Little Harbor & Islands Walk

Hosted By: 

Marblehead Architecture Heritage & Tours

Scheduling Note: 

Walk will be cancelled in case of rain.
A walking tour around the scenic coves of Marblehead’s Little Harbor and its two rocky off-shore islands. Located at the northeast tip of the mainland peninsula, that sheltered coastal area is where the town’s early settlement began in 1629. It is bounded at the west by Peach’s Point and at the east by Gale’s Head on which Fort Sewall is situated. The tour will highlight the small tidal harbor, its islands, and their stories, starting when Native Americans summered at coastal encampments, and incorporating their subsequent early and later social history. The Little Harbor is one of the most prolific lobster hatcheries on the East Coast, and voluntary donations for the tours will benefit the Lobster Conservancy, a private non-profit organization. The Trustees of Reservations has owned Little Harbor’s larger western island since 1955, when it was donated by philanthropist and preservationist Louise DuPont Crowninshield. Known locally as Brown’s Island after an owner in the 19th and early 20th c., its official name is now Crowninshield Island. It was called The Great Island in the 1600s, and was originally considered to be two islands. Gerry’s Island was named after Thomas, the father of Elbridge Gerry, in the mid-1700s and has been privately owned since 1635. Until 1675, that island’s first owner was Moses Maverick, who was also essentially Marblehead’s town founder, and the cove around the island’s west, south and eastern shores was originally called Maverick’s Cove.

Special Instructions: 

Total walking distance is about one half mile. Restrooms are only at Fort Sewall, a FURTHER half mile from the END of the tour. The tour meets at Grace Oliver Beach at Little Harbor’s western edge (along Beacon Street at Doliber’s Cove, adjacent to the private Crowninshield Road (two brick pillars on either side of the entrance to the road onto Peach’s Point at the tip of the mainland peninsula). It ends at Gas House Beach, at the Little Harbor’s eastern end, off Orne Street. (That beach was named for the gas works that produced the liquid that was burned as gas lighting for streets and homes in the later 1800s.) Consider lunch or dinner on Marblehead’s main harbor after the tour. Half-mile walk back to your car, though it will seem longer -- but a nice walk back !

Reservation Information: 

No reservation needed.



Facility Features: 

Event Telephone: 


1 Crowininshield Road, at Beacon Street, Marblehead, MA, 01945

Driving Directions: 

Route 114 to West Shore Drive, then proceed about 4 miles -- past Village St. (signal light) after a nursery on the left and some commercial buildings on the right, then follow the road as it curves around to the right. STREET PARKING on Beacon St. (facing the opposite direction) ; turn around at entrance to Crowninshield Road (private road), as soon as you see an ocean cove, and proceed back toward the direction you came from. Park on right side of street, facing the direction you came from.