Turning Back to Port…New Bedford Upgrades Historic Seaport

Since its earliest days as an entry point to the Wampanoag Nation, New Bedford has been a gateway to the world and a center of commerce. While it has long been famous for its fishing fleet and whaling history, the City has been taking a turn toward the future in recent years.

Among the markings for this transition is the renaming of the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission to the New Bedford Port Authority (NBPA).

In addition to renaming the region, the main product has been given a name in order to notify consumers that their fish is coming from the largest and most historic fishing fleet in the nation. From now on, when you see New Bedford Seafood on the package, you can rest assured that the fish inside has come from one of the City’s 45 fishing houses.

While New Bedford is known most for its commercial boating, it is also an ideal place for recreational boating as well. Recognized by Yachting as one of the top 50 places to sail in North America, New Bedford is also home to a burgeoning menu of dockside attractions that range from the world’s largest whaling museum to trendy new eateries and shops. In fact, this rapid expansion in the Port area is the main driver behind the recent renaming of the Port Authority.

If you prefer land-lubbing l’excursions, the popular bike-share program Zagster has also come to New Bedford, making it easy to hop on, hop off, and hop around the city, exploring all it has to offer! For those who like to take their time, there is still nothing like a stroll (romantic, aerobic, or otherwise) along The Blue Lane’s Harbor Walk and Cove Walk.

No matter how you get around, there is a lot to do around New Bedford. For animal lovers, there is the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Buttonwood Park Zoo. History buffs and literature fans can go back in time by visiting the Seamen’s Bethel (which apparently inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”), the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum (which is said to have inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson), or the well-preserved military installations of Fort Phoenix and Fort Taber Park which also offer wildlife preserve land and beautiful views of the Atlantic. While the Whaling Museum may be one of a kind, so too are the New Bedford Fire Museum, New Bedford Museum of Glass, and the ever-changing Arthur Moniz Art Gallery. After enjoying one of the City’s many fine eateries, grab some tickets at “The Z” (the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center) to catch national acts in an intimate and beautiful setting.

While much of what has been making New Bedford famous for generations is being restored and expanded, there is also hope that the rebranding of the area will also attract new visitors and businesses, including NOAA’s new Northeast Science Center.

“We want to make sure New Bedford stays #1 in fishing,” says Mayor Jonathan F. Mitchell, “but we also want to seize these new opportunities so that the port remains the major driver of the regional economy that it is today.”

So whether you want fresh seafood or fresh ideas in seaside getaways and excursions, New Bedford continues to be a see-worthy port!

– Matthew Robinson, Contributing Writer

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