New Bedford, MA
Located in Southeastern Massachusetts, the coastal city of New Bedford is best known for its role as a vital whaling port during the early decades of the 19th century. In recent years, New Bedford Harbor has remained one of the most important ports on Massachusetts's South Coast, a center of commercial fishing in the region. The city is bordered by Dartmouth to the west, Freetown to the north, Acushnet and Fairhaven to the east, and the city of Buzzards Bay to the south. The harbor lies at the mouth of the Acushnet River.
In the summer, the city is a transportation hub for visitors to Martha's Vineyard. The New Bedford Regional Airport offers regular flights operated by Cape Air, while scheduled passenger ferry service is operated by New England Fast Ferry. New Bedford also has a number of parks that are scattered throughout the city, showcasing its beautiful coast and woodland.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
In recent years, the 13 city blocks that comprise downtown New Bedford have earned more and more revenue from tourism. In spite of this trend, the city's major industries remain commercial fishing and manufacturing. The New Bedford harbor is consistently ranked among the top fishing ports in the country in terms of dollar value of its catch. Construction, healthcare, wholesale food, accommodation and food services, and educational services are also major sources of employment.
Traditionally, New Bedford became the first petroleum fuel refinery site in the United States. Also, the city remains wealthy due to its textile industry; in the beginning of 1881, the textile industry multiplied and provided enough revenue to sustain the city's economy.
The landmark businesses in New Bedford are Southcoast Hospitals Group, Titleist, and Riverside Manufacturing.
The New Bedford Economic Development Council was developed to help existing businesses and new businesses succeed in New Bedford. The council provides technical assistance, workshops and loan incentive programs.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
New Bedford, which is also known as "whaling city" in the 19th century, features several areas with their distinct identity and heritage:
- The Central New Bedford Historic District accommodates 79 buildings, mostly commercial or mixed-use, including New Bedford's city hall. Some older buildings are in the Greek Revival style, but most are either Classical Revival or Romanesque Revival, more common in the late 19th century.
- Hicks/Logan/Sawyer District was developed as the first growth initiative district of New Bedford. The district is positioned to benefit from its proximity to the harbor, intermodal transit options, easy public access to waterfront and its significant collection of historic mills.
- The Bedford Landing-Waterfront Historic District is what is left of New Bedford's 19th century whaling district and central commercial area. This area features a uniform alignment of buildings - Federal style warehouses and residences, Greek Revival commercial and institutional buildings, and late-19th century mercantile blocks - along its narrow streets.
- Buttonwood Park Zoo: Established in 1894, the zoo is one of the oldest in the United States. The zoo features many kinds of animals, from Asian elephants to river otters, and from butterflies to cougars.
- New Bedford Whaling Museum: This museum exhibits everything from complete whale skeletons, to paintings of whales, to original whaling documents. It operates year round and offers an extensive list of educational programs for local schools.
- Outlet Shopping: New Bedford has a significant number of outlet stores, including Bedspread Mill & Window, Cape Classic Millwork, Children's Wear Outlet, John Matouk & Co., and VF Outlet.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- New Bedford Art Museum: The museum offers local and traveling art exhibits in the Skylight Gallery. The museum is open year round, although its hours of operation can vary according to the season. Part of the museum is housed in a restored bank, featuring two vintage vaults.
- Rotch Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum: A Greek Revival mansion, this museum was once home to some of New Bedford's most successful families. Today, the physical appearance of the house exhibits the architectural style common to its 1834 construction date, and the beautifully-landscaped garden is filled with flowers that visitors may view from an award-winning Woodland Walk.
- Zeiterion Theatre: Home to the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, the theater puts on between 35 and 40 world-class performances each year, including dance, jazz, musicals, plays, and family programs.
- Summerfest Folk Music and Arts Festival: Taking place at the height of each summer, the international festival brings musicians and audiences together for three days of music. The festival also offers arts and crafts and whaleboat races.
- Blessing of the Fleet: Each Fourth of July weekend, fishing and recreational ships of all kinds sail up to a pier-side podium, where clergymen of many faiths bestow blessings on them
- Feast of the Blessed Sacrament: One of the largest Portuguese feasts in the world and the largest ethnic festival in New England, this celebration takes place at the height of summer and draws thousands of people. Some of the activities include: a parade, three stages of live entertainment, a cabaret, and traditional Portuguese cuisine.
- Reading Moby-Dick:This annual marathon takes place the first week of January. Lovers of the famous book gather in the Whaling Museum for a twenty-five-hour, nonstop reading.
- AHA! New Bedford: Taking place on the second Thursday of every month, many free activities that celebrate local art and culture are offered by the city's art galleries and National Parks.
The marine campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and one part of the Fisher College, which has its main campus in Boston, are located in New Bedford.
New Bedford is home to the New Bedford Bay Sox, part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, which plays during the summer.