With a bright, old-fashioned haven of rickety houses and cobbled roads, this town also has a rich cultural heritage and splendid coastal scenery.
Admire colonial architecture and Revolutionary War artwork in Marblehead. Embrace a rich maritime culture at the region’s premier yachting port and follow leafy paths to deserted beaches.
Marblehead, settled in 1629, is claimed as the birthplace of the U.S. Navy. This title dates back to 1775 when the schooner Hannah became the first vessel commissioned for battle by George Washington. Today’s maritime culture remains strong. View the pretty harbor holding over 2,000 boats.
Stroll along the narrow streets and admire shades of cream, yellow and blue coating many of the buildings from the 1600s and 1700s. Look inside boutique clothing and craft stores or purchase nautical-themed souvenirs shaped from wood and ceramics.
Walk to Abbot Hall. Unmissable for its red-brick façade, its high clock tower is visible from all parts of town. View fascinating artifacts including the original title deed given by the region’s native tribe in 1684. Don’t miss the Spirit of ’76 painting by Archibald M. Willard.
Visit the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, an impressive federal structure built in 1768 that now holds a museum of period toys and furnishings. Priceless relics illustrating a turbulent seafaring past are placed in rooms decorated with lavish chandeliers and canvases.
From here enjoy a leisurely walk to Fort Sewall at the northern end of town. Constructed in 1644 and enlarged in 1742 to defend against French ships, this weathered structure now has an area of luscious parkland around it.
Comparable for its natural beauty and tranquility is Marblehead Neck, reaching into the Atlantic from the town center. See homes of the rich as you follow tree-covered trails leading to secluded coves perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Marblehead is in Essex County, a 40-minute drive north of Boston. Come at the beginning of July for the Festival of the Arts, a 3-day extravaganza of painting, street performances and children’s activities.