Recently we left Our Carolina Shore for our annual visit up to New England to visit family and especially to be entertained by our grandson, Liam Carmine, who turned 2 during our stay.
We managed to get a couple of day trips in with him and of course, they ended up being along the Massachusetts shore. Oddly enough, we visited a couple of spots that we had never been to in our 50+ years living in the area: New Bedford and her sister city, Fairhaven in Mass and Pt Judith in Rhode Island.
There are 2 things that come to mind when thinking of New Bedford….whaling and fishing! What was once the whaling capital of the world is now one of the top fishing ports in the US. In fact, for the 18th straight year, the port of New Bedford in 2017 had the highest valued commercial fisheries catch, reporting 111 million pounds valued at $389 million, according to federal statistics released Thursday. Of that, sea scallops accounted for 80 percent of the value of landings in New Bedford.
It was whaling, however, that first put New Bedford on the map! Around 1780, William Rotch, Jr., a Nantucket Quaker moved to Bedford Village, which would later become New Bedford. Rotch was the owner of the first whale oil ship, the Dartmouth, to be launched in Bedford Village. She was one of the vessels boarded by the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when Francis, son of Joseph Rotch, as managing owner, protested the loss of his cargo.
In the 19th Century New Bedford gained worldwide reputation as the greatest whaling port and the richest city per capita in the world. Portuguese and Cape Verdean immigrants formed the backbone of the whaling industry, on the wharves and on the high seas. Herman Melville shipped out aboard the whale ship, Acushnet, in 1841. His experiences inspired him to write his novel, Moby Dick.
Of course, we all know the sad history of the whaling industry, but New Bedford survived by transitioning to fishing. At any given time, you will see countless fishing boats docked along the entire protected New Bedford harbor.
For a look at some of the lovely old homes and buildings and the plethora of fishing vessels, click on the photo below to take you to the New Bedford gallery. Photos there can be shared and/or purchased in various formats as well as digital downloads which you may use freely for any non-commercial use.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
While you’ll never be able to see any whaling ships if you visit New Bedford, you’ll be able to see the next best at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. This is a MUST visit on your itinerary! You will be in awe upon your first step into this massive museum.
The photos included in this gallery do not even scratch the surface of the scope of the exhibits in the museum. Do yourself a favor and plan a visit and be aware…some of the best dining in the area can be found directly across from the museum!
Across the protected New Bedford harbor sits her sister city, Fairhaven, which at one time a part of the city of New Bedford. As such, you’ll find many of the same characteristics in the town as in New Bedford. It too is primarily a fishing town and its inhabitants continue to be as they were when originally settled, Portuguese and Cape Verdean. If you’re a fan of Spanish/Portuguese cuisine, you’ve found your home here!
Point Judith/Galilee, RI
A trip to Point Judith & Galilee rewards you with a slice of a bit of everything you’d expect from a New England shoreline. You’ve got a lovely, tranquil beach along the ‘elbow’ at Point Judith leading into the rocky cliffs at the point where the lighthouse resides. Those rocks continue along the shoreline to Galilee where they form multiple breakwaters, dotted with umbrellas and sunbathers, sheltering the gorgeous harbor where you’ll find ferries to Block Island, commercial fishermen and their boats and of course, markets and restaurants where you’ll find fresh lobsters fish and more right off the boat.
In the summertime, it’s heaven for people watchers with hordes of vacationers lining the ferry boarding lines and as many others in line to get into one of their favorite restaurants right on the water.