15 miles NE of Boston

Like an attractive person with a great personality, Marblehead has it all. Scenery, history, architecture, and shopping combine to make this one of the area's most popular day trips for both locals and visitors. It's welcoming, manageable in size, and even polite -- many speed-limit signs say PLEASE. Allow at least a full morning, but be flexible, because you might want to hang around.

One of the most picturesque neighborhoods in New England is Old Town, where narrow, twisting streets lead down to the magnificent harbor that helps make this Marblehead self-proclaimed "Yachting Capital of America." As you stroll the downtown historic district, you'll see plaques on the houses bearing the construction date and the names of the builder and original occupant -- a history lesson without studying. Many of the houses have stood since before the Revolutionary War, when Marblehead was a center of merchant shipping. Two historic homes are open to the public.