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Marblehead: Seaside Town of Beauty and History

Perched on a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, much of Marblehead’s charm lies in its end of the road location. Located just 18 miles north of Boston, Marblehead feels worlds away from the urban sprawl. With narrow and winding streets, beautifully preserved clapboard homes, sea captains’ mansions, the seaside Massachusetts town still looks very much as when it was founded as a commercial fishing village in 1629. Its first colonists were fishermen who hailed from Cornwall, England and the Channel Islands. In the years before the Revolutionary War Marblehead enjoyed rapid growth evolving into one of the biggest towns in the colonies with thriving fishing and shipping fleets. Tall-masted schooners carried the goods of a new nation to and from Europe and the Far East. One of the prettiest and best-kept historic towns in the U. S., strolling the old neighborhoods you’ll discover one of the town’s biggest draws— the colorful 18th and 19th century homes overlooking the mighty Atlantic. Many of the residences sport nameplates identifying the name and occupation of their original inhabitants. In the Old Town district you will also find galleries, restaurants and boutiques clustered together in an old-fashioned Main Street setup. It’s a quick hike to the harbor from downtown, and you’ll get to walk past many old sailors’ homes. M F.L. Woods, a nautical supply shop turned clothing store, has operated out of the same building on Washington Street since 1938. A walking tour takes visitors to the one-of-a-kind Jeremiah Lee Mansion. Built by American craftsmen in 1768, the late-Georgian era house — whose wood siding is scored to look like stone — is extraordinarily well preserved, since Lee’s family was the only one to live there. A wealthy merchant who helped fund the patriot cause, Lee died just as the Revolution was getting underway. Tour the art galleries in the King Hooper Mansion, the brick-towered Abbot Hall landmark which is the permanent home of the famous painting “The Spirit of ‘76.”

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