Every year 21st Century Cyber Charter School plans a big, end of the year field trip for their students and families. These field trips are the highlight of the year and no effort or expense is spared by the school. In the past we have joined our teachers on field trips to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; Mt. Vernon (home of George Washington) in Virginia; and a high in the sky climbing course in central Pennsylvania. This year’s field trip took us all the way to the coast as we visited Annapolis, Maryland.
Annapolis is a city no one in our family had ever visited before so we were excited when we heard this year’s field trip would take us on a tour of the Naval Academy and a water tour of the harbor.
The event took place last Wednesday.
To help facilitate the logistics of moving 21st Century students from all corners of Pennsylvania to Maryland in an organized way, four “bus stops” were established throughout the state. The school rented charter buses to transport their families to the field trip. The closest “bus stop” to our home was located an hour away in Monroeville. We were asked to arrive at 5:10 am.
This meant alarms were set for:
And we were headed out the door just before 4:00 am. It was an early morning!
We arrived, checked in with the teachers that were traveling on the Pittsburgh buses, and received our t-shirts to put on. Every year the school has t-shirts made for that year’s field trip. This helps in keeping track of the large crowds, but also serves as a fun souvenir of the experience.
This was the t-shirt design for our Annapolis trip:
Once everyone arrived we loaded on the two buses and prepared for our five hour drive to Annapolis. I was a bit concerned that Tyler would struggle with 10 hours on the road so I packed accordingly, with a backpack full of drinks, snacks, fidget toys, card games, and toys. The bus also had TV screens which allowed the teachers to play Disney movies on the drive out and the drive back. This definitely helped pass the time.
We traveled with our co-op friends. The Hudaks and the Stones were also attending this fieldtrip, so the kids were able to sit together on the bus and we were able to stay together as a group for the tours.
When we arrive we gathered by the water’s edge for the arrival of our tour guide for the day. Annapolis was beautiful!
Charming cobblestone streets, a prime location on the Chesapeake Bay, and centuries of history make Annapolis a great destination for a day trip.
Squire Richard was assigned to our group to give us a tour of the Naval Academy and historic Annapolis. He was funny and informative, a perfect tour guide.
We began our day by touring the Naval Academy:
There’s no denying the U.S. Naval Academy is the anchor of downtown Annapolis. Training the leaders of the United States Navy since 1845, the Naval Academy currently offers 18 different majors and enrolls 4,400 midshipmen. Life for a midshipmen is strictly regimented and while there we spotted plebes, or freshmen midshipmen walking around in their crisply pressed uniforms.
Some of the places we visited were:
The Main Chapel: Here they conduct both Catholic and Protestant services that are open to the public.
The Crypt of John Paul Jones was found below the chapel: Jones was one of the greatest Revolutionary War naval heroes.
From there we headed back to the water’s edge for our harbor tour:
With over 533 miles of shoreline and the Chesapeake Bay as its backyard, there is no better way to experience Annapolis than out on the water. Known as the “Sailing Capital of the US”, a steady parade of sails can be seen throughout the bay while kayakers and paddle boarders prefer to explore the miles of streams and inlets around Annapolis.
For our tour we hopped aboard the Harbor Queen, a 40-minute narrated cruise of the Annapolis Harbor and the banks of the U.S. Naval Academy. It was so nice to get out on the water.
We had a great time on the cruise and were able to learn even more about Annapolis’ history.
While on the water we enjoyed our picnic lunches. It was a bit chilly but one couldn’t deny the exceptional views and the fun novelty of eating on the water.
After our lunch and relaxing sightseeing tour of the water, we met up with Squire Richard once more for our foot tour of historic Annapolis:
With over four centuries of history and a rich mid-Atlantic heritage, Annapolis is known as a “Museum Without Walls”. While strolling through the charming brick paved streets of the historic center we stopped by historic St. Anne’s Church, strolled past the homes of the three signers of the Declaration of Independence that called Annapolis home, and visited the place were history was/is made in the Maryland State House.
While you may know Annapolis as Maryland’s state capital did you know it also briefly the capital of the United States in 1783? That is just one of the secrets I found in this captivating town by the bay.
One of the biggest highlights of these big field trips for my kiddos is the chance to socialize with their teachers whom they love but interact with primarily through the computer. It is always fun to connect in person!
By 2:15 pm it was time to meet back up with the buses for our uneventful, five hour ride back home.
By the time we had arrived back in Pittsburgh we had spent the day sitting in a moving vehicle for 11 hours and no one was eager to climb back into cars for the final one hour drive home. I think our family and the Hudak clan were the last to leave the parking lot.
It was a L-O-N-G day, but a REALLY FUN day!