On The Yard


    Top 5 Summer Spots on the Yard

    By Bill the Goat on June 13, 2024

    Top 5 Summer Spots on the Yard

    If you’re looking to spend a summer day on the Yard, you’ll be blown away by the Naval Academy. From its stunning scenery, to its historical treasures, to front row tickets to the history happening right here at USNA, these five spots are some of the best places to take in the unique atmosphere that is the Naval Academy. Take one of our famous Naval Academy tours or wander on your own. We hope you try one of our favorite spots!


    Enjoy These United States Naval Academy Summer Spots


    So much of the Yard’s 338-acre land is full of grand architecture, beautiful walkways, and the bustle of Plebe Summer, you’ll be able to savor the flavor of the Annapolis Naval Academy no matter where you go. Take a stroll and see all the spots or even spend time visiting just one. You can use this Naval Academy map to find your way around and experience all of the enticing and beautiful views, as well as the buildings and people that make history happen here!


    The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center: The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center is the perfect spot to start your summer visit and Naval Academy tour. You can explore USNA history leading up to current “Day in the Life” stories from the midshipmen who make this place so special. Directly outside is a beautiful area along the Spa Creek waterfront, where you can catch the sea breeze and wander over to the beautiful bronze Bill the Goat statue and the fluttering N* flagpole, a testament to Navy’s wins over its Army rival. You can also take in some of the festive Annapolis harbor from this vantage point, and experience how the two worlds meet. Watch the boats as they cruise by, and take a walk along the water. You’ll soak in summer at its best. Don’t forget to check out the USNA Gift Shop for a souvenir!


    Visitor Center


    Levy Center and Jewish Chapel: The breathtaking Levy Center and Jewish Chapel were completed in 2005 as a welcoming and inspiring USNA spiritual home, serving as both a Jewish synagogue and a training center for midshipmen to hone their moral education. It is named after Commodore Uriah P. Levy, one of the most famous Jewish military officers in the U.S. Navy.


    While the outside architecture is whitewashed and constructed in the classical style to strongly reference Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the inside pays homage to the Holy Land with many thoughtful and meaningful references and materials. Stone from Hebrum decorates the interior, and an oculus in the entryway opens up to the heavens. Seven different entrances also represent the seven openings of Abraham’s tent, in a gesture meant as warmly inclusive. Even the location opposite Farragut Field and the seawall along Spa Creek was intentional, providing midshipmen with a respite — a place to reflect and pray among the pressures of their many commitments. We encourage you to enjoy this sanctity too. We offer a Naval Academy tour for just this special spot.


    Macedonian Monument: At the spot where Stribling Walk meets Maryland Avenue, you’ll find the Macedonian Monument, which celebrates then Lieutenant Stephen Decatur’s victory over the British HMS Macedonian in the War of 1812. It’s unique because it is an outdoor monument constructed of wood, and the story it memorializes is also captivating. Brought back from Tripoli as the spoils of war, the large head of Alexander the Great was placed on an ornamental concrete base on the Yard, surrounded by cannons from the captured ship. The old monument was laser-scanned in place, and a styrofoam replica was carved using the scanned data. Artisans then improved that model, correcting all of the wear and tear caused by the elements. Finally, the improved model was scanned again and that data was used to carve a wooden replica, which is what you see on the monument today.

    Noon Formation

    T Court: The front of Bancroft Hall is guarded by an impressive bronze statue, a piece of art modeled off peace-loving Delaware Indian Chief Tamanend who watches over the midshipmen. Salvaged around 1868 from USS Delaware, which was destroyed so it would not be discovered during the Civil War, this Indigenous American statue with a quiver of arrows is actually Tamanend 2.0, installed in 1920. The original wooden version is on display in the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center to keep it preserved.


    Tamanend is important to the Brigade. Midshipmen give a left-handed salute to Tamanend, who can grant them the 2.0 GPA they need to remain at the Academy. During the summer at this spot, you’ll most likely see the plebes and staff coming and going as they head to King Hall for meals, use the variety of shops and services housed here (everything from the USNA Midshipmen Store, to the post office, to their dry cleaning services), and go to their dorms. This sacred area is where generations of midshipmen have trained to serve their country, performing their physical training and mustering for Noon Meal Formation, celebrating big events, and many more activities.


    Related: The History of the Noon Meal Formation


    The Zimmerman Bandstand: Right across from one of the most famous spots on the Yard, the USNA Chapel, is the beautiful and historic Zimmerman Bandstand, built in 1922. Named for USNA’s most famous band leader, Charles A. Zimmerman, this spot has hosted countless USNA Band and other band concerts, as well as recent festive Christmas tree lightings. It’s the perfect place to linger on a summer day, offering up 360-degree views of the large quadrangle.


    BandstandUSNA Architect Ernest Flagg designed the buildings in this section as a cross with the points all symbolically representing the important tenets of midshipmen training. You can see Mahan, Carter, and Sampson Halls (representing academics), the Chapel (standing for moral and spiritual teachings), the Annapolis Harbor (nautical life), and of course, Bancroft Hall (the home of the midshipmen), which is one of the world’s largest dormitories, and a stunning masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts architectural style. Right next to the bandstand is the Herndon Monument, built to honor Commander William Lewis Herndon, and the scene of the plebes’ impressive scramble to the top during the Herndon Climb in May, during which they become “plebes no more.” You’re also bound to see some of the newly inducted plebes themselves as they go about their intense training in the Annapolis summer, bringing military precision and sheer grit and determination to these hot and hazy days.


    Related: Oh! The Things You Can Learn on a Naval Academy Tour!


    Come Visit the U.S. Naval Academy This Summer!


    Summer is a quieter time at the Academy. If you’re looking to take a tour, you’ll find the crowds have subsided, and you can get a more intimate look at the architecture and the midshipmen as they train to become naval leaders. Your trip here benefits them greatly. When you take our Naval Academy tours, dine at the U.S. Naval Academy Club or 1845 Coffee, or shop at the USNA Gift Shop or Navyonline.com, the proceeds help fund extracurricular activities like cultural arts, music, theater, club sports, and more for the Brigade. No other place directly supports the midshipmen this way. We welcome you onto the Yard this summer to explore USNA history for yourself. Summer at the Yard is something to be savored.

    Tour the Yard!

    Bill the Goat
    Written by Bill the Goat | June 13, 2024


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