Day Trips: Boston Chinatown

elsa yeung
by Elsa Yeung

This weekend is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, and what better way to explore Chinese culture than a visit to Chinatown in Boston?

First, some history: The Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated since 3,000 years ago during the Western Zhou Dynasty. This year’s festival falls on Sunday, September 30th, but because ancient China used the lunar calendar, the exact date changes from year to year on our solar calendar. Celebrations include gathering with family for a meal, carrying colorful lanterns, and eating moon cakes.

Legend also has it that moon cakes were used in overthrowing Mongolian rule in China during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Rebels distributed moon cakes that secretly contained slips of paper spreading the word to “revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.” The successful rebellion resulted in the dawn of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Moon Cakes Chinatown Boston
Moon cakes are often filled with a salted egg yolk, which represents the moon.

Moon cakes are pastries made with a sweet lotus seed paste and can be found all over Chinatown this time of year. You can spot them in every pastry shop window in a variety of sizes. They are commonly filled with sweet red bean paste or large salted egg yolks representative of the moon. Moon cakes are pretty dense and are usually cut into small slices and shared with friends, so bring a couple of your buddies for a fun day in Boston’s Chinatown!

Recommended restaurants:

Gourmet Dumpling House (52 Beach Street)

It is rare to see Gourmet Dumpling House without a line out the door because it is so delicious! The restaurant specializes in Northern Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine, which emphasize noodles and dumplings. Their best dishes include (of course) dumplings of any kind, home style braised eggplant, kung pao chicken, and beef noodle soup.

Peach Farm Seafood (4 Tyler Street)

You’ve had fish and chips, and lobster rolls. Now get ready for seafood Chinese style!  Peach Farm serves some great clams in black bean sauce, salt and pepper shrimp, lobster with ginger and scallion, and any kind of fish (which they will bring live in a bucket to the table for you to inspect before throwing it in the pan).

Chinatown Boston
Boston’s Chinatown is full of great food and interesting shops.

Hong Kong Eatery (79 Harrison Avenue)

You can’t miss Hong Kong Eatery, because they’ve got whole roasted ducks hanging out in the window! If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a whole roast pig there as well. Hong Kong Eatery’s menu is typical of Cantonese casual dining, which is usually a hit with young, old, rich, and poor alike. The roast duck is great, and you can order it paired with Chinese BBQ pork (a must) and/or crispy roast pork (if available). Their fried rice and wonton noodle soups are also always great.

China Pearl (9 Tyler Street)

For a real dining adventure, head to China Pearl where you can have a traditional dim-sum brunch. At a dim-sum restaurant, servers push around carts of food to each table, where you can pick and choose dishes to be shared with the rest of the table. Typically, each dish is small so that you can sample a large variety of foods. Favorite dim-sum foods include pork buns, shrimp dumplings, turnip cakes, sticky rice, and egg tarts (a close cousin of the Portuguese custard pastry).

The best part of eating in Chinatown is that meals come relatively cheap. Just remember to bring cash, because a lot of places don’t take plastic. Chinatown is conveniently located next to several T stops and is also right next to the Boston Common, where you can enjoy a nice stroll in the park after stuffing yourself with Chinese treats and wandering through Chinatown’s many novelty shops.

10 Things to Know About Fort Taber

One of New Bedford’s historical treasures and largest parks is Fort Taber-Fort Rodman on Clark’s Point. It’s an amazing location and that shapes the tip of the south end of New Bedford. To me, it’s important and fun to learn about your local history. Do you know why the fort has two names; Fort Taber and Fort Rodman? Most of the historical information used in this article was taken from the official Fort Taber- Fort Rodman Historical Association’s website and the City of New Bedford’s Fort Taber Park page.

Photo by Felix Vieira.

1. There was never a military battle at Fort Taber-Fort Rodman, but the fort deterred enemy navies from attacking our shipping and city during the civil war, World War I and World War II.

2. The United States first saw Clark’s Point as a strategic location during the American Revolution. A British raid in 1778 destroyed seventy vessels and twenty-six storehouses.

3. The first government structure built on Clark’s Point was a 42-foot stone tower lighthouse erected in 1804 to help guide whalers and other vessels entering the harbor.

Fort Taber in 1871
Fort Taber in 1871.

4. On September 24, 1857, the federal government purchased the Edward Wing Howland farm on Clark’s Point for $7,000 to establish a defensive military fort. The initial funding was $50,000 for a 70 gun defensive fort.

