Annapolis Harbour Center: Not Just Great Shopping, but a Foodie Paradise!

The best places always seem to be the ones that you stumble upon by accident.  My first time going to Annapolis by myself, I didn’t really know where to go, so I used my handy dandy GPS to help me find a fun destination.  I saw Annapolis Harbour and clicked on that, assuming it would lead me to the downtown shops by the water.  When I ended up in a shopping center, I was confused, but pleasantly surprised.

The Annapolis Harbour Center is a lovely outlet mall/shopping center including DSW Shoe Warehouse, Nordstrom Rack, Omaha Steaks, Yankee Candle, Barnes and Nobel, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, South Moon Under, and many more.  Check out their website.  http://annapolisharbourcenter.com/

They are practically located right off of Route 50, about only 15 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, so it is really easy and convenient to get to.  My favorite place to go in the center is the PA Dutch Farmer’s Market, also known as the “Amish Market.”  In Philly, I would go to the Reading Terminal Market, a similar market, all of the time.  There, you can find all sorts of things…meats, seafood, breads, pastries, books, honey, vegetables, gifts, and a variety of different venders from which to purchase lunch, a tasty snack or something sweet (I recommend Bassest’s Ice Cream).

Welcome to the PA Dutch Farmers Market.  They are only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so plan your travels accordingly!  http://www.padutchfarmmarket.com/

All of the Amish vendors are from Lancaster, PA. where they make most of their products, the same way they have been doing for generations.  I love the Amish.  They are very kind and hard working people, and are dedicated to putting out quality products that they are proud of.   Whether you are looking for just a little something, or want to bulk up and bring things home, you will find it at the market.   As you walk through the doors, you are welcomed with sights of cheeses, meats, salads, fresh produce, baked goods and bulk items.  All of this is quality stuff that you can’t get at a regular old supermarket.  Plus, it smells like fresh doughnuts. mmmm

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This place is pretty big with lots to offer so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to go through here.  My absolute favorite vendor at this market (one I will drive here for) is the donut shop.  They make it all fresh, right here, throughout the day.  They boast a plethora of flavors ranging from the traditional apple cider cake doughnut and the classic glazed, to peach and blueberry fritters, to peanut butter or key lime filled.  There must have been atleast 2 dozen different flavors which they change seasonally.  Make sure to go back in the fall as the pumpkin doughnut probably is the best doughnut I had ever eaten in my entire life.  It starts with a plain doughnut filled with a creamy spiced pumpkin filling and topped with the same filling.  The doughnut, even later in the day, tasted fresh and slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, loaded with delicious filling.  They are also reasonably priced (cheaper or equal to Dunkin Donuts or Fractured Prune, but way better quality) at about less than $8/doz.  Doughnuts aren’t things I go out of my way to purchase, but if I lived closer to the Dutch Market, I’d probably weigh twice as much as I do.  Nevertheless, I guess that’s what makes these doughnuts more special, as they are a once in a while treat.  The last time I had them was when I stopped by and got a dozen for my brother’s engagement at the Renaissance Fair about a year and a half ago. They are still just as good.

The Amish ladies make the doughnuts fresh in front of you all day.  They fry the dough off right there and have all sorts of toppings and fillings standing by to finish the delicious delights.  Please do yourself a favor and try these doughnuts atleast once in your life.  There’s nothing else like them.

 

Can’t choose just one?  Well go ahead and get that dozen.  These doughnuts freeze surprisingly well.  Simply place in a freezer bag and pull out one whenever you’d like.  They only take about an hour to thaw.  If you can’t wait that long, you can microwave them (the caramel apple is fabulous slightly warm) but use caution with some flavors.

 

Right next to the doughnuts is the bakery section.  Cakes, pies, breads, whoopie pies and other goodies are overflowing on the shelves.  Everything looks delicious and you know it is all made from scratch and from quality ingredients.  Just around the corner from there is my second favorite section of the market…the bulk foods section.  There you can find all sorts of nuts, candies, extracts, flours, sugars, chocolates, syrups, sprinkles and fillings that you just can’t get anywhere else, except maybe another Amish market or specialty store.   Most of the products are available on the shelves in manageable sizes, but if you want bulk, don’t be afraid to ask because they offer that too.  Ex. I can get a few ounces of specialty sprinkles, or I can get a whole 6 lb box if I wanted.  Worried they only take cash?  Well, don’t because they take credit cards too!! woohoo

They also sell hand made furniture there at the market!

If you walk outside the PA Dutch Farmer’s Market and look directly across the shopping center, you will see The Fresh Market.  You know that caught my eye.   They are a smaller grocery chain, with a little over 100 stores located in several states throughout the Eastern US.  I think they are a growing chain as people are becoming more conscience about their food choices.

It is smaller than your average supermarket.  How I described it to my mom was it was a grocery store with all that you need and without all the crap.  The Fresh Market is like an upscale Trader Joe’s.  The prices are just about as reasonable, but the store is very high end looking.  It is clean, organized and well spaced.

     The store carries a lot of natural and organic foods like Whole Foods does, but is not as  overwhelming or pricey, and it isn’t as crazy busy and obnoxious like Wegman’s can be.  You can find things that you can’t at Giant or Food Lion.  For example, what won me over were the golden raspberries and fresh figs, two wonderful ingredients that I have never seen in a grocery store.  I also like the bulk foods section where you can portion your own fours, nuts, sugars, grains or candies.  I’m personally trying to eat less processed foods, and store like this makes it easier to find such foods that are reasonably priced and taste great.  I think the Smith Island cakes and cake pops from the Original Smith Island Cake Company would do beautifully here. *wink wink*  Fresh Market also offers great customer service which I feel many stores lack today.  It’s just like “back in the day” when you would go to the market and purchase something from a neighbor with a good community feeling.    http://www.thefreshmarket.com/index.html

There’s just so much the Harbour Center has to offer.  It is close to the highways and other great sights and shopping, so make sure to stop in sometime.  You won’t be disappointed.

http://annapolisharbourcenter.com/

Mon-Sat: 10-9

Sun: 12-5

2512 A Solomons Island Rd

Annapolis, MD

410-266-5857

 

 

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