The City of New Bedford is a medium-sized town with a fascinating history and a long maritime tradition. At one time, it was the world's most famous whaling seaport and the United States' busiest fishing port. Today, the Port of New Bedford is a culturally diverse community with many beautiful parks and public beaches.
Located on the shores of Buzzards Bay, it offers a wide variety of water-related activities as well. Visitors come to the Port of New Bedford to enjoy its rich history, its diverse ethnic cuisines, and its many opportunities for recreation and amusement. Temperatures in the Port of New Bedford range from an average low of 4.4 °C (24 °F) in January to an average high of 17 °C (63 °F) in July.
The most popular attraction in the Port of New Bedford is the Whaling Museum, America's biggest museum devoted to the history of the country's whaling industry. The museum holds an extensive collection of manuscripts, art, and artifacts related to the golden age of whaling from the late 18th Century to the early 20th Century.
The Seaman's Bethel was the inspiration for Melville's "Whaleman's Chapel" in Moby Dick. Today, the pew where Melville sat in the chapel in 1840 is marked, and the names of the local fishermen who died are listed on the chapel walls. For more than 175 years, the Seaman's Bethel was known in ports around the world. It is believed that Melville's "Father Mapple" was based on the first Chaplain, Enoch Mudge.
The Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum memorializes the three prominent families who have lived there. Designed by Richard Upjohn and built in 1834 for successful whaling merchant William Rotch, Jr., the house is one of the best surviving residential Greek Revival buildings surviving in America today. Its furnished rooms portray the different periods and lives of the families who occupied the home from 1834 until 1981 through both permanent and changing exhibits.