5. On May 11, 1861, a temporary defensive position was completed and unofficially named Fort Taber after current New Bedford Mayor Issac C. Taber (1860-1862). It was built to help defend the area during the Confederate navy during the Civil War. The federal government called  it “the fort at Clark’s Point.”

6. In 1898, the entire military property was officially named Fort Rodman in honor of Lt. Col. William Logan Rodman of New Bedford, killed in the Civil War battle at Port Hudson, Louisiana.

7. After World War II, Fort Rodman was declared surplus and in the 1970s part of the facility was sold to the City of New Bedford.

8. There is a military museum on the fort for visitors enjoy. It is open daily from 1-4 p.m. Call 508-994-3938 for more details.

9. There is an interactive timeline detailing the evolution of Fort Rodman-Fort Taber and an interactive map to learn specifics on each building.

10. Sometimes in the summer, the fine folks at the Military Museum will open the doors and give visitors a look inside. Here’s a rare look inside Fort Taber: https://www.newbedfordguide.com/video-a-look-inside-fort-taber-in-new-bedford/2016/05/07 

Know of an unique fact about Fort Taber-Fort Rodman? Post a comment!

Fort Taber Fort Rodman New Bedford Map

Local Students Return From Study Abroad Trip to Argentina

The Southcoast of Massachusetts may be ‘home’ for two local students, but Jeremy Dias and Ashley Bendiksen say that life in Argentina gave them both a ‘second home’ away from home since their return on June 18th. Dias and Bendiksen, both students at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, spent an entire month studying abroad in Mendoza, Argentina to fulfill Spanish language credits. The total immersion program offered the students daily Spanish classes, residency with a host-family, and multiple excursions to explore and experience Argentina’s culture.

Dias, a 20-year-old native of Dartmouth, graduated from Bishop Stang High School in 2010. He is currently a Junior at the university studying Nursing and belongs to the Student Nursing Organization (SNO). He currently lives in Newport. Bendiksen, a 25-year-old native of Fairhaven and 2004 graduate of Fairhaven High School, is a Senior majoring in Administration of Justice with plans to attend Law School. She currently retains a 4.0 GPA, has made the Dean’s List each semester, and has been inducted into the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. She currently resides in New Bedford, MA.

Dias and Bendiksen traveled with six other students and Dr. Linda Crawford, the Chairwoman of Salve Regina’s Modern and Classical Languages Department. While in Mendoza, classes were attended at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, through C.E.L.E. (Centro de Español como Lengua Extranjera), an institute dedicated to teaching Spanish as a foreign language. In addition to their studies, students participated in numerous program-sponsored activities. These included visiting a traditional gaucho ranch, hiking, horseback riding, and touring art and history museums, a wine vineyard, and an olive oil production site. In addition, the students visited natural landmarks and hiked the Andes Mountains, including a hike through Cerro Aconcagua, America’s tallest peak. When schedules were open, as new friends, students explored the city of Mendoza and put their Spanish-speaking skills to work, making friends with ‘the locals,’ taking tango lessons, joining a local running group, and sipping yerba mate together. Since their return, both plan to continue their Spanish-language studies and hope to someday return.

In addition to their studies and academic excellence, both Dias and Bendiksen are actively engaged in civic and philanthropic efforts throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. Dias is currently the founder of Beth’s Walk ‘2 Make Oral Cancer History’ an annual event engaged in partnership with the Oral Cancer Foundation. Bendiksen takes on numerous active leadership roles across the SouthCoast as a SMILES Mentor and Big Sister, a board member with the Miss New Bedford Scholarship Program, and currently holds a position on the Board of Directors of the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts as well as being Chairwoman of the YWCA’s Leading Ladies.


5 Greater New Bedford Romantic Restaurants

By Shonna McGrail Ryan

Whether you’re on a first date or are in a seasoned relationship, finding a romantic setting can pose a challenge. Too often you may find every date night ends in front of the TV with take-out or at the same old bar down the street. Whether you’re looking to impress someone with a memorable first date or in need of someplace spectacular to celebrate your anniversary, there are a number of places in Greater New Bedford that are sure to do the trick.

Each of the restaurants you’ll read about in this article feature a sort of atmosphere that make them stand out from your average eatery.  Keep in mind that ambiance often comes with a price tag, and these restaurants can be categorized in the high priced to fine dining category.  It also never hurts to make a reservation beforehand, as some of these spots get quite packed.  Therefore, plan accordingly but know that both the food and atmosphere you pay for won’t soon be forgotten!

