Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Bedford, Massachusetts

The last place we visited while in Massachusetts was a town by the name of New Bedford.  This town is known for it's history with sailors, whalers, and the story of Moby-Dick.

"The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England..nowhere in all America will you find more patrician-like houses, parks and gardens more opulent, than in New Bedford…all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea."

H. Melville, "Moby-Dick"

The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park was where our day began.  This NPS Visitor Center is housed in an old Court Building.  I just love all the beautiful architecture...

Upon entering, we were greeted by two of the best volunteers ever.  The sweet little lady that stayed behind the desk and the energetic man that zipped all over the place with the kids while they did their Jr. Ranger books.  I'm pretty sure he had as much (possibly even more) fun that day as the kids did ;).

There were some really great displays in the VC and a movie entitled "The City That Lit the World".  We learned that during the 1800's, New Bedford was the most important fishing port that existed.  The catch was whales and the biggest commodity was whale oil, making this city one of the richest in the world.

For one of the Jr. Ranger requirements, the kids had to go on a scavenger hunt around town.  They had to find certain landmarks and write about where they found them.  Fun!  I like that this activity got the feet moving as well as the mind.

While we were out walking, we saw the Custom House.  This U.S. Custom House, built in the early 1800's, is the oldest continuously operating one in the country.  Can't you just imagine the people that have walked through those doors...

Also on our walk, we came to the Seamen's Bethel.  Built as a place to hold church services for all the whalemen before they would set sail; it is also a place where families of sailors lost at sea can come and pay their respects.

piano+wheelbarrow=harbor side church services

A little more walking (and admiring of beautiful old buildings)...

...and then we were back at the VC for the kids to have their books reviewed.  The Ranger gave out handshakes and badges, we said our goodbyes to the nice volunteers, and we were once again back on the road.

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