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South Shore/Coast - Massachusetts
This section extends from Boston's South Shore through the Plymouth area and down to the southeastern coastal area to Fall River and New Bedford. Cape Cod and the islands lie beyond.
>> Dedham Dining Suggestions
Isabella, 566 High St., Dedham. (781) 461-8485.
>> Randolph Dining Suggestions
Caffè Bella, 19 Warren St., Randolph. (781) 961-7729.
>> Hull Dining Suggestions
Saporito's Florence Club Café, 11 Rockland Circle, Hull. (781) 925-3023.
>> Hingham Dining Suggestions
Tosca, 14 North St., Hingham. (781) 740-0080.
Fireking Baking Co. & Bistro, 19 North St., Hingham. (781) 740-9400.
>> Cohasset Lodging and Dining Suggestions
The Red Lion Inn Resort 1704, 71 Main St., Cohasset. (781) 383-1704.
>> Cohasset Lodging Suggestions
Cohasset Harbor Inn, 124 Elm St., Cohasset. (781) 383-6650.
>> Cohasset Dining Suggestions
Atlantica, 44 Border St., Cohasset. (781) 383-0900.
>>Scituate Dining Suggestions
Barker Tavern, 21 Barker Road, Scituate. (781) 545-6533 or (800) 966-6533.
>> North Abington Dining Suggestions
Vin & Eddie's Ristorante and Wine Bar, 1400 Bedford St. (Route 18), North Abington. (781) 871-1469.
When you think of "America's Hometown," think Pilgrims, Thanksgiving and cranberries. The Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower here in 1620 to build Plimoth Plantation in the New World.
From the original Plymouth Rock (now enshrined in a covered pavilion), the town of Plymouth has mushroomed and this is no longer the quaint New England village of yore. Tourism is rampant. One million visitors come annually to visit the landmarks they remember from school history books and too often are disappointed in what they find. Along the busy waterfront, monuments and statues tell their tales against a backdrop of ticky-tack. Ocean Spray's prominent new Cranberry World Visitors Center at 158 Water St. captures visitors with exhibits and a shop devoted to cranberries, and the reborn Edaville Railroad in South Carver takes them out through the cranberry fields.
The Pilgrim experience is reenacted at the outlying Plimoth Plantation. The in-town Pilgrim Hall Museum, opened in 1824 and one of the oldest museums in America, houses many of the original Pilgrim possessions. They help make Plymouth worth the pilgrimage at least once.
Plimoth Plantation, State Route 3A, Plymouth.
On a hill overlooking Cape Cod Bay in the distance, this is a re-creation of the original town of Plymouth. It is a living history museum reflecting the spirit of 1627, with "citizen" actors portraying original Pilgrims as they go about their daily lives as if it really were 1627. Ask any Pilgrim a question and they answer it in a dialect of the 17th century. Ask a question about "today" and they cannot understand since they "live" in 1627. For children and families, it is a fascinating play in which everyone is a character and the dialogue constantly changes. The centerpiece is the 1627 village enclosed in a log palisade with bulwarks and gates at the corners. A timber-framed fort blockhouse stands out amid thatch-roofed community storehouses, a cow house, hay house, an outdoor oven, private homes and even livestock. Hobbamock's Wampanoag Indian Homesite conveys a sense of native American culture and history. Early crafts are demonstrated and made for sale in the Carriage House Crafts Center. Lunch with a taste of 17th-century cookery is available in the visitor center. A few miles away at the waterfront next to Plymouth Rock, visitors may board a reproduction of the Mayflower in which the Pilgrims sailed the Atlantic.
(508) 746-1622. www.plimoth.org. Open April-November, daily 9 to 5. Adults $22, children $14.
>> Plymouth Lodging Suggestions
Foxglove Cottage, 101 Sandwich Road, Plymouth. (508) 747-6576 or (800) 479-4746.
Bradford Cottage Bed and Breakfast, 73 State Road, Plymouth. (508) 746-7015 or (888) 997-3699.
>> Plymouth Dining Suggestions
Daniela's Café, 23 Court St., Plymouth. (508) 746-4040.
Waverly Grille, 444 Long Pond Road, Plymouth. (508) 224-6700.
>> Taunton Dining Suggestions
Benjamin's, 698 Bay St., Taunton. (508) 824-6313.
>> Seekonk Dining Suggestions
Audrey's, 213 Taunton Ave. (U.S. Route 44), Seekonk. (508) 336-4636 or (800) 232-1772.
