Marblehead’s Harbor Light Inn (MA)

Article by Sam Dostaler

Located in the heart of Marblehead, Massachusetts just steps from the harbor, shops and galleries, historical homes, and restaurants, the Harbor Light Inn is your perfect home base for a visit to the town that was the birthplace of the Continental Navy.

We spent a wonderful night at the 18th century home turned bed and breakfast taking advantage of the inn’s amenities and its proximity to the local attractions that make this North Shore town shine.

The quaint backyard pool area at the Harbor Light Inn

Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted and shown to our room for the night, room number seven, a quaint room just off the backyard garden and pool, complete with a private awning-covered deck ideal for enjoying a drink that night and breakfast the next morning.

The room featured an extremely comfortable queen bed, TV, and a bathroom with a walk-in shower. What we loved about the room was that the only entrance to the room was through the garden and the deck. We found this out the hard way after searching the interior of the hotel for our door!

Speaking of the interior of the hotel, the main floor offers guests a number of inviting rooms to lounge in. Whether it is a comfortable chair in the corner to read or a couch in front of a roaring fireplace during the colder months there is plenty of space for guests to unwind.


Our favorite part of the stay was enjoying our breakfast on our porch looking out into the hotel pool and garden area. Typically a buffet, but due to Covid-19, you order breakfast the night before and have it delivered to your door at the specified time the next morning. We enjoyed light fluffy french toast, fresh fruit, toasts, and scrambled eggs. If you are a gluten-free traveler no need to worry, they will gladly accommodate you.

Exploring Marblehead

We loved wandering through the streets lined with colonial homes. The Harbor Light Inn provided us with a self-guided walking map and off we went. We lost ourselves in the streets for hours admiring the homes, inspecting the chic doorways, and learning about the early days of the town. One of our favorite homes was the one owned by General John Glover, who led a unit or Marblehead fisherman and seaman during the Revolutionary War. Glover and his unit were responsible for rowing George Washington across the Delaware River.

Wander the streets in Marblehead to take a step back in time

The tour also brings you to some of the best lookouts the town has to offer. From Crocker Park and Fort Sewall (closed for renovations when we visited), you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the harbor. Find a seat and just sit while watching life on the water unfold below.

While exploring the town be sure to wander in and out of the many shops and art galleries for a taste of local business.

For dinner, we ate at The Barnacle. Located on the water with sweeping views of the harbor as you dine The Barnacle is a mix of locals and tourists. The menu is fairly basic offering a mix of seafood and grilled items. We enjoyed the New England clam chowder and the fried shrimp.

One of the advantages of staying in Marblehead is that Salem is a short drive away, about 15-minutes. During our stop in Salem, we didn’t explore what the town is most known for, the Salem Which Trails. However, we did stop at Melt Ice Cream for an evening snack and that is well worth the visit!

Our final stop in Marblehead before heading home was the Marblehead Lighthouse. Less than a 15-minute drive from the hotel the lighthouse brings you to the edge of the harbor and offers views back towards town and also out to the open ocean. A short ways away you will find Castle Rock. This stop offers more majestic views but does require some agility to scale the rock or to get down to the shore to access the best views. The effort will be rewarded.

Before heading out drive around the neighborhood near Marblehead Lighthouse and Castle Rock to admire the grand homes.

*Note: We visited shortly after Massachusetts allowed hotels to reopen due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the Harbor Light Inn took every precaution to ensure that the hotel was safe for employees and guests.

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