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New Bedford is in Massachusetts on the southern coast. New Bedford's excellent harbor made it a natural fishing and whaling center. It was the world's premier whaling port in the nineteenth and for a time "the richest city in the world" and "the city that lit the world" because of whale oil production.
New Bedford is a city of around 100,000 people, many of Portuguese (particularly Madeira) or Cape Verdean ancestry, still with a great many off the boat immigrants from both. The city has gone through strongly contrasting cycles of poverty and wealth, from its relatively late (by Southeast Massachusetts standards) settlement and foundation, to the peak of the whaling industry, its growth as a textile city in the 20th Century, and the subsequent crash brought on by rapid mill closure in the latter 20th Century. It's been known as one of the rougher, seedier locales of New England for a number of decades now, but it's strongly on the upswing since the historic center was declared a federally protected historic site in 1996. While you'll still find plenty of slums, projects, and tenements throughout the city, you'll also find the waterfront full of narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways, historic 18th and 19th Century buildings, and upscale restaurants and museums. It's also one of the only fortified cities in the US, featuring an impressive (and walkable) gated harbor wall that runs from the South End cove across the mouth of the Acushnet river to neighboring Fairhaven. Additionally, there are pockets of grandeur in most parts of the city, with a long stretch of Victorian mansions on County Street that features some truly jaw-dropping architecture, akin to Newport's humbler dwellings. Though the downtown is perfectly safe at night these days, many neighborhoods are still dangerous and walking through them is not advised.
- T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick (Rhode Island).
- Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston.
New Bedford Regional AirportSmall regional airport mostly used for flights to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
- Interstate 195, Route 140 and Route 6 run through the city.
- From Boston and points north:
- From Cape Cod and points east:
- From Providence and points west:
Peter Pan Bus Lines has up to ten daily departures from Providence. Buses arrive at the SRTA Terminal in downtown.
- Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA), 134 Elm Street New Bedford Transportation Center, (508) 997-6767 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
phone: +1 508 991-6178address: 425 Hawthorne StDaily 10AM-4:30PM (Summer F,Sa until 6:30PM. Adult: $6; Senior or Student: $4.50; Child 3-12 $3; under 3: Free; Family: $16.
Schooner ErnestinaNew Bedford State Pier.
address: 608 Pleasant StreetDaily 10AM-5PM, Thursdays until 7PM. Second Thursday of each month is "Aha! Night" free from 5PM-9PM. $3/$2, under 17 free.
address: 136 Rivet Stat St. Martin's Church Hall, +1 508-993-0772. Community theatre group.
phone: +1 508 984-1666address: 61 Wamsutta StA huge collection of antique and art glass from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, to the golden age of Victorian New England glass making (with particular emphasis on New Bedford's world famous glass studios of Pairpoint and Mount Washington), to 21st Century glass artists from around the world. The gift and consignment shop has an ever changing selection of antiques and unique glass in every price range, plus books (great gift shopping for the not easily impressed). Library and resource room with more than 8,000 volumes available for research. Free expert glass identification done every Monday, a great way to find out more about heirloom and hand me down glass pieces.
Fort Taber & Fort Rodman Site and Military Museumphone: +1 508-994-3938address: 1000 Rodney French BlvdBeautiful complete historic stone fort dating back to the 1850s, set amidst an immaculately landscaped 47 acre park at the southern tip of the New Bedford peninsula. Beautiful ocean views all around, plus one of the few Coney Island style boardwalk jetties in New England. Definitely the best place in the city for a picnic. The park admission is free, small fee for the museum.
phone: +1 508 992-2162address: 51 Bedford St
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
phone: +1 508 996-4095address: 33 William StreetEvery day 9AM-5PM. Free national park volunteer and ranger-led tours last approximately one hour and step off from here at 10:30AM, 12:30PM and 2:30PM every day in July and August.
- Waterfront Visitor Center, Wharfinger Building at Pier 3 take pedestrian overpass on Rodman St. An exhibit interprets present-day commercial fishing and the building's past as the city's seafood auction. Start your waterfront adventure here by taking a self-guided tour of the working waterfront, a harbor tour at 12PM, 2PM, or 4PM (fee) or a ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard or Cuttyhunk island (fee).
