Despite the dreary weather forecasts, this past weekend turned out to be simply lovely ~ warm and sunny, and oh-so-perfect for strolling around Annapolis. There are so many wonderful things to report that I will probably do a series of posts!
Our first stop was the Paca House, located in the heart of Annapolis at 186 Prince George Street. Having been to so many plantation houses this spring, it was a nice change to see a true city house. Built between 1763 and 1765 by William Paca, a wealthy planter and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the house is a five-part Georgian (center hall with two connected flanks). The open layout of the house captures the cool sea breezes in the summer, and takes full advantage of the sunlight in the winter. There are also some lovely Chippendale details and a modest collection of Chesapeake furniture, paintings, silver and other decorative arts.
The highlight of the house is an extensive pleasure garden ~ an oasis of calm in a bustling colonial city. It includes five terraces with formal parterres, boxwood follies, espaliered fruit trees, wildflowers, and a natural pond. At the base of the garden is a lovely Summer House, rebuilt using contemporary references and a small detail in a Charles Willson Peale portrait of Paca.
During the first half of the 20th century, the house was used as a hotel, and a 200-room addition and parking lot were built over the garden. In 1965 the Historic Annapolis Foundation saved the property from demolition, and returned the house to its original 18th-century appearance, removing the addition and painstakingly restoring the garden through archeological investigation.