Maryland's capital since 1694, Annapolis has changed little over the centuries, its charmingly narrow, time-worn streets making it among the more engaging small US cities. At its center is the 1779 Maryland State House (Mon– Fri 9am–5pm, Sat & Sun 10am–4pm; tours at 11am & 3pm; Tel:410/974-3400; free) which for six months, between 1783 and 1784, served as the official capitol of the US; it remains the nation's oldest statehouse still in use.
Many grand late-eighteenth-century brick homes line the streets of Annapolis. The red-brick 1774 villa of the Hammond-Harwood House, 19 Maryland Ave (April– Oct Tues– Sun noon–5pm, last tour at 4pm; Web: www.hammondharwoodhouse.org ; $6) is notable for its beautifully carved woodwork and intricate front doorway. The 1774 Chase-Lloyd House, 22 Maryland Ave (Mon– Sat 2–4pm; donation; Tel:410/263-2723), is a three-storey Georgian brick townhouse with grand stairway, interior Ionic columns, and intricate ornamentation. Finally, the 1765 William Paca House, 186 Prince George St (winter Fri– Sun noon–5pm; rest of year Mon– Sat 10am–5pm, Sun noon–5pm; Tel:410/267-7619; $8 including tour), is decorated in warm, rich colours with ornate furniture. Besides such elite manors, dozens of eighteenth-century clapboard cottages and warehouses fill the narrow streets that run down to the waterfront. The Historic Annapolis Foundation, housed in a c.1715 tavern at 18 Pinkney St (Tel:410/267-7619, Web: www.annapolis.org ), can provide information on self-guided tours.