1. Cork Wine and Tapas

90 Front Street, New Bedford, MA

Cork Wine and Tapas New Bedford RestaurantCork’s innovative menu features both tapas (a variety of appetizers) and full entrees that are unlike any other food selection around.  The menu is often changed to reflect exciting new options and always focused on fine cuisine. While Cork may be quite artistic with its culinary splendors, their menu has plenty of suitable options for a variety of pallets.  For example, they offer a dressed up bacon cheddar burger and other traditional favorites like fried calamari or Caesar salad.  If it’s exotic you’re looking for however, they also cater to that with items like their coconut curry lobster.

Aside from a menu selection that will appease both you and your date, Cork has a great atmosphere.  Along with an impressive selection of wine and aesthetic presentation of food, the restaurant is located in downtown NB in the Joseph Tabor building, a structure which has been a fixture of the area for over 175 years.  The heavy stonework and classic New England craftsmanship make for a spacy interior and a beautiful setting for your special night out.

2. Airport Grille

1569 Airport Road, New Bedford, MA

Airport Grille New Bedford Restaurant Located at the New Bedford Airport, the Airport Grille is quite secluded from the rest of the city and offers an upscale atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re in Boston or NYC for the night.  The interior of this restaurant combines sleek and sophisticated architecture with cool dim lighting in a cozy and intimate sized package to make for the ultimate romantic dinner spot.  This restaurant also has a variety of wine options to assure you can find a great pairing with whatever you order, and the bar is a focal point of the design.

The Airport Grille specializes in American and European fare and prides itself on having the best in fresh and local food.  As with Cork, there are both exquisite fine dining specialties and regular everyday fare to be found on the menu.  For example, there are salads, a burger option, several mouth-watering steaks and even a delicious take on the classic comfort food, Mac & Cheese.  For the gourmet adventurer, they have some very intriguing dishes such as duck carbonara.

3.  Waterfront Grille

36 Homers Wharf, New Bedford, MA

Waterfront Grille New Bedford RestaurantWaterfront Grille is the only waterside restaurant in the downtown area.  This alone gives it a one-of-a-kind feel, with a seasonal deck for dining and a charming atmosphere that would fit right in as an upscale Cape Cod eatery.  This restaurant offers great views of the wharf and many of the boats that dock in the New Bedford Harbor.

True to the waterfront theme, this grille specializes in seafood ranging from a lobster dinner to sushi and even featuring a raw bar.  If you and your date are seafood lovers Waterfront Grille is a great place to get exceedingly fresh fish of all sorts.

4. The Candleworks Reastaurant

72 North Water Street, New Bedford, MA

The Candleworks Restaurant New BedfordLocated in historic downtown NB, Candleworks is one of the most intimate restaurants in the area.  As with Cork, Candleworks is located in a historical building that still possesses all the charm of old New England architecture. The interior is cozy and quaint with stonewalls, fine dining place settings and a full bar.  There is also outdoor dining available seasonally and several tables with fire grates that provide a romantic ambiance you won’t find anywhere else.

Candleworks has a large menu that is best described by their Facebook “a casual affair with upscale flair”.  The menu is host to many of classic favorites such as filet mignon and baked scrod.  Along with great surf and turf options there are delicious options for pasta lovers, and even some basic sandwich options.  One thing is for sure; neither you nor your date will go hungry at Candleworks!

5. The Back Eddy

1 Bridge Road, Westport, MA

The Back Eddie Westport Restaurant This is the only restaurant that I deemed simply had to make the list even though it is not located in New Bedford. The Back Eddy has become famous for its delicious seafood, beautiful waterfront views, and funky interior design.  The Back Eddy is very close to Horseneck Beach, which makes it a short drive from anywhere in Greater NB.  Since it is open seasonally anyways, the location of this restaurant makes it ideal for a taking a romantic stroll on the beach before or after dinner.

The Back Eddy defines itself as “a seafood restaurant that does things a little bit differently” and I couldn’t possibly put it better.  With an indoor and outdoor bar and seating, the place can get jam packed but you won’t mind sacrificing a little elbow room when you see the beautiful views of the Westport river.

