Marblehead is known for several different things. Among them is its yachting history. This charming community near Boston even went as far as to label itself the "Yachting Capital of America." Marblehead is also commonly referred to as the "Birthplace of the American Navy." This has something to do with the fact that the first vessel to ever be commissioned for the U.S. Navy had a crew that hailed from the town. Other things that contribute to Marblehead’s identity include its historic architecture, its beautiful coastal scenery, and its all around historic atmosphere. No wonder so many people make it a point to include Marblehead MA on their East Coast vacation itineraries.
Spirit of 76 Painting in Abbott Hall
Spirit of 76 Painting in Abbott Hall
Among the many historic attractions in Marblehead is Abbott Hall. This town hall and historical museum was built in 1876 and sits at 188 Washington Street. Several interesting things are housed inside Abbott Hall, and they include the original Spirit of ‘76 painting by Archibald Willard. This painting, which was originally known as Yankee Doodle, centers around America’s Revolutionary War victory and was among the featured works that were on display at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. Willard himself eventually painted several variations of the Spirit of ‘76, and it is interesting to note that his father was the model for the drum-carrying character who can be seen marching in the middle.
Fort Sewall Image: nordique (flickr)
Marblehead MA was formerly home to two forts. One of these forts is still in existence and serves as a popular Massachusetts attraction. Fort Sewall, as the surviving structure is known, was founded in 1644 and enlarged in 1742. Further construction on the fort was carried out in 1794 and again during the time of the Civil War. In 1975, it was deservedly added to the National Register of Historic Places. The headland on which Fort Sewall sits is now a public park, and from various vantage points, visitors can enjoy splendid views of the Marblehead harbor, Cape Ann, and a number of offshore islands. Admission to the park is free, and it is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Mansions & Historic Houses
Mansions & Historic Houses Image: John Phelan (wikipedia)
The Greater Boston Area, which includes such towns as Marblehead and Salem, features many mansions and historic houses. In Marblehead itself, such attractions include the Jeremiah Lee and King Hooper mansions. The Jeremiah Lee Mansion dates back to 1768 and calls 170 Washington Street home. Built in the Georgian style, it is a lovely architectural example, and you might be interested to know that it was one of the largest and most opulent homes during America’s late-colonial period. As for the King Hooper Mansion, it was built even earlier. The original structure dates back to 1728. The front section was added in 1745 by the original owner’s son, who was a wealthy shipping merchant. The three-story home sits at 8 Hooper Street in Marblehead and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Marblehead Yachting Image: Tim Grafft - MOTT
It is easy to understand why Marblehead MA became such a yachting hot spot. Simply put, the town’s harbor is exceptional. The harbor began attracting yachting enthusiasts and yachting clubs in the late 1800s, and it hasn’t stopped bringing them in ever since. Also lending substance to Marblehead’s yachting history is one Ted Hood, who was born in nearby Beverly in 1927 and won the America’s Cup in 1974. The yacht that Hood used to win this prestigious race – Courageous – was built by the victorious sailor himself in Marblehead. Interestingly enough, Hood would go on to sell Courageous to another Ted – the media mogul, Ted Turner. Using the same vessel, Turner went on to win the 1977 America’s Cup.
Marblehead Lodging Image: Harbor Light Inn
Many Marblehead visitors choose to stay in nearby cities or towns, visiting Marblehead on day trips. Salem is just a few miles away, so the Salem hotels certainly make for good area lodging options. The Boston hotels are also worth keeping in mind, as the capital and largest city in Massachusetts is only some 15 miles from town. Of course, the charm of Marblehead is hard to deny, in which case many travelers opt to make it their area travel base. Among the best places to stay in Marblehead proper is the Harbor Light Inn (pictured). This has something to do with its wonderful location, its history, and its numerous amenities. You can find the 21-unit Harbor Light Inn at 58 Washington Street, which basically puts it in the heart of town. Plenty of other inviting inns and a variety of tempting bed and breakfasts also figure among the Marblehead lodging choices, so travelers who wish to stay in town don’t have to limit themselves to the Harbor Light Inn. Other examples of recommendable Marblehead hotels include, but are not limited to, the Seagull Inn, the Marblehead Inn, and the Harborside House.