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Think whales...more whales and Moby Dick...New Bedford was known as "The City that Lit The World". Most of the whale oil from the whaling industry historically based in New Bedford was used in lamps due to its quality of illumination burning brightly with no smoke or odor. During the 19th Century it was one of the most important whaling ports in the world and nicknamed "The Whaling City". Sitting in the south coastal area of Massachusetts with a natural deep-water harbor, it is home to the largest Portuguese-American community in the United States. Once the richest town in America with more millionaires per capita than any other place in the world, New Bedford is still America's most profitable commercial fishing port. It was home to Hetty Howland Green (1834-1916), known as "The Witch of Wall Street" due to her business acumen running her parents' whaling business. She was worth $100 million when she died, which would equate to approximately $17 billion today. It was in 1840 from New Bedford that the author of the famous novel "Moby Dick" embarked on the voyage that was to create the inspiration for the story.
If you go nowhere else, you must visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum where you can lay your eyes on KOBO (King of the Blue Ocean) - the skeleton of a rare juvenile Blue whale from 1998. You will find the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of whaling prints from the 17th to the 20th Centuries on exhibit. You can join a freebie guided walking tour from the Visitors' Center that will give you an insight into New Bedford's past. The streets of the historic downtown area are overflowing with whaling memorabilia shops, cafes and restaurants to poke around. As the town's history began in the early 1760s, the historical buildings that were occupied by mariners and merchants are well worth taking the time to explore. From Federal and Greek Revival-style buildings to gable-roofed warehouses of stone, such as the Mariner's Home (1790), the Seaman's Bethel (1867) and the Samuel Rodman Candle House (1810) to name a few. You can investigate the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park or saunter down by the waterfront with its fishing boats.
When you have had enough of talking whales ad nauseam, then head to one of the restaurants and gorge on some of the freshest seafood that you will find anywhere in the world.
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