April is finally warming, and that means there are opportunities to get out on the water in Annapolis. There’s also free music, a festival for female voices, a maritime collective market day and student art to enjoy through Thursday, April 24.

Cast off


If you head to Annapolis, a main attraction is the water. City Dock is the closest you can get to the spot where the Annapolis Harbor, the Severn River, and the Chesapeake Bay meet. For a few months more, there is even waterfront parking.

Getting onto the water requires a bit more effort, but Maryland’s capital has a nice assortment of cruise options for doing so. None are free, but all make for an interesting day. While the biggest company, Watermark Cruises, started its season earlier this month, several smaller ones are starting now that April has turned warmer.

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There’s lot to choose from:

Schooner Woodwind is actually two boats, both 74-foot, two-masted wooden sailboats that go out of a berth next to the Waterfront Annapolis Hotel. The boats race and cruise around the bay, offering public and private trips daily. There are sunset cruises and special events that feature music, food and drink. Tickets start at $62 plus taxes and fees.

Many Annapolis boats are a pleasure to look at, but the Darling might be the prettiest. A 1973 Wasque 32, it was built on Martha’s Vineyard along the lines of lobster boats, with a hardtop added about 25 years later. Darling Cruises describes its vessel’s looks as resembling the original Picnic Boat, a popular day cruiser. The company offers morning, sunset, and harbor cruise charters from its berth in Eastport. The boat carries six people and bookings start at $700, plus taxes and fees.

There is no more historic way to cruise the waters around Annapolis than aboard the Wilma Lee, a 1940 skipjack — a shallow draft commercial fishing boat powered by sail. Now in its fifth year as a floating classroom and day sailor run by the nonprofit Annapolis Maritime Museum, the boat sails weekends from three locations: the museum in Eastport, City Dock and the Moyer Nature Park on Back Creek. Tickets on cruises start at $50 per adult ticket and $20 per child, plus taxes and fees.

If you really want to get down on the water, at least two Annapolis companies offer stand-up paddleboard lessons, rentals and events. Capital SUP on Back Creek has a full moon paddle scheduled Monday, and Sunrise SUP out of Herald Harbor in Crownsville has yoga classes on its calendar.

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When Watermark’s water taxi service starts in mid-May, you can get on the water for as little as $4. The short, point-to-point trips are a good way to see Annapolis for a few bucks and decide if paying a bit more is for you.

Bon voyage!

Strings for 4

7:30 p.m. Friday

The Parker String Quartet won a Grammy award in 2011 for best chamber music performance and has spent the last 15 years touring, recording all of Beethoven’s works for string quartets and teaching through residency programs at places like Harvard University. Its concert in McDowell Hall at St. John’s College will include Beethoven Op. 135 and Hayden Op. 33/6. Free.

Small craft warning

9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday

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Annapolis has a vibrant small boat culture, and four businesses critical to it are collaborating in a maritime market event, Sail & Sell.

Bacon Sails and Maritime Supplies, Chesapeake Light Craft, Fawcett Boat Supplies and East of Maui each have their own day-long tent sales, flea markets, swap meets and yard sails, er, I mean sales. Check each shop for details.

Forward Brewing caps it off with food and beer specials likely to draw from the hundreds of sailors, rowers, powerboaters and boarders out looking for deals during the day. Prices vary.

The female voice

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

If you want to be a popular musician, you learn to cover popular songs. Singer-songwriters are fun performers to catch if you follow local music. Women singer-songwriters often add an extra layer of meaning, touching on complex themes unique to the female voice.

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The Songbird Collective, made up of four women artists, started the Songbird Festival in 2023 to share those stories. The one-day festival includes more than 20 singers and poets performing at Maryland Hall, as well as a resource and artisans’ fair. Free.

One long table

2-6 p.m. Sunday

Dining Under the Stars is a popular outdoor food event that takes over the first block of West Street a few nights each week from May through September. To help cover the costs of closing the street, entertainment and a police presence — about $68,000, according to organizers — the Inner West Street Association is hosting the Taste of Spring fundraiser. Six restaurants on the block will offer a tasting menu, accompanied by music and dancers from the Maryland Ballet Theatre. $60 plus fees. Sales close Saturday.

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Senior art show

9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday

More than 60 seniors graduating from Anne Arundel County Public Schools will have their best works on display in Belongings at Maryland Hall. Paintings, drawings, three-dimensional designs, photography and digital media are on display in the Earl and Martino galleries Monday-Saturday through May 15.

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Grammy and the Argentine

7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Music at Rams Head on Stage can be diverse, with a heavy rotation of blues, nostalgia, and folk groups. It can be hard to choose which act to hear. So when a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and an Argentine folk singer team up for a show, it’s worth paying attention to.

Madison Cunningham won the 2023 Grammy for Best Folk Album with “Revealer,” her fifth nomination since 2020. She’s touring with Juana Molina, a former Argentine TV comedic actress who gave up that career to pursue music. $45 plus fees.

Rick Hutzell is the Annapolis columnist for The Baltimore Banner. He writes about what's happening today, how we got here and where we're going next. The former editor of Capital Gazette, he led the newspaper to a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2018 mass shooting in its newsroom.

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