Claimed by locals as Maryland’s best-kept secret, Havre de Grace (aka HdG) is a quiet, relaxing getaway near the head of the Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of the Susquehanna River.
Harford County Airport is a small, community-owned, rural field; just the kind of place that makes general aviation special. Because it lies within 60 miles of Washington, D.C.'s DCA VOR, you must complete the FAA’s DC SFRA special awareness training course; it's a good idea to carry printed proof of course completion inside your aircraft. At the airport, Harford Air Services offers flight training, and you can learn how to fly a glider at the Atlantic Soaring Club. See photos for more details on flying to this airport and the nearby seaplane base. Once in Havre de Grace, most everything is in walking distance except for golf and the winery; call Enterprise at 410-273-7711 or grab a cab or Uber.
Back on land, hit the links at the Bulle Rock Golf Club. Ranked first in Maryland, the 235-acre course was designed by Pete Dye, who commented, “I did not undo God’s work.” Visually stunning tee shots, terrific green complexes, and wonderful course conditions will make you feel like you are playing in a major. After your game, unwind at the family-owned Mount Felix Vineyard. Sample wines on the back patio or in the tasting room. The friendly owners are happy to share their extensive historical knowledge of the area.
Speaking of wine, The Vineyard Wine Bar has one of the world’s most outstanding restaurant wine lists—and that’s according to no less than Wine Spectator magazine—along with a menu of salads, flatbreads, and small plates. In 2017, the popular Laurrapin Grille was purchased by two longtime employees of the restaurant and renamed Lagom, which means “being happy with just enough” in Swedish. And happy you’ll be after tasting their divine lamb shank, Maryland crab cakes, brisket, and other specialties. Another excellent choice is the Tidewater Grille, where indoor and outdoor waterfront dining plus live entertainment make for a fun, casual atmosphere on the lower Susquehanna River.
Built in 1827 at the mouth of the Susquehanna, Concord Point Lighthouse is the oldest publicly accessible lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay, open to the public on weekends from April to October. The Keeper’s House Museum features exhibits on the history of Havre de Grace’s best known landmark. During the war of 1812, John O’Neill, known as the defender of Havre de Grace, attempted to ward off the British with a cannon that still stands today next to the lighthouse. The nearby Havre de Grace Maritime Museum tells the story of this region’s rich maritime heritage. Check the website of the newly restored Havre de Grace Cultural Center at the Opera House for plays, live music, and dance performances, and visit the antique shops and art galleries in town.
Elegant bed-and-breakfasts top the list of Havre de Grace accommodations. A prime example of a Queen Anne cottage, the Victorian Vandiver Inn was built in 1886 and offers gorgeous furnishings, gourmet breakfasts, and special events like Mother’s Day Brunch and Father’s Day Scotch Dinner. The Spencer-Silver Mansion is a Victorian stone masterpiece that includes a tower, four gables, a two-story bay window, a dormer, and a variety of shaped windows, plus rich woodwork and stained glass inside. Eggs Benedict and baked apple French toast or muffins are favorites at breakfast. Any time you want a relaxing vacation by the great Chesapeake Bay, Havre de Grace fits the bill!
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