The Annapolis City Marina is a busy but accommodating stopover in the old capital.
You can count on two types of businesses to be busy on a sunny day in Annapolis:the ice-cream parlors and the fuel docks. And as I scan the harbor at lunchtime from my outdoor table at Carrol's Creek Cafe, today is no exception. From here I can see several boats traveling in circles in front of the bright red fuel dock building at Annapolis City Marina. Just like the people at the ice-cream parlors, the boats are patiently waiting in line for their fuel fix.
ACM's fuel dock and accompanying store, rebuilt in early 2005, are the focal point of the marina. Not only can you fuel up or pump out your boat there, but you can catch the water taxi (ACM is one of its designated stops) or stop by to cool down - the air conditioning inside is usually set at "meat locker." The ship's store has several coolers full of beverages (both adult and kiddie), ice, marine supplies, ice cream, Starbucks coffee and the requisite T-shirts and sweatshirts. There is also a sink and counter area for boaters to use, lots of brochures about things to do in town, one of the nicest public restrooms I've come across at a marina, and loaner life jackets for kids. (The marina is a site for the BoatU.S. Foundation program to provide these, so if you've got a youngster visiting your boat who doesn't have a PFD, just head on over, sign one out and return it when you're finished.)
Annapolis City Marina itself is comprised of three newly rebuilt docks with about 90 slips. Most are filled by local slipholders, but there are transient slips available as well. If you pull into ACM for the night, expect great views of downtown, of the comings and goings in the harbor's mooring field and of the Spa Creek bridge. Since the marina is so close to the harbor, it's in one of the city's free Wi-Fi zones.
For dinner you can either walk to any of the nearby Eastport restaurants, including Carrol's Creek, which is in the marina complex, or take the quick walk over the bridge into downtown Annapolis. The showers and laundry are housed at the entrance to the underground level of the parking garage. While this may seem slightly suspect or scary, the entrance to the heads is locked, the docks are gated and the whole complex is really quite safe.
So next time you find yourself in the Annapolis harbor and you're in need of fuel or a 30-pack of beer, you'll find it here. Just be a good kid and wait for your turn for a spot at the fuel dock - and heck, you can even get some ice cream.