Annual SummerfestEarly July 11AM-8PM.
phone: +1 508 997-004618 Johnny Cake Hill. Every day 9AM-5PM, Th until 9PM in summer. Adults $10, senior citizens and students $9, children (6–14) $6.
The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museumphone: +1 508 997-1401address: 396 County StM-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 12PM-4PM. Home of whaling merchant William Rotch, Jr. built in 1834. Designed by Richard Upjohn, the House is one of the finest surviving examples of residential Greek Revival architecture.
phone: +1 508 992-3295address: 15 Johnny Cake Hill RdLate May-early Oct. M-F 10AM-5PM. A chapel immortalized in Herman Mellville's Moby Dick as the "Whaleman's Chapel" in a scene where a fire-and-brimstone sermon is given from a bow-shaped pulpit. Such a pulpit only existed in Melville's imagination and finally a mock-up had to be built in 1961 just to satisfy disappointed tourists. The pew where Melville sat when he visited in 1840 is marked. The walls of the chapel list the names of area fishermen who have died.
- Balloon Adventures of New Bedford, see Dartmouth.
Stephen Hetland Memorial Skating Rinkaddress: 310 Hathaway BlvdCall for public skating hours.
Whaling City ExpeditionsHarbor tours, sunset cruises, private charters.
address: 328 Parker Street
- Visit Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket by ferry.
- Go to East or West beaches on Rodney French Blvd.
- Isaiah's Restaurant, Union and Pleasant Streets, +1 508-999-6037. Su 8AM-1PM; M-W 7AM-3PM; Th 7AM-7PM, F 7AM-8PM, Sa 7AM-1PM. Great cheap eats. Breakfast, sandwiches, variety of entrees under $8. $5-$15 for dinner.
address: 41 William StreetNice facility set in a classic old brick firehouse, with a large copper top bar and displayed artwork. Cozy atmosphere in the heart of historic downtown, good for families, couples, or friends. Award winning fish chowder. $12-$22.
Candleworks Restaurantaddress: 72 North Water StreetFine dining.
address: 36 Homers WharfBig, spacious family seafood restaurant with sushi bar, amid historic stone counting houses and customs buildings on the harbor with a nice view of New Bedford's fishing fleet docked. Excellent food, which you don't always find in a restaurant of its size. Arguably the best fried calamari in Massachusetts.
address: 90 Front StreetChic tapas place and wine bar in one of the most stunning historic buildings in the city (which is really saying something in New Bedford). Dark, urban decor upstairs, exposed 18th Century stone walls in the basement, massive wooden support beams and other unique period details visible throughout. Excellent Spanish influenced food in surprisingly large portions, good wine list that offers "flights". The place to go if you're looking to impress your out of town guests, or be impressed yourself.
address: 42 North Water StreetThree rooms of cozy seating in endearingly mismatched furniture, in the heart of the cobblestone paved historic city center. Great selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches and even soups. The coffee selection's basic but quite good. Lots of antique nicknacks on display from Ireland as well as New Bedford's past. Perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon.
phone: +1 508 984-0489address: 1339 Cove Rd, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02744Authentic Portuguese food.
address: 737 State Road
address: 500 Hathaway Rd153 rooms.
New Bedford Fairfield Marriottaddress: 185 Macarthur DrRecently built modern hotel with five floors of rooms and suites. About a one minute drive to the heart of downtown, right on Rodney French Boulevard, which is the scenic road that hugs the ocean looping around New Bedford's South End peninsula. Some spectacular ocean views from the upper floors, including the harbor wall.
Try nearby towns for other hotels and motels.
Bed and Breakfast
Captain Haskell's Octagon Houseaddress: 347 Union St
Davenport House Bed & Breakfastaddress: 124 Cottage St
address: 139 Orchard St3 rooms in 1850s three story whaling captain's home. Continental breakfast.
- phone: +1 508 997-6151address: 628 Pleasant St Rm 204