how to live, travel and explore the world from your van

New Bedford Massachusetts road trip on $20 a day

This is part of an 18 week, 7,532 mile, Vanabode road trip detailed in the book from Amazon
titled Big City Wild Country East Coast Road Trip on $20 a Day for just $2.99
See East Coast Road Trip for more pictures, itinerary, maps and trip overview.

New Bedford’s thirteen-block historic district is partly overseen by the National Parks Service.

  new bedford commercial fishing fleet


Above: Here we get three hours of free parking in a two-hour zone because the clock doesn’t start ticking until nine a.m. The waterfront is a convoluted mess of huge trawlers, rusty scallop boats, fishing fleets with matching flags and painted hulls, ancient ice making houses, and stadium sized seafood-processing plants.

large fishing boats in the new bedford wharf

Dozens of unemployed fisherman stare wide eyed at my beautiful blonde wife in her gray tank top and brown skirt. We are the only tourists here.

portuguese fisherman-makes model boats and sells from his truck

Down on one of the wharfs an unemployed Portuguese fisherman sells little handmade ship models from the back of his truck. He is out of work. He tells me “no work here because the government will only allow us to go offshore ninety days a year now. Our boats just sit here rotting most of the time.”

Later we walk the historic district downtown, which features an old but very ornate library, oversized steeple churches, homeless panhandler population, overpriced restaurants, soup kitchens, crumbling sidewalks, and potholed streets.

Above: We carefully make our way up the creaky spiral stairs of the Fisherman’s Bethel. The Quaker style reversible benches and decorations are very understated. The furniture here is without a doubt the plainest we have seen this entire trip, which makes it stand out.

It’s strange to read the accounts of entire boats and crew lost at sea even as late as 1978. She tells us that this city and seaport, even today, is still the biggest and most important on the East Coast in terms of fresh seafood.

new bedford hurricane protection barrier

Above: New Bedford hurricane protection barrier designed to allow people to operate businesses and lives where mother nature would rather they not.

new bedford downtown architecture

Three different people tell us to eat lunch at Antonio’s Portuguese restaurant, so off we go. Get the book to see how that turned out. We head across the bay to Fairhaven’s Fort Phoenix State Beach and Reservation, at the recommended by a nice lady running a waterfront Laundromat (never seen one of those before).

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