It’s a fact: we never had more beautiful weather than on our Fall Foliage Mystery Trip where we visited the New Bedford’s Whaling National Historic Park operated by the National Park Service. Our day was sunny and bright with temperatures in the mid-sixties. Our 90 passengers had a comfortable trip down through Rhode Island and across the bridge into Fall River and then to our destination. We arrived in New Bedford promptly at 10:00 am and ranger Rufai was waiting for us. Passengers from each coach were split into three groups of 15. One coach started with a film and the second coach began the trip with a walking tour around the New Bedford waterfront - switching after an hour. The architecture is amazing. By the mid 1800’s, New Bedford was a city coming of age. Its waterfront, business district, and neighborhoods teemed with prosperity from a flourishing whaling industry. The city was the whaling capital of the world.
We returned to the Historical Park Visitor Center and viewed a documentary. Our film was about the ‘City that Lit the World’ and told the story about whaling and how whale oil made New Bedford one of the richest cities in New England. We talked about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Moby Dick and we learned about some of the town’s most prominent citizens including former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglas. We saw the Seamen’s Bethel, a non-denominational church that served the multi-national and multilingual sailors and their families. This church boasts the famous pulpit in the shape of a whaling boat.
At noon we were ready for lunch. We boarded our coaches and drove to New Bedford’s most colorful neighborhood – home to the Portuguese community. Cotali Mar Ristorante was our lunch destination – and what a restaurant it was. Our passengers took the staircase to the Grand Ballroom where we virtually filled the room. Many took advantage of the cash bar, while the staff started serving our first course family style. Hostess Kathy announced to our diners that every Portuguese dinner starts with Kale Soup. Each table for eight got a tureen of the rich savory soup and a basket of Portuguese rolls and fresh butter. Service was good and everybody loved their soup. Our main courses quickly followed. Passengers had pre-selected entrees of sirloin steak, chicken Madeira, or pork Alentejana. Our dessert course was Portugal’s famous chocolate roll which some of us had experienced on our visit to Lisbon. Food at Cotali Mar was delicious and the service couldn’t be beat! We’ll be back.
At 2PM we headed back to the waterfront area of New Bedford for two hours of shopping and independent exploration. Some paid closer attention to the displays in the Visitor Center; others shopped in the near vicinity; some took a short walk down to the waterfront where Bedford’s fishing fleet could be seen from the docks. Some visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum just a few steps away; others walked up to tour the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum. The 1834 Gothic Revival mansion presides over a neighborhood filled with beautiful homes built by the fortunes of the whaling industry. It was a quiet day at the museum, so we got the grand tour from the docent on duty. Great fun!
It was surprising how few people on the tour had ever been to New Bedford. It makes me glad that Adventure Tours has once again opened a window of opportunity to so many travelers. We are glad to have you as part of our travel family!
Don't miss our next Mystery Trip for a world of exploration, fine dining, fantastic shopping, and a hint of advanced education. You know you want to!