One of my favorite places in Maryland is the Promenade in Havre de Grace. I love that you can walk the whole thing (which is just about a half mile) or just a short piece and still drink in the amazing beauty of the water at the mouth of the Susquehanna River. So much of the waterfront remains open and easily accessible, which is always a lovely thing. The Promenade makes it easy for people of all ages and abilities to meander along. Start at the Concord Point Lighthouse and the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and then follow the boardwalk around to the Decoy Museum. The end of the Promenade is just a short distance past the second museum and you spill out into Millard Tydings Memorial Park and the Promenade Grille, where you can enjoy ice cream or lunch while the kids (if you came with any) hang out in the playground. (Side note: Merry-go-rounds and monkey bars are essential playground equipment and I’m glad to see the new merry-go-round. For some fascinating information on the importance of play and the use of old fashioned playground equipment to create the right types of play experiences, listen to Stuart Brown‘s Ted Talks.)
The Promenade’s current claim to fame is that it is a hot spot for Pokemon Go. There are several gyms, quite a few Pokestops and a number of harder to find Pokemon popping up all over. Some people seem to get stressed out about all the other people walking around glued to their screens, but I love that they are out wandering through Havre de Grace. Besides, watch them long enough and you will see they aren’t only looking at their phones. I am always seeing parents and kids walking together with a cell phone, stopping to exclaim excitedly over a little virtual critter they’ve captured and then turning to read the real world history plaque next to them or pausing to admire the real world duck waddling about.
Honestly, I have been known to drop a game lure at the anchor Pokestop outside the Maritime Museum on the way to my current favorite part of the Promenade, the little section right between the Lighthouse and the museum. It is fun to see the kids enjoying themselves. But I’m usually there to catch another type of beast with another tool. I’ve got my camera in hand and am hunting the best part of sunset. And on the way, I get to see so many awesome things. I saw a muskrat swimming to a little islet the other day. A muskrat! There are always a good number of ducks and seagulls, too. But the sunsets. Oh, they are amazing.
Some people I’ve talked to seem disappointed that the Promenade itself isn’t a show stopper. There aren’t many things to interrupt the stroll, just a small restaurant, a few local history museums and the furthest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay. No boardwalk beach feel. But, to me, that’s what makes it perfect. It is a simple frame for the river’s beauty, with plenty of spots to stop and sit awhile if you want to sketch or meditate or just be.
My most recent visit was very spur of the moment, so I only had my cell phone with me. I didn’t let that stop me. Here are a few of my favorite images from that little stretch of the Susquehanna: