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Visit the Whaling City: New Bedford, Massachusetts

By Edited Jun 21, 2015 1 1

Coastal City in Massachusetts Offers Many Attractions: Cultural Destination in a Revitalized Textile Hub and Working Fishing Seaport

Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel each year to Cape Cod in Massachusetts to visit beaches, enjoy shopping, and relax. On the way to the Cape, every tourist from Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and points south and west drives by a small city that has experienced a renaissance: New Bedford, Massachusetts.

HISTORY

New Bedford was first settled in 1640-1652, and incorporated in 1787. This coastal city now has a diverse population of about 100,000 residents, and is the world’s most famous whaling-era seaport. At the height of whaling in 1857, there were a total of 329 whaling vessels in New Bedford's fleet which employed roughly 10,000 men. Famous for its whale-oil lanterns, New Bedford “lit the world”, and now houses a number of treasures at its city library, art museum, and many galleries. The city's downtown area received national park status in 1998 for its historical and cultural contributions. It was designated by the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service as the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Many visitors come to “walk in the footsteps” of Frederick Douglas, runaway slave and noted abolitionist/orator who first found

New Bedford
freedom and settled in New Bedford in 1838. Often visitors come to explore the story of nineteenth-century millionaire businesswoman Hetty Green, nicknamed the "Witch of Wall Street". The city's textile mills also included the headquarters of the now-famous Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), which billionaire Warren Buffett purchased in the 1960's to create a holding company for his investments.

ATTRACTIONS

In the heart of its cobblestone downtown arts and cultural district, you will find the New Bedford Whaling Museum, a well-known tourist attraction and educational destination for generations of local school children. Among the attractions, the Whaling Museum houses a 66-foot blue whale skeleton, a number of marine paintings, scrimshaw collections, whaling logbooks, and the world's largest ship model, Lagoda, a half-scale whale ship built in 1916. In addition to a vital working waterfront, the city has a 1200-seat theatre, the Zeiterion, a home for a range of concerts, traveling musicals, and performances by the local New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. Also make plans to visit the Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport, the Schooner Ernestina, and the Rotch-Jones Duff House.

In New Bedford, you can find a number of waterfront restaurants, hotels, and nearby bed and breakfast spots, including the Melville House where Moby Dick-author Herman Melville often visited in the 1860’s to stay with his sister. The city also has a number of stately federal and Victorian mansions built by 19th-century sea captains. The downtown National Park visitor center is the best place to begin your visit and pick up a number of maps and schedules. 

ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, and RECREATION

Years ago the city’s rich arts and architecture led to the development of a year-round, monthly downtown arts series called AHA! Night. There are also a number of summer festivals on music and cultural themes each year city-wide between June and September. These include a number of Portuguese Feasts, Cape Verdean festivals, blues and folk festivals, jazz concerts, and more, in the city's downtown, north-end, and south-end areas. The extreme southern tip of the city, beyond a hurricane barrier, features beaches and an American Civil War-era military fort which is now part of the public 47-acre Fort Taber Park. The city is also accessible by a small regional airport, and has ferry service to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk. Limo and car rentals are available throughout the New Bedford area and easily arranged through many local hotels.

Consider a visit to New Bedford, Massachusetts as a destination, or next time you and your loved-ones are traveling to the Cape Cod for summer vacation. 

The Historic Whaling City, New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
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18 Johnny Cake Hl, New Bedford, MA 02740, USA
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Comments

Dec 11, 2011 8:48pm
vicdillinger
This is a great overview of a great place to visit, and this coastal area can really evoke that era as one stands in the spray! (a thumb -- natch)
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