Lesser known than nearby Salem, Marblehead is a great place for Main Street enthusiasts to visit, considering the town sports not one, but two distinct Main Street communities. First, Marblehead's Historic District is one of the best preserved in the country. With its dense collection of colonial Georgian architecture, it's easy to get lost in time as you travel the tight and winding roads through town. Fans of Colonial Williamsburg will be floored by Marblehead's Historic District, which is filled with quaint boutiques and galleries. There's also a few restaurants and cafes. Many of the businesses acknowledge the town's seaport past, selling boating equipment and apparel. Many of the gift shops and galleries also sell goods with a nautical flare. Washington Street is the Main Street for this part of town.
A short distance away is the Atlantic Avenue Business District. Atlantic Avenue is a busier stretch on a straighter and flatter roadway than what you see in the Historic District. Also, Atlantic Avenue is not as historical, but it still has its charm. A trip to Marblehead is definitely worth a visit to both Main Street areas. And also be sure to hit the shops and restaurants on School Street, which connects Atlantic Avenue and Pleasant Street, which also features many businesses. Marblehead is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in New England. The town is in the Boston Metropolitan Area, specifically in Essex County, which is in the North Shore region in the northeastern part of the commonwealth. Marblehead is located on a small, rocky peninsula about 17 miles north of Boston, 4 miles east of Salem, and about 51 miles south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Marblehead, Massachusetts has one of the country's best preserved Historic Districts, featuring one of the largest collection of American colonial structures in the nation.
Washington Street is the Marblehead Historic District's Main Street.
About a mile from the heart of Marblehead's Historic District is another business district where Atlantic Avenue is the Main Street.
We start our tour on the western edge of the Washington Street business district. This is the 100 block of Washington Street.
The Jeremiah Lee Mansion is now home to the Marblehead Museum. It's also a fine example of colonial Georgian architecture.
Shops occupy historic buildings along the 100 block of Washington Street. The tower covered in scaffolding, poking up in the background, is Abbott Hall, which is both a town hall and a museum.
Still on the 100 block of Washington Street. Here we see some on-street parking, but it's rare on Washington Street. You'll find more on the side streets.
A mix of architectural styles along with high fashion boutiques line Washington Street.
The narrow and winding streets in Marblehead can give you an idea of what life was like in a colonial American town.
Strict guidelines help keep the historic structures in Marblehead well-maintained.
The steeple in the background is the Old North Church, a congregation that first gathered in 1635.
The intersection of Washington Street and Pleasant Street is the heart of Marblehead's Historic District.
More boutiques and the Grace Community Church line the zero hundred block of Pleasant Street. Marblehead juts out on a rocky penninsula, hence the hilly streets in this area.
We're back on Washington Street. Notice the brick-paved sidewalks.
Another view of the same stretch of Washington Street. The buildings are painted in a wide array of vibrant colors.
The Old Town House is an old town hall at 1 Town House Square. Built in 1727, today the bottom floor is the Marblehead Police Museum. The top floor is still used as a town hall.
Across the street from the Old Town House, more boutiques and specialty shops line the zero hundred block of Washington Street.
You'll find signs like these all over Marblehead, attesting to the historic street cred of the structures around town.
Businesses and residences line State Street, one of the side streets just off Washington Street.
Boutiques and specialty shops along the zero hundred block of Washington Street.
This boutique is named the Bus Stop, because a bus once stopped here to take commuters to Boston and Salem.
More shops and boutiques at the intersection of Washington Street and State Street.
We now continue our tour about a mile away along the Atlantic Avenue District. Notice Abbott Hall in the background? You can see it from both districts, so you know they're not too far apart. There's even a sign pointing visitors back to the Harbor/Historic District.
Shops and cafes line the zero hundred block of Atlantic Avenue.
Shops and salons on Atlantic Avenue at the intersection with Barnard Street.
And across the street at the same intersection is another boutique.
Atlantic Avenue is a straighter and busier commercial boulevard than the twisting and turning Washington Street in Marblehead's Historic District.
A view of busy Atlantic Avenue looking northeast.
This building at 51 Atlantic Avenue almost looks like a suburban strip shopping center, complete with its own parking lot.
We come to the southwestern edge of the Atlantic Avenue district, but there's a few shops left.
And across the street, some more specialty shops and a salon.
Featured Sites & Businesses
Would you like to be listed in our Featured Sites & Businesses section? Contact us to find out how. Hint! It's free. Check out our list of Partners.
For More Information
Marblehead Arts Association
Marblehead Chamber of Commerce
Town of Marblehead
Check out these other nearby Main Streets!