The "Spindle City" was America's leading textile producer with more than 125 mills in operation in the late 19th century. The graystone hulks are visible to motorists along Interstate 195, and many were converted into some of New England's earliest factory outlets.
The Fall River Heritage State Park is an eight-acre urban park beneath the I-195 Braga Bridge, next to Battleship Cove. The latter harbors six fighting ships, from the 680-foot battleship USS Massachusetts and the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. destroyer to a submarine, and its newest addition, a Russian-built missile cruiser. The Marine Museum at Fall River, 70 Water St., holds one of the world's best collections of Titanic memorabilia, including a 28-foot-long model of the liner, illuminated to show the nighttime sight of its fatal voyage. Former railway cars nearby are filled with memorabilia known as the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Museum.
The Fall River Historical Society, in a restored mill owner's mansion at 451 Rock St., contains steamship memorabilia as well as a display on the legend of Lizzie Borden, who was accused and acquitted of the celebrated 1892 murder of her parents. The Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast Museum is a mysterious museum and B&B at 92 Second St.
>> Fall River Dining Suggestions
The Abbey Grille, 100 Rock Church, Fall River. (508) 679-9108 or (888) 383-2665.
LePage's Seafood & Grille, 439 Martine St. (Route 6), Fall River. (508) 677-2180.
Giorgio's, The Steak House, 30 Third St., Fall River. (508) 672-8242.
More than other coastal areas, the off-the-beaten-path Westport area between Fall River and New Bedford remains remarkably undeveloped and a pleasant vestige of the past. Along with neighboring Padanarum in South Dartmouth and Little Compton in adjacent Rhode Island, Westport Point and Westport Harbor on opposite sides of the Westport River are favorite summer-home retreats for academics from Cambridge and Providence. Horseneck State Beach offers some of the best swimming on the South Coast. The Russell family's fine Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery and their new Buzzards Bay Brewery are known for award-winning beverages.
>> Westport Dining Suggestions
The Back Eddy, 1 Bridge Road, Westport Point. (508) 636-6500.
Once the country's leading whaling port, this city along Buzzards Bay with a large commercial fleet and working waterfront derives one-fifth of its income from fishing and related endeavors. Herman Melville set sail from New Bedford in 1841 on the journey that inspired the epic Moby Dick. As in Melville's day, the Seamen's Bethel, a non-denominational whaler's chapel, looks seaward from atop cobblestoned Johnny Cake Hill. It stands in the heart of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, a thirteen-block downtown area that's the newest urban national park.
New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford.
Here is the world's largest and most distinguished collection related to the history of American whaling in the age of sail. The handsome brick building, really seven sections in one, is big enough to house the 89-foot half-scale replica of the whaling bark Lagoda captained by Jonathan Bourne, whose family donated the building and which visitors get to climb aboard. It also contains a 66-foot rare blue whale skeleton and new interactive exhibits about whales and life aboard a whaling ship. Also displayed in this exceptional museum are scrimshaw, whaling implements, decorative arts, paintings, photos and logbooks, including one from the ship upon which Melville sailed. Across the street is the Seamen's Bethel with its pulpit in the shape of a ship's prow, as immortalized in Moby Dick.
(508) 997-0046. www.whalingmuseum.org. Open daily, 9 to 5. Adults $6, children $4.
Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum, 396 County St., New Bedford.
The County Street historic area contains dozens of "brave houses and flowery gardens" remarked upon by Herman Melville in Moby Dick. This is one such mansion, located on a full city block of formal gardens and reflecting New Bedford's golden age of whaling. The 23-room Greek Revival mansion was designed in 1834 by architect Richard Upjohn for a prominent whaling merchant. Rooms display furniture, clothing, decorative arts and personal belongings from three families over a 150-year period. A wooden pergola is a centerpiece of the historic gardens, which include a formal rose parterre garden, a boxwood specimen, a cutting garden and a wildflower walk.
(508) 997-1401. www.rjdmuseum.org Open Monday-Saturday 10 to 4, Sunday noon to 4. Closed Monday, January-May. Adults $4, children $2.
>> New Bedford Dining Suggestions
The Candleworks Restaurant, 72 North Water St., New Bedford. (508) 997-1294.
Freestone's City Grill, 41 William St., New Bedford. (508) 993-7477.
This content is excerpted from New England's Best, by Nancy and Richard Woodworth, copyright 2002, published by Wood Pond Press.