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Havre de Grace Promenade, one of the best walks in Maryland

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The Promenade in Havre de Grace is the ideal waterfront walk in Maryland. The combination of spectacular views, hometown charm, and the complete lack of commercialization make this walk the best of its kind in the state.

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Conceived thirty years ago by then Mayor Dr. Gunther Hirsch, the promenade was seen as a way to celebrate the neglected Havre de Grace waterfront and a means to encourage tourism. Success and success. In the ensuing years the city has seen a welcome increase in dining and lodging offerings. You can spend the night here in a lovely Bed and Breakfast, and then stroll the town and have lunch or dinner in your choice of several fine restaurants. The promenade passes close to Concord Point Lighthouse, the Maritime Museum and the Decoy Museum.

But enough about that. Walk the boards. Feel the sun and the cool bay breeze in your face. See and hear the trains clattering over the Amtrak bridge over the Susquehanna. Watch the elegant sailboats and yachts cruising by. See a barge loaded with sand and gravel lumber southward. Look as far south as possible, to the distant and very high Eastern Shore bluffs across the bay in southern Cecil County. Walk through a grove of bamboo. See the ducks and geese congregating nearby. Hear the swish of the waves lapping the shore under your feet. Smell that slightly briney, not quite salty bay essence. Regard the immensity of sky and water, knowing that this is just a little piece of the mighty Chesapeake.

Havre de Grace is the best place in Maryland to walk next to the water. The city is frequently regarded as the undiscovered Annapolis, and in many ways the comparison is valid. However, as beautiful as Annapolis Harbor is I can't think of a good place to walk next to it. Baltimore has a fantastic waterfront promenade, but nature-focused it is not. The boardwalk in Ocean City is terrific, but in-your-face commercialization is purposefully one of its charms.

Is there a better place in Maryland to walk and experience the Chesapeake Bay? I would be thrilled to get your comments below. It may lead to another Examiner story.