The food at Back Eddy will also make it worth the short drive.  The Back Eddy is dedicated to using fresh and local ingredients, which makes it a truly unique to the region dining experience.  The produce is supplied from South Coast and Coastal Rhode Island farms, the seafood is caught by New England fisherman, and even wine, beer and cheese options are artisan made.  The menu is a mixture of both surf and turf, with recipes ranging from the standard lobster and butter to a few very unique options such as their lobster casserole.

New Bedford Cruise Ship Schedule

Michael Silvia
by Michael Silvia

New Bedford has become a tourist destination for people all around the world. With some of the best history, architecture and art that New England has to offer, thousands of people visit our city each year by land, air and sea. New Bedford has the top fishing port in the world that provides an infrastructure for cruise ships to dock and pour a hundred tourists into our city on a single visit. For 2012, there are 17 cruise ships scheduled to dock.

Businesses should consider accommodating these tourists and residents should welcome them with open arms. These visitors inject much needed cash into our economy. Businesses should consider adding extra staff, provide water and dog food outside their establishment, and ensure their staff are friendly and accommodating. New Bedford residents should be helpful and friendly. How we act as a city will have a lasting impact on future cruise ship schedules. Let’s ensure that visitors leave New Bedford with a positive experience and want to visit our city again.

New Bedford Harbor Cruise Ship Schedule (Source: American Cruise Line)

New Bedford Cruise Ship Schedule

Tues, June 12, 2012
Mon, June 18, 2012
Sun, June 24, 2012
Sun, July 1, 2012
Tues, July 3, 2012
Sun, Jul. 8, 2012
Sun, Jul. 15, 2012
Sun, Jul. 22, 2012
Sun, Jul. 29, 2012
Sun, Aug. 5, 2012
Sun, Aug. 12, 2012
Sun, Aug. 19, 2012
Sun, Aug. 26, 2012
Sun, Sept. 2, 2012
Sun, Sept. 9, 2012
Sun, Sept. 16, 2012
Sun, Sept. 23, 2012

Still Skiing in Northern New England

by Vicki Bancroft

The warmer than usual snowless winter makes many New Bedford area residents smile. No shoveling, no cancelled school and work days, no traffic concerns and no snow covered streets. Kids may not be as happy as their sleds sit idle and their dreams of making a snowman or even a snowball melt.

Local skiers, snowboarders and snowsports enthusiasts are dealing with the frustration locally but know there is snow in the mountains as long as they travel about three hours or more, to the north.

In spite of the lack of natural snowfall this winter, the larger resorts throughout New England have been able to use their snowmaking capabilities to cover most of their trails. The base depths aren’t as deep as desired, to extend skiing well into spring, but for now, the trails are snow covered and skiers and riders are enjoying their sport.

Alice Pearce, president of SKI NH representing alpine and Nordic areas throughout the Granite State, says that business in New Hampshire ski areas is off 18 -35% from last year’s snowy ski season.

Skiing Waterville Valley New Hampshire“We have had three months of snowmaking and since most resorts have 96-100% snowmaking ability, there is snow,” Pearce said.

But the reality is the number of skier visits is down and this has a huge economic impact on our northern neighboring states that rely of this winter revenue. It seems that when people don’t have snow in their own back yard, they assume there is also no snow elsewhere and they are less likely to go skiing.

Although winter snowsports have been affected by the lack of natural snowfall, there is still plenty of snow fun to be enjoyed throughout northern New England. The next two weeks of school vacation (Massachusetts followed by New Hampshire) will be critical to the resorts’ bottom line.

So why not consider heading northward to enjoy some winter recreation? There is cross country skiing at well-known resorts such as Bretton Woods and Jackson Ski Touring Center where they are able to groom and maintain their trails. Many resorts have added zip lining activities to their recreational offerings and these are open year round. Snowtubing continues to be very popular and with the help of snowmaking, is still available.

If you want to ski or snowboard, don’t worry…there really is snow and conditions are generally good. The key is to get out early and enjoy your runs while the conditions are maximized by the overnight grooming. If the weather is warm, the snow will get wet and heavy as the day progresses. If it is cold, the surface may be firm. Keep your equipment well-tuned and pay attention to weather and snow reports.

As New Englanders, we are used to variable and changing weather. The true skiers are praying for a good snowstorm to dump a foot of snow in the mountains soon. We all know March can be a very snowy month and although the current weather pattern seems, stubborn, hope has not vanished for a snowy March to set up spring skiing into April.

