- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

ANNAPOLIS (AP) Adele Rubin was sitting in her home in the heart of the Annapolis Historic District when a group of Japanese tourists wandered in.
Apparently thinking it was a museum, they began to show themselves around the house.
"They didn't speak English, so I started waving my arms and shouting, 'Private home. Private home,'" Miss Rubin recalls. "They immediately started bowing and saying words that sounded like apologies."
Few tourists are so confused, or so bold, as to walk right into private homes, but with thousands of visitors pouring into this town every day, residents soon become accustomed to seeing people examining their homes and peering into windows.
Miss Rubin, who lived in her 3-century-old Francis Street home for 54 years before moving into an apartment, said she enjoyed sitting on her porch with her cat and talking to tourists.
"It happened all the time. People would walk up my steps and start toward the door, and I would have to tell them it was not a restaurant or museum," Miss Rubin said. "I think they thought I was sitting there taking tickets or something."
Will Marshall said it is not unusual for him to be sitting in his living room on Fleet Street having a morning cup of coffee and see a head peering through his window.
To alert the stranger that the building is not a museum, Mr. Marshall leans over and rings a little bell he keeps on his coffee table.
"It's our little, amusing way of letting them know that it is not a restaurant or museum but a private home," Mr. Marshall said. "They sort of get a bemused look on their faces, then pop their heads back out the window and keep on walking."
Residents say strangers sometimes also stop by to inquire about renting houses, especially in the weeks leading up to the Naval Academy graduation.
Sandy Dyott, who lives just a block from the academy, said people ring her bell either wanting to rent her house for graduation week or to inquire if it is a bed-and-breakfast.
"Most of the time it's funny, and you get to meet lots of people," she said.
But she recalls a woman who walked in to announce she planned to rent the house and did not want to take no for an answer.
"When I told her it was my home and not for rent, she said, 'You don't understand. I'm going to rent your home for Commissioning Week,'" Miss Dyott recalled. "It took me about five minutes to literally push her out the door."


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