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Day Trip: New Bedford & Fall River

A Short Trip to The Old World

The New World started here in New England, and the region has been a sort of crossroads and entry point for the rest of the world for centuries. Perhaps nowhere is that influence of other cultures, customs and traditions more overtly found than in the communities of New Bedford and Fall River, thus giving those of us who are only a short distance away, a wonderful opportunity to step into a world of history, culture and cuisine.

New Bedford Harbor

Truly understanding New Bedford means truly understanding the history that shaped the world-famous port. Originally settled when the land was purchased from the Wampanoags in 1652, the port did not become a significant whaling entity until the mid 1700s, where until that time, most whaling was accomplished from the shore. As the construction of the ships improved, whalers were then traveling the full extent of the globe and returning with the knowledge and goods of far away lands. Introduction of the railroad in the 1840s completed the connection between the North American continent and the rest of the world.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum, arguably a national treasure, is the consummate organization to not only present the history of whaling, but the organization also does a great job of continuing the presentation and understanding of the region’s maritime culture, from yesteryear, as well as tomorrow. Stepping inside the museum, one is immediately transfixed by the skeleton of KOBO (King of the Blue Ocean) a blue whale, the largest animal on the planet. Big is a “thing” at the museum, as they also have the world’s largest whaling ship model that is available for full exploration aboard. Whether or not you have been to the Whaling Museum before, and despite your age or your background, a visit is guaranteed to inspire, educate and more than likely amaze. Their programming includes an ever-changing roster of exhibits, but also guest speakers on a wide range of topics from history, culture, marine biology and even world-class sailors, still salty from international competitions. After visiting the museum this summer, Brian T. Allen from the National Review wrote, “I’ve never been in a place that does history, adventure, industry, and reinvention better.”

New Bedford Whaling Museum

You’ll have many “WOW” moments at the Whaling Museum, where stories of the South Coast region come to life through art, history, science, and culture. Marvel at massive whale skeletons, learn what you can do to help keep oceans healthy, climb aboard the world’s largest ship model, and learn the story of New Bedford’s whaling industry.

18 Johnny Cake

In addition to whaling, or perhaps as a result of it, the fishing industry of New Bedford proudly contributes to the global seafood supply chain. As a port of significance, New Bedford was ranked No. 1 as the most lucrative fishing port in 2019, a recognition that has continued for 20 consecutive years. That’s something KnowSeafood’s owner Daniel McQuade knows (pun!) a little something about. Both McQuade and his co-founder Paul Neves worked in the fishing industry for decades, and now they leverage those close connections and understanding of how to deliver the highest quality seafood, as they sell to consumers across the world. As they put it, “To get seafood any fresher, you would have to go to the boat.”


Co-Founders Daniel McQuade and Paul Neves worked in the seafood industry for decades before founding KnowSeafood in New Bedford. Drawing on their deep experience and connections in the industry, they started KnowSeafood to combat fraud and unnecessary additives bringing unparalleled levels of trust, transparency, variety, and quality to seafood-loving consumers who care where their food comes from.

New Bedford is quickly developing a culinary reputation not only for a wide variety of great restaurants, but also as a great place for food entrepreneurs who are starting cottage industries. One of those creators is the Mad Good Cookie Company. Founder Jon Piwowarczyk, not only has the word “Wow” in his name, it also happens to be the response from many who try his delicious cookies. Crispy on the bottom, firm to the touch and soft in the middle, his cookies are regulars when it comes time to pass out awards from many organizations across the region. Currently available via mail order, you may also find his delicious creations at local fairs and festivals.

Mad Good Cookie

Mad Good Cookies, simply put, are the best cookies that you’ve ever eaten! Lori Greiner from Shark Tank has even recommended them on her Instagram and Twitter account. Mad Good Cookie has won many awards at several Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fairs and does not use any additives or preservatives.
They ship nationwide at

If a festival is to your liking, New Bedford is absolutely the place to be. The cultural diversity of the city has spawned generations of Portuguese Festivals, Azorean Festivals and most recently, Brazilian Festivals. Sadly, the 2020 pandemic has taken its toll on many of those celebrations that have become harbingers of the seasons for generations of residents and visitors alike. However, New Bedford is home to a remarkably successful and enduring event entitled AHA! Representing the city’s Art, History and Architecture, the monthly celebration that occurs the 2nd Thursday of each month has been attracting visitors and participants for over 20 years. Director Lee Heald was instrumental in the creation of AHA! in 1999 when she wrote the grant for the first AHA! while she was the executive director at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Heald says the socio-economic impact of every dollar invested into AHA! has had over an 800% return. The cultural diversity of the city has spawned a vibrant arts, music and culinary scene that provides a perfect backdrop for the monthly celebration which is predominantly in the historic section of town where the Whaling Museum, the New Bedford Art Museum, restaurants, galleries and eclectic retail shops line the cobblestone streets.

AHA! New Bedford

AHA! New Bedford is where the city’s Art, History and Architecture come alive on the 2nd Thursday of the month. These free, cooperative events invigorate the region’s cultural scene. Using the power of the arts and community, creativity and collaboration AHA showcases New Bedford’s vibrant, multicultural talent and make arts and culture accessible to local and regional neighbors as well as visitors to this historically significant, authentic seaport.

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