Local skiers and riders know the benefit of their winter passion. We feel better getting outside and being active. Don’t let the lack of snow in your back yard keep you from enjoying winter. You just have to travel a little and you will find the winter you have been missing.

See you on the slopes.

Vicki Bancroft is a longtime skier who enjoys the slopes throughout New England whether there is snow in New Bedford or not.

South Coast Weekend Guide (July 29-31)

ali piva author photo
by Ali Piva

New Bedford’s weather forecast for the weekend is predicting hot temperatures, and mostly sunny skies.  There will be clouds and isolated thunderstorms on Friday, with temperature highs up to 79°F. Skies will clear up on Saturday with a forecast of partly cloudy and temperature highs up to 90°F.  Sunday should be a beautiful beach day, with clear skies and temperature highs up to 86°F.

This weekend, definitely check out one or some of the many opportunities in the area to listen to local music, celebrate nightlife, enjoy the arts, benefit a good cause, or attend a show at the local theatre.  As always, most events discussed here are from LocalOracle.  To have your events promoted for FREE, submit them HERE. If you need directions, simply click on the event name for contact info and directions.


A Chorus Line Zeiterion New BedfordSpend the evening at the theatre!  Friday is the opening night for “A Chorus Line,” a musical presented by the New Bedford Festival Theatre at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (684 Purchase St.). “A Chorus Line” will be at the Z for a short time – only a two weekend run, so don’t miss out on this performance! Tickets are $30-$45; for showtimes and to purchase tickets, check HERE.

From The Z: “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and 9 Tony Awards, A CHORUS LINE is a stunning musical about a chorus audition for a Broadway musical. It relates the poignant ambitions of those unsung heroes of the American Musical Theatre, the chorus dancers, and in doing so becomes a celebration of the American Musical itself and a powerful metaphor for all human aspiration. Memorable musical numbers include: I Can Do That, At the Ballet, Dance: Ten; Looks: Three, The Music and the Mirror, One (Singular Sensation) and the perennial What I Did for Love. BROADWAY’S BEST MUSICAL….EVER!!”

For nightlife, check out Mister Zero band at Rose Alley Ale House (94 Front St.), or enjoy listening to Vintage Soul at Candleworks Restaurant (72 N. Water St.), both performing at 9:30pm.

For more events, check HERE.


Coast Guard Eagle Ship New Bedford
U.S. Coast Guard’s ship Eagle FREE public tours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Start the morning with some exercise.  Try out a yoga class at Yoga On Union (corner of Johnny Cake Hill and Union St.).  Saturday morning offers two classes; 8am-9:15am or 9:30am-11am.  Cost is 5 classes for $60, 10 classes for $110, and $13 for drop-ins.  For more information on yoga in the area, check HERE.

Want to do a good deed and support a wonderful cause?  Animal Advocates is having a yard sale from 9am to 3pm on both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend.  The event is being held at 153 Rockland Ave., in South Dartmouth.  Proceeds from the yard sale will benefit homeless dogs and cats, as well as helping pet owners who are unable to financially support their animals.

Do something different this afternoon, and spend time aboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s ship, the Eagle, which will moor at State Pier in New Bedford for the weekend.  This is a truly exceptional and unique experience!  Bring the kids or your friends and explore this 295-foot square-rigger.  The tall ship will be open for public tours starting Friday, as well as Saturday and Sunday.  Tours are free and will be held on Friday from 1-5 PM, Saturday from 1-7 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM-7 PM.  Parking will also available for free at Elm Street Garage.

If you’re looking for another good cause to support while having a great time outdoors, head over to UMass Dartmouth (285 Old Westport Rd.) for the Dartmouth Police’s ninth annual Concert on the Green fundraising event.  Gates to the the UMass Dartmouth Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial Ampitheatre open at 4 PM and will feature a family-friendly, picnic style event.  If you never stopped believing, make sure you’re at UMass Dartmouth Saturday night at 8 PM for the highlight of the night – a concert by SCARAB, the Journey Tribute Band! For more information on the Concert on the Green event, please call (508) 910-1735. All proceeds benefit the Dartmouth Police Relief Association and Athletic League.

For nightlife, listen to the musical stylings of local, alternative, rock band, the J. Kelley Band, at Ice Chest Bar and Grille (136 Huttleston Ave., Fairhaven) at 9 PM.  Craig De Melo will be at Rose Alley Ale House (94 Front St.) after 9:30 PM, or check out Lesser Knowns at No Problemo (813 Purchase St.) at 10 PM. Vintage Soul will be playing again at Candleworks Restaurant (72 N. Water St.), Saturday night at 9:30 PM.

