Havre de Grace, Maryland

Go here: Walking the tree-lined streets of historic Havre de Grace is like stepping back in time. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind, skip the mad rush of suburban shopping malls and spend an enjoyable weekend in this quaint town, tucked into the easternmost corner of Harford County. Located at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, Havre de Grace played a prominent role during the Revolutionary War. During the First Congress in 1789, Havre de Grace missed by only one vote being named the capital of the fledgling United States.

Called "Harbor of Grace" for its scenic beauty, it was considered indefensible from the all-powerful British Navy. That proved prophetic, when the British later bombarded Havre de Grace during the War of 1812, destroying much of the town. Today, the town is known for its quiet streets, antiques shops, decoy shops, historic homes and the Promenade, an environmentally friendly boardwalk skirting the southern end of town and linking the historic Concord Point Lighthouse with the bustling Tydings Memorial Park.

Stay here: Vandiver Inn, 301 S. Union Ave.; 410-939-5200. There are eight rooms inside this 1886 Victorian mansion, with an additional nine rooms in nearby guest houses. Weddings and corporate retreats are popular here. Room rates begin at about $119, including complimentary breakfast.

Eat here: Skip lunch and head directly for dessert. Some of the best chocolates in Maryland are made in Havre de Grace, at the family-owned and -operated Bomboy's, 329 Market St., 410-939-2924. The candy is handmade fresh daily.

Don't miss this: Havre de Grace has a rich history of duck-hunting and fishing. The Decoy Museum, 215 Giles St., boasts an excellent collection of more than 1,000 carved decoy ducks. Lectures, exhibits and tours are available.

The Concord Point Lighthouse, 700 Concord St., is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in Maryland, and offers spectacular water views.

Get here: From Baltimore, take Interstate 95 north to Exit 89. Merge onto Level Road/Md. 155 and continue east about a mile. For more information, go to City of Havre de Grace.

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