In my upcoming novel, Bewitching Hannah, the reader will get to see historic Annapolis through the eyes of my main character, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald, a most reluctant Chesapeake witch.
The first sight Hannah encounters on her return to Annapolis is Witch’s Grave in Truxton Park. According to local lore, the crooked tree marks the burial site of three witches who were hung and buried there. She’s reminded that being a witch, even if she doesn’t want to be one, can be a dangerous business with a deadly outcome.
The next stop is Main Street and McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar in downtown Annapolis. Hannah makes lots of stops along Main Street, and off of Main is McGarvey’s, the perfect restaurant for my reluctant witch to order her favorite Annapolitan snack–a crab dip pretzel (click this link for the recipe).
Hannah and her aunt then attend a Chesapeake witches meeting at McDowell Hall on St. John’s College campus. The exquisitely restored interior of McDowell Hall resembles a colonial meetinghouse and is the perfect place for a gathering of the coven, don’t you agree?
Hannah’s best friend, Mateo, is a boy of Incan descent who is in touch with nature. He invites Hannah to join him at Quiet Waters Park to search for his animal spirit guide. The park contains three hundred and forty acres of woods, grassy areas, and beaches. During their adventure, she happens to find her witch’s familiar, a white raven. Ravens are known as messengers and this one symbolizes the fulfillment of a prophecy. Fun fact–the cover art for the book depicts this scene.
Beautiful Brice House on East Street, built in 1766, is featured in the novel because the head of the coven, Mallory Blackstone, is the fictional president of Historic Annapolis and those offices are located at Brice House. Hannah makes a few stops here to deal with her nemeses and even peers into the gardens of Paca House.
If you’ve ever driven over the Severn River Bridge from Annapolis you may have noticed the cliffs on your right. The Severn River cliffs and Winchester Pond are the backdrops for an Incan endurance test and a ferocious wolf attack. *Spoiler Alert–Hannah mysteriously survives the wolf attack with help from William Calvert, but this only leads to more questions about the dark secret he’s hiding.
There is one stop outside of Annapolis that is worthy of a shoutout in Bewitching Hannah—Baltimore House at Riverdale Park. The reason this place is special is not because of the house, but rather the grounds. Several Calvert descendants are interred in the cemetery there and a few fictional witches from Annapolis take it upon themselves to unearth a Calvert family secret during their fiendish field trip.
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church is the setting for a scene where a mysterious clue leads Hannah to William Bladen’s sarcophagus in the cemetery. FYI-William Bladen was the Attorney General who oversaw the last Maryland witch trial in 1712. Let’s just say all kinds of magic ensues.
Every Annapolitan knows that Ego Alley is the harbor downtown where seagulls flock above visitors’ boats and tourists follow the scent of Old Bay seasoning in search of steamed blue crabs. It’s also the perfect spot for Hannah’s two love interests to face off.
Charles Carroll House, situated behind St. Mary’s Church off Spa Creek, is the setting for the final climactic scene that begins with a celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Annapolis Tea Party. (Anyone seen the painting, The Burning of the Peggy Stewart? Yup–that tea party.) The coven prophecy calls for one young witch’s death…will it be Hannah’s? Under a spectacular blood moon/lunar eclipse, Hannah discovers who her true enemy is at Charles Carroll House. She has to summon all her inner strength and magic, but she isn’t sure that will be enough to save herself and the ones she loves from her nefarious rival.
“Good. Now, I need you to deliver that.” My aunt gestured toward a pretty, white gift bag on the main counter.
“Sure. Rusty’s in the back, right?” The moped wore a coat of red flaky dust, but was a ton of fun to ride.
“You can walk. It’s not that far.”
“Where to?” I grabbed a broom from the back and swept up bits of snipped greenery and fallen petals. She reached in the pocket of her bell-bottom pants and handed me the name and business address.
“Mallory Grey Blackstone, Historic Annapolis offices at Brice House on Forty-Two East Street,” I said, reading the information out loud. “Her daughter’s Emme, right?”
“You met her?”
“At school today.”
“Her mother heads the historic foundation, among other things.”
I guessed that was how she knew so much about everyone that mattered, although I still didn’t know how we ended up on her VIP list. “Wait. Her middle name is Grey?”
“Yes, it’s her maiden name. Why?” Her tone implied unnecessary suspicion.
“Doesn’t her family have something to do with the urban legend of the Arundell Curse Mom told me about when I was little?”
She hesitated. “It’s historic lore more than urban legend.”
My eyes widened. “So you know it?”
A spark of knowledge glimmered in her brown eyes. “Yes, I know it. The night of October nineteenth, seventeen seventy-four, the Peggy Stewart ship laden with British tea was docked in Annapolis Harbor and set ablaze. During the tea party, a local patriot was injured. His love—a beautiful Fitzgerald witch, who happened to be your seventh great aunt—attended him. The head of the coven foresaw the offense and quickly discovered the young witch and her forbidden mate. She had broken a serious coven rule so the Grey witch cast the Arundell Curse upon the forbidden ordinary. The curse ensured that if the two stayed together their progeny would forever bear the horrendous scars of her transgression. The irony is that the Grey witch didn’t realize that by imparting the spell with such blackness in her heart she also cursed her own descendants. You see, the Arundells born bearing the curse feel terrible pain when they’re near a Grey. The only way to quell that pain is to remove the source of it…permanently.”
I shuddered. “I still have strange dreams about that story.”
She tilted her head. “You do?” There was a hint of nervousness in her voice.
Just last night, I thought. “Yeah. I never understood why Mom liked that one so much.”
“Maybe it’s because stories like that impart valuable lessons.” She frowned in grim silence. “Speaking of the Peggy Stewart, did you know the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Annapolis Tea Party is in a few weeks?”