Students of maritime history will want to set anchor in Fall River, Massachusetts, located 45 mi/70 km south of Boston and just a 15-minute drive from New Bedford. It's home to Heritage State Park at Battleship Cove where visitors can board the World War II battleship USS Massachusetts, the submarine USS Lionfish, the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. and a wooden PT boat. Back on land, take children to the park's restored carousel.
At the Marine Museum, you can learn about the Old Fall River Line that ferried passengers to and from New York City in the early 1900s. The museum also displays artifacts from the Titanic and commemorates the city's history as a world-renowned textile manufacturer. The Fall River Historical Society is housed in one of the state's finest old mansions, with 16 ornately furnished period rooms. Less elegant and more macabre (but still interesting) is its exhibition of remaining evidence from the 1892 Lizzie Borden ax-murder case.
The area abounds with Portuguese-American culture. Native son and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse got his start in the culinary arts program at Diman Vocational High School.
Bargain hunters will find more than 100 factory outlets, offering designer clothes, name-brand sportswear and housewares. Not far away, in Mansfield, audiences at Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts applaud performances by big-name rock, folk and jazz musicians.
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