Daytripping: Marblehead

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When it comes to charming, seaside New England towns, few places can compete with Marblehead, Massachusetts.

images (1)_largeMarblehead Harbor has been a hotbed of recreational boating for more than 150 years, and it is home to a half-dozen of the most respected yacht clubs in the nation. Marblehead’s beautiful downtown is home to historic, narrow, winding streets that invite visitors to spend the day walking through town. As they walk, they’ll find plenty to do, as downtown Marblehead is filled with interesting shops, boutiques, restaurants and galleries, all easily accessed on foot. The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce (www.marbleheadchamber.org; 781-631-2868), located at 62 Pleasant Street, offers a brochure with a self-guided walking tour.

Visitors to Marblehead will want to check out the Marblehead Historical Society (www.marbleheadmuseum.org; 781-631-1768), located at 161 Washington Street. The society runs guided tours of Marblehead’s historic sites on weekends during the summer. Another great place to visit is Fort Sewall, which is now a public park featuring sweeping views of the harbor and is a great place to enjoy a picnic. Built in the mid-17th century, the fort protected the town during the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, the fort and its surrounding rock-riddled waters became famous for providing safe haven for the U.S.S. Constitution.

 

neighborhood-marblehead-auto_largeMarblehead is located approximately 12 nautical miles northeast of the entrance to Boston Harbor and 9 nautical miles southwest of Gloucester. The harbor entrance is easily approached from any direction through marked channels. Aids to navigation mark all hazards, so boaters should have little difficulty provided they pay close attention to their electronic or NOAA chart 13275. However, a crowded mooring field and heavy boat traffic in the summer can make passage challenging. Also, shallow boulders and ledges in the surrounding waters of Salem Sound mean boaters should pay careful attention to channel markers.

The town maintains a pumpout station and a pumpout boat on request via the harbormaster, and fuel is available at the Marblehead Trading Company (www.marbleheadtrading.com; 781-631-7565) and the Boston Yacht Club (www.bostonyc.org; 781-631-3100).

Limited dockage is available at the town-owned Tuckers Wharf and can be arranged with the harbormaster (781-631-2386; VHF Channel 14). The Eastern, Corinthian and Boston Yacht Clubs maintain guest moorings at the harbor entrance, and boaters in need of a temporary mooring can contact the harbormaster to make arrangements. Public dinghy tie-up is available at the State Street Landing.