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Destination: New Bedford, MA

By Kelly Church

As the seventh most artistic city in the United States according to Richard Florida of The Atlantic, New Bedford, MA is making a name for itself in the tourism industry. Nearly four centuries old, the city is founded on rich history, including being a major checkpoint in the Underground Railroad. New Bedford is listed as the number one fishing port in the country by NOAA and many restaurants represent locally caught cuisine. The city is expanding its horizons by encouraging tourists to come experience the city's deep culture.

"We have everything from a working waterfront to beautiful beaches, an award-winning small zoo, a National Park, Seaport Cultural District, museums, galleries and some of the best restaurants serving up fresh seafood, Portuguese cuisine and many other international dishes," says Director of Tourism and Marketing for New Bedford, Dagny Ashley.

Indeed, New Bedford is considered a cultural landmark along the eastern coast of the country. Not only is it a short ferry ride away from Martha's Vineyard, the city was described in detail in Herman Melville's classic American Renaissance novel, Moby-Dick. In 1841, Melville boarded a whaleship, the Acushnet, out of New Bedford, which inspired him to take pen to paper and produce his most famous and widely read work.

Melville's response to New Bedford is a fitting ode to the city's prominent fishing culture. For fourteen years in a row, the city's seaport has held NOAA's America's Top Fishing Port title, something Ashley credits to the "high value of commercial fish landing."

"For the recreational boater, New Bedford is probably the best-kept secret in Buzzards Bay, especially for its unparalleled marine facilities and services," Ashley says. "New Bedford Harbor is home to all kinds of recreational watercraft, ferry service to Martha's Vineyard (just one hour away) and Cuttyhunk, excursion boats, water taxis and cruise ships."

Another major aspect to New Bedford is its artistry. The city is riddled with galleries and theatres, supporting the local art culture that is so prominent they were named the seventh most artistic city in the country by Richard Florida of Atlantic Magazine.

"New Bedford has a long history of the arts that is visible in the number of art studios, galleries and cultural organizations," Ashley says. "There is so much to see and do, from visiting the world's largest whaling museum to eating the world's freshest seafood. We love showing folks all there is to offer in New Bedford because New Bedford is a hidden gem that is always an unexpected surprise. We love seeing their excitement as they explore our city and always welcome positive feedback from their New Bedford experience."

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