A Fresh Take: William Paca Garden
By Riley Hoaglin
During this delightful summer season, I have an extraordinary destination in mind for you and your family to explore, whether you’ve had the pleasure before or not. Have you ever ventured into the awe-inspiring realm of the William Paca House’s Garden?
The site is operated, staffed, and maintained by Historic Annapolis. Back in 1760, the William Paca House and Garden stood as a truly remarkable place. This magnificent Georgian mansion, consisting of five distinct sections, was erected during the 1760s by the esteemed William Paca. Paca, one of Maryland’s distinguished Signers of the Declaration of Independence and the state’s third Governor, left an indelible mark on history. In 1965, Historic Annapolis took on the task of restoring this architectural gem to its colonial glory.
Beyond the resplendently restored mansion lies a whimsical wonderland of a garden, which is a personal favorite of mine. As you wander through, you’ll be transported to a magical world outside of time and place — where beauty knows no bounds!
But before I talk about the Garden: within the house’s introductory gallery is an object that is a personal favorite of mine—the 1950 Salon chair. Though it postdates William Paca, it showcases the long sequence of highly varied lives the House has witnessed. When the building was adapted for use as a hotel, known as Carvel Hall, in the early twentieth century, it was known for providing exceptional services to the former mansion’s esteemed guests. Among the services offered were those of its salon, and this vintage chair serves as a delightful reminder of that era. It’s a refreshing sight within a house originally constructed in 1760, infusing a touch of “newness” into its storied history.
The true showstopper of this remarkable site, in my opinion, is its gardens, with terraces, specialty garden beds, the Summer Garden Pavilion, and more. As I ventured through, I felt like Indiana Jones, exploring a jungle and discovering new and exciting wonders at every turn. Among my encounters was the majestic Paca holly tree, evoking a sense of holiday nostalgia and casting a captivating aura.
The William Paca House and Garden offer the harried visitor a serene sanctuary, a respite from the bustling city life of Annapolis’s downtown and historic district. It’s an invitation to uncover new treasures within the beautiful tapestry of Annapolis. This enchanting garden also serves as a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and other special events, adding an extra touch of magic to these joyous occasions.
So, as summer beckons, make it a point to embark on a journey to the William Paca House and Garden. They are open Friday through Tuesday: 10 am – 4 pm and closed Wednesday & Thursday. There is a cost of admission ($5, children free) but it is worth every cent. The WIlliam Paca House and Garden encompass history, natural beauty, and the wonders of nature, ensuring an unforgettable experience for your entire family.