Eagles, lighthouses, the longest river on the East Coast, and the head of the Chesapeake Bay are all just a short drive north of the Washington and Baltimore beltways
Start: Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace
Finish: Turkey Point Lighthouse in North East
Distance: 1 day, 5 stops, 44 miles
Concord Point Lighthouse
714 Concord St, Havre De Grace, MD 21078
The Concord Point Lighthouse is the northernmost lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay, dates to 1827, and occupies the land where John O’Neil fought a single-handed battle against British invaders during the War of 1812.
O’Neil and his descendants served as keepers of the lighthouse. Stroll through Tydings Park and the beautiful promenade, where you can see the cannon memorial to O’Neil and the nearby Decoy Museum, which is packed with Chesapeake Bay history.
Downtown Havre de Grace
450 Pennington Ave, Havre De Grace, MD 21078
Next, take a stroll through historic Havre de Grace. In 1789, the first Congress of the United States almost named Havre de Grace our nation’s capital, missing by just a single vote. The streets are lined with quaint Victorian houses, shops, and restaurants – some of which have spectacular water views.
Susquehanna State Park
4122 Wilkinson Rd, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
Just minutes from Havre de Grace, you will find Susquehanna State Park, where the Steppingstone Farm Museum is located. The museum, a working farm, depicts the rural heritage of Harford County during the 1880-1920 era with 7,000 tools and artifacts.
In Susquehanna State Park, there is a functioning water wheel-powered grist mill where you can see corn being ground into meal and other live demonstrations. The kids or grandkids will love the experience.
4948 Conowingo Rd, Conowingo, MD 21918
Continue upstream on the Susquehanna to the Conowingo Dam and hydroelectric power plant, among the largest non-federal dams in the country.
On one side, you’ll see a 9,000-acre lake created by damming the river, and one of the only lakes in Maryland where you can water ski and power boat.
On the other side, you will find fantastic rockfish spawning grounds and a river that can be calm and flat with thousands of rocky islands, or a raging turbulent river depending on how many gates in the dam are open.
Take a tour of the dam if available and don’t miss the observation area on the Harford County side. How many bald eagles can you spot?
Next, drive right over the dam into Cecil County where you’ll immediately turn right and drive along the other side of the river on Susquehanna River Road. As you continue with your eagle sightings along Susquehanna Road, don’t miss the Union Hotel and Tavern, constructed of hemlock logs in 1794. Stop in for a bite to eat and be served by staff wearing attire from the 1790s.
As you continue down Susquehanna Road, it turns into Main Street in the town of Port Deposit. This tiny town sits on land first visited by Captain John Smith in 1608. In 1729, a ferry began crossing the Susquehanna, and a canal was completed in 1812 to handle the growth of the timber, granite, and trade in the area.
Turkey Point Lighthouse
Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail, North East, MD 21901
Next, head north to the city appropriately named North East, Md. Settled by the English in 1658, this town is teeming with history. Visit the St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church, with graves of Susquehannock Indians dating back to the 1600s. Check out the shops along Main Street, stop by the Upper Bay Museum at the end of Walnut Street, and visit the Gilpins Falls covered bridge, built about 1860.
Elk Neck State Park offers 2,188 acres of woodlands, fields, white clay cliffs, beaches, and more as you continue down the end of the peninsula.
There is also a campground with tremendous views of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s one of our favorites. At the very tip, you’ll find the Turkey Point Lighthouse. Built in 1833 atop a 100-foot-tall bluff, it was manned for 115 years until automation came along.
Looking across the bay, what do you see? Your starting point at Havre de Grace! It’s a beautiful loop to drive any time of year.