New Bedford

Overview

Introduction

From 1820 to 1860, the waterfront town of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the world's most active whaling port, which made it one of the world's wealthiest cities of its time. In addition to 90 restored buildings, this town 60 mi/100 km south of Boston has the New Bedford Whaling Museum on Johnny Cake Hill. Visitors there can board a fully rigged half-scale model of a whaling bark and watch a film that takes viewers along on a 19th-century whaling expedition. Across the street is the Seamen's Bethel, the chapel described in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum provides a glimpse into the daily life of a wealthy whaling merchant and his family circa 1834. The New Bedford Fire Museum, with its collection of antique fire trucks and firefighting equipment, showcases another side of the town's history.

Bargain shoppers will want to check out the factory outlets in town. The Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, just west of New Bedford, produces nationally acclaimed sparkling wines. Tour the winery, walk the grounds and take in pastoral vistas. New Bedford's annual events include the Whaling City Festival (mid July), Feast of the Blessed Sacrament (celebrating Portuguese culture—early August), the Working Waterfront Festival (September) and the Apple-Peach Harvest Festival (after Labor Day).

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