Going Ashore

Walking the streets of Marblehead's old town may keep you engaged for hours - nearly every building looks simultaneously like a modern shop or dwelling and an anecdote from the past. If you want more space, try one of the harborside parks:

Chandler Hovey Park, at the tip of Marblehead Neck, is the sight of Marblehead Light. It's also an abrupt and striking piece of rocky coast with commanding views of the harbor and Salem Sound. The inviting beach just south of the park is private, but there's a large pebble shelf at the north end where you can land your dinghy.

Fort Sewall guarded the harbor entrance in the early 1800s. It's most famous for protecting USS Constitution when she sailed into Marblehead, evading British ships during the War of 1812. Today, the earthworks and benches are a great place to enjoy that half hour before sunset. The fort is a short walk from the center of town, and right next to the dinghy landing at Fort Beach.

Brown Island (called Crowninshield Island by its owners, The Trustees of Reservations) is north of the fort, outside the harbor. Its varied terrain of beach, grass, rock and wooded upland can be reached by dinghy at any tide, or by (dry) foot from the mainland an hour either side of low water. The island closes at sunset.

fort sewell
Geoff Rand
Evening frisbee at Fort Sewall.
browns island
Geoff Rand
Brown Island is a short way out of the harbor or out of town, to the north. It's reliably quiet.

One Hour Ashore

Sunset at Fort Sewell. Then maybe a beer at Maddie's.

Off the Beaten Path

See any of the parks described in the text.

Maritime History

For a town whose evolution is so richly and successfully linked to the water, there is remarkably little to actually visit. As you wander the streets, notice that the plaques on most historic houses refer to an early resident's maritime trade.

Rainy Day

Visit Abbott Hall to see the famous fife & drum painting Spirit of '76, then find a cafe or gallery. Marblehead doesn't have much in the way of indoor public attractions near the harbor.

Facilities

  • Launch
  • Dinghy
  • Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Trash
  • Public Trans

The yacht club launches can generally take you either to their clubhouse or to town. Or dinghy in to the Town Landing or one of the beaches.

The yacht clubs have showers for visitors on their moorings. Public restrooms are available at the Town Landing, Fort Sewell and Chandler Hovey Park.

Marblehead is easier to get to by boat than by public transportation. There's an expensive taxi or an inconvenient bus. If you need to meet crew, Salem, Manchester or Gloucester have good rail service reasonably close to the harbor.