plays concierge; of his restored inn, with its antiques-filled rooms that are pretty, not stuffy; and of forking up Zuchelli’s orange pancakes on that fabulous, verdant wraparound porch.
Book it: 8 Martin Street, 800-364-4160, williampageinn.com.
Rate per night: $190 to $295; 2-night weekend minimum; special-event weekends (such as the Naval Academy graduation) may require more than 2 nights for a stay.
Snacks: Coffee, tea, soda, juice and water available all day.
Meals on-site: Breakfast.
Don’t miss: Lunch at Chick & Ruth’s Delly, an Annapolis institution where the sandwiches are named after politicians, the owner does magic tricks, and every morning the whole place — customers included — holds hands to hearts to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bonus: Robert can get you last-minute dinner reservations at the city’s best restaurants. He’s connected.
Best comment in the guest registry: “Not a speck of dust ANYWHERE!”