Welcome to the
historic city of New Bedford, Massachusetts USA! Located in the southern New
England on the shores of beautiful Buzzards Bay, New Bedford is 96 kilometers
south of Boston, Massachusetts, 56 kilometers east of Providence, Rhode Island,
and 48 kilometers west of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
New Bedford is a famous old whaling port continues to earn its living from
the sea. The crews of New Bedford's famous whaleships would call out
"Around the world!" as they embarked on voyages that took them to
every corner of the globe in pursuit of whale oil. Herman Melville shipped out
of this port in 1841; the experience inspired him to write Moby-Dick.
Today, New Bedford is an
authentic seaport city with a large fishing fleet and working waterfront. The
seafaring traditions of its mariner forefathers still hold fast. As in
Melville's day, the "Whaleman's Chapel," or Seamen's Bethel, remains
an active house of worship. Across the street, the century-old New Bedford
Whaling Museum houses the world's largest collection of whaling artifacts,
including a ship model so large, you can climb aboard! Both places stand in the
heart of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, a 13-block area of the
downtown adjacent to the waterfront. The Park preserves and interprets the
city's role as "Whaling Capital of the World" in 19th century
The city was also an important stop on the Underground Railroad, well known
for helping slaves on their trek to freedom. Frederick Douglass found his
freedom and his voice in New Bedford.
New Bedford history is filled with people whose real-life stories are as
fascinating as Melville's fictional Captain Ahab. Hetty Green, the "Witch
of Wall Street," was the richest woman in the world in 1916, worth $100
million. Albert Bierstadt, William Bradford and Albert Pinkham Ryder, great
names in American art, called New Bedford home. Their legacy continues in the
city's thriving arts community in places like the nationally recognized
ArtWorks! At Dover Street.
New Bedford is homeport to the official vessel of Massachusetts. The
108-year-old schooner Ernestina brings to life maritime history and education
to students of all ages.
The County Street historic area features great whaling era mansions that
Melville imagined were "harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of
the sea." The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum is one such
mansion frozen in time. Visitors are transported back to 1834 and the opulence
of New Bedford's golden age of sail. Also located downtown is the Zeiterion
Theatre, a meticulously restored Vaudeville Era theatre. The Zeiterion is home
to the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and also offers a wide array of stage
entertainment from around the world.
The New Bedford Art Museum, located on City Hall Square, exhibits works from
the vast 19th century art collection of the New Bedford Free Public Library as
well as a broad range of local and traveling exhibitions. The New Bedford Fire
Museum features a large collection of 19th century fire apparatus housed in old
Station #4, built in 1867.
Buttonwood Zoo, in historic Buttonwood Park, is located in the city's west
end. Newly expanded, the Zoo features "Berkshires to the Sea," a
natural history journey of richly diverse wildlife and habitat that spans from
the Berkshire Mountains to Buzzards Bay.
Mountain lions, black bears and bald
eagles give way to river otters, harbor seals and exotic shorebirds as the
journey culminates at the ocean's edge. The Zoo's new Aquatics Environment
Complex explores the flora & fauna of the region's ponds, streams and
estuaries. The Zoo also features bison, Asian elephants and a traditional New
England farm that features some of the rarest domestic breed animals in the
New Bedford also has small shops and galleries. Many restaurants feature New
Bedford's legendary seafood and Portuguese cuisine. The summer season offers a
full calendar of festivals, including Summerfest and the largest celebration of
Portuguese culture in the nation, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. A monthly
arts night, "AHA! New Bedford," happens every 2nd Thursday of the
month featuring many free activities throughout the National Park and downtown
showcasing the city's vibrant arts community. For more information, call the
New Bedford Office of Tourism and Marketing 1-800-508-5353.