Historic New Bedford and The Whaling Museum

Cobblestone streets, grand old mansions, ornate trim. Walk the streets that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick, that’s historic New Bedford.

Inside the Visitor Center I chatted with the 2 volunteers for a bit while I secured my stamps. I hadn’t planned to visit the museum but the volunteers were good. They were quick to tell me about the movie that was showing and that there was a new whale skeleton with a fetus. That kind of got my attention in a morbid sort of way. They said yes, the whale had a fetus and that was on display too. So I wandered off in that direction.

I planned to get lunch before I got involved watching a movie…and one with no pop corn to boot…and headed toward the Catwalk, a pub style restaurant that served amazing food for a reasonable price when Nancy and I were there last year. A couple of guys were hanging out in front that looked like they had just come in off the boat. Unshaven and in watch caps they were loitering and smoking in front of the Catwalk. It turned out the restaurant was closed for renovation. So taking a deep breath I asked the guys about it. They seemed to know all about it explaining that it was being completely done over. I asked them to recommend someplace for lunch and they suggested I go back uptown to a sandwich shop.

I asked them about Pizan’s which was right across the street and they just kind of shrugged, commenting it was ok if I wanted Pizza.

I decided it was worth a shot. It kind of reminded me of the little bar/restaurants I grew up with. There were little booths and a few tables. A plank floor and a counter where you placed your order. 2 Environmental Police came in with me so I figured it couldn’t be all bad. I’m not sure what they ordered but I had a meatball sub and a soft drink. It was not bad but nothing special either. If I go back there again I will have to try their pizza as that seemed to be what those guys felt was the best.

Finishing my lunch I wandered on down to the waterfront. RT 18 is quite a busy street so I didn’t try to cross but I could see the signs for the various ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. I began working my way back up toward the Whaling museum. In the process I spotted a building with really outlandish window decorations. There were Buddha’s and crows and vines to name just a few. They were all made from a black material, cast iron maybe????…and very shiny.

The sign on the building read Old Dartmouth Historical Society.

A little farther up the street was another white multi-columned building. According to the informational sign displayed this was once a bank. In fact, 2 banks. One side was for the wealthy merchants and whaling elite, Merchants’ Bank and the other side was for the working man , shopkeepers and tradesmen, the Mechanic’s Bank.

 This was right across the street from the Whaling museum so it was time to check out the baby whale skeleton and the movie.

As I approached the museum I noticed some decorations I didn’t remember from last year. There was a bright orange squid, a miniature whale boat frame, and a sailor.

 There was also some other statue that I couldn’t identify and I forgot to grab a picture. I will have to save that for another trip.

The movie was good, Around the World…The Business of Whaling in 19th Century New Bedford . The title was longer than the movie! You don’t wait for it to start as it is on a continuous loop. You just go in and sit down and stay until it’s back to where you made your entrance. It tells about the whaling days and was very well done. The theater is also quite attractive. I didn’t go through the museum again but did go into the atrium to see the new whale skeleton and sure enough, there was the little baby skeleton. That is so sad but I guess that’s life …and death…in the wild.

Leaving the museum I wandered back uptown in search of an ATM. I’ll share those pictures and a bit more next time.

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