At the mouth of the Susquehanna River sits Havre de Grace, MD, a charming waterfront town that’s well worth a day trip or weekend visit. Situated in Harford County, at the northwestern tip of the Chesapeake Bay, Havre de Grace is a quaint town of approximately 13,000 people. Once known simply as the Susquehanna Lower Ferry, the town is said to have been given its current name by the Marquis de Lafayette, who was reminded of the French port city of Le Havre, which was once known as Le Havre de Grace (Harbor of Grace).
Visitors to Havre de Grace will find that its easily accessible, whether arriving by land or sea. By car, it’s just a few minutes drive off Interstate 95. For boaters, after leaving the deep water of the Bay, follow the dredged channel, navigating marker to marker, while staying in the center of the channel until the depths open up near town.
In addition to the many antique shops, restaurants, boutiques, and inns that line the quiet streets, be sure to visit the following highlights:
Havre de Grace, MD
1. Concord Point Light
A must-see during any visit to Havre de Grace, Concord Point Light dates to 1825 when the federal government authorized its construction. Today Concord Point Light is the oldest publicly accessible lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay. Its Keeper’s House Museum features educational exhibits detailing the history of this shoreline landmark, which is located at the corner of Concord and Lafayette Streets.
2. Skipjack Martha Lewis
Built in 1955 by Bronza Parks in Wingate, MD, the Skipjack Martha Lewis was restored in 1994. Today the Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy continues to preserve the vessel, using her as an environmental education platform. The Martha Lewis is docked at the City Yacht Basin and available for public cruises, lighthouse cruises, and afternoon tea cruises May - October. Call (410) 939-4078 for schedule.
3. Havre de Grace Decoy Museum
Located on the banks of the historic Susquehanna Flats, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum houses one of the finest collections of working and decorative Chesapeake Bay decoys. Chesapeake culture has been tied to decoys for generations. Years ago, decoys were used simply to lure waterfowl, but today they are pieces of art, carved using skills passed from master to apprentice. Havre de Grace is known as the Decoy Capital of the World.
4. Havre de Grace Maritime Museum
Located at the waterfront, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum preserves the area’s rich maritime history. Facilities include an environmental center and classroom and a boat shop that renovates and restores old wooden boats and builds replicas of early and mid-20th century classic wooden boats. There are more than 20 permanent exhibits, as well as a children’s corner.
5. Millard Tydings Memorial Park, and Havre de Grace Promenade
Take a stroll along the promenade or let the kids run in the grass, all while looking over the Susquehanna River. This park is home to the City Yacht Basin and covers eight acres. It includes picnic areas, a playground, a pavilion, and public restrooms.
6. Havre de Grace Marine Center
Havre de Grace Marine Center has two locations in town and can provide full service marine repair, summer dockage, winter storage, and transient dockage, with an on-site canvas and sail shop. They also offer fiberglass repair, brightwork, rigging, and engine repair. Marine towing and emergency service are available. Kayak and standup paddleboard rentals and guided eco tours are also available.
7. City Yacht Basin
The City Yacht Basin offers transient slips, diesel, gas, pump out, bait, ice, a ramp, plus sport fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. Showers are available for slipholders, and trailers may be left overnight. The Promenade Grill Outdoor Restaurant is located nearby.
8. No Boat, No Problem
May 1 to October 31, two riverboats depart Hutchins Memorial Park for tours that give visitors a view of the town of Havre de Grace, Garrett Island, Perryville, and nearby shorelines, along with an educational talk on the history of the area. Those ready for more of a thrill, might try the parasailing, boat rides, and charters available at the City Yacht Basin through Old Town Parasail.
9. Susquehanna State Park
Just a 10-minute drive from Havre de Grace, Susquehanna State Park includes the remains of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, camping, hiking and biking trails, and a boating facility. Stepping Stone Farm Museum is also located within the park.
10. Lockhouse Museum and Trail
The Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House is located in the original 1840 lock tender’s house. It preserves the history of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal and its impact on the City of Havre de Grace. Outside is the original lock for the canal, the working swing bridge, and the tow path in a five-acre park. Open April through October. A 1.5-mile loop trail follows a portion of the railroad tracks that lead to the Conowingo Dam.
For more information, visit the City of Havre de Grace website.