For more events, check HERE.


Start Sunday-Funday with a walk around Buttonwood Park.  Or take your family to explore the Buttonwood Park Zoo (425 Hawthorn St.); the zoo is open from 10 AM-5 PM and ticket prices are $6 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and teens, and $3.00 for children ages 3-12.  Support the Buttonwood Park Zoo with your attendance and enjoy a beautiful morning or afternoon with nature and animals.

Or, sleep in and enjoy a late brunch or lunch date at Cork Wine and Tapas (90 Front St.) or Dog Day Sundays with your BFF (best furry friend) at Hibernia Irish Pub (109 William St.).

Spend Sunday night Downtown at the Sunday Night Jam Session at Pour Farm (780 Purchase St); starting at 7 PM and hosted by local musician Matt Antunes.  Support independent, local musicians who are looking to get their music out to you!  Want to jam?  Give Matt a shout at straightlacedproductions@comcast.net.

New Bedford Farmers’ Markets

New Bedford Farmers' MarketsBeginning today, July 28th New Bedford will again welcome the annual farmers market to the downtown business district.  This year, due to the city’s plans to revitalize the Wing’s Court public space over the next several months, the downtown farmers market will be held in front of the Main Library on Pleasant Street.  The downtown farmers market will be held every Thursday from 2:00-6:00 PM now through October.  Vendors at the downtown market include Brix Bounty Farm of Dartmouth; Pocasset Orchards of Dartmouth; and Winterbottom Farm of Fairhaven.

New Bedford hosts several farmers markets in other neighborhoods including:

Brooklawn Park Market

Mondays 2 p.m.-7 p.m., Brooklawn Park entrance, Ashley Boulevard and Carlisle Street. Vendors: Pocasset Orchards, Dartmouth; Sampson Farm, Westport; Winterbottom Farms of Fairhaven.

Clasky Common Market

Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Clasky Common, Pleasant and Pearl streets

Vendors: Paradise Hill Farm, Westport; Sampson Farm, Westport.

There are also farmers’ markets in Fairhaven, Westport, Middleboro, Dartmouth, Taunton and Rochester. Full details here.

A Trip to the Vineyard

amy knox author photo
by Amy Knox

Spring has finally sprung, which always gears me up for my family’s  yearly tradition of heading to Martha’s Vineyard. This has been going on for 16 years now: First we go for a couple of weekends, then we stay for a week during the summer.  I guess you could say I am an expert of traveling to the island.  The first question I’m always asked is, “You go to the Vineyard every year.  What is there to do?”  My answer is I go there to do nothing: I don’t drive anywhere, I don’t have to wait in long lines at an amusement park…I just take it day by day and enjoy doing whatever.

So now your thinking: “What if I want to do something? Is there anything to do?” Yes.  There is actually much to see and do. Each town on the island has it’s own unique character.  The beaches on the Vineyard are wonderful, there are many different restaurants to try, many boutiques for browsing, and many places to for taking a leisurely stroll through Ocean Park in Oaks Bluff.

marthas vineyard map new bedford guideGetting to the Martha’s Vineyard is easy. The Steamship Authority of Falmouth has ferries running daily, and they all allow cars and pets aboard.  While you have other options, I always depart from Falmouth because the boat ride is only 45 minutes and it is our tradition. One-way passenger tickets are $8.00 each for adults, children ages 5-12 are $4.25 each way, and children under 5 are free. The price for bringing your vehicle over  is $77.50 each way, and you must make reservations ahead of time. For more information visit: www.steamshipauthority.com. New Bedford has the Fast Ferry, leaving from 49 State Pier.  The ride is 1 hour and the tickets are $35.00 one way. This ferry only comes into Oak Bluffs and only runs during summer months.

During the busy season I always take the ferry that comes into Oak Bluffs (offseason it goes only to Vineyard Haven), because this is our final destination. The Surfside is a Motel that is directly across from the pier, which makes it easy to get off the boat with luggage and walk a few steps to the motel. This is a family run operation that has been in business since 1987.  They offer complimentary continental breakfast each morning, suites along with regular rooms, and it is pet friendly. I have found the rates to be reasonable compared to other hotels in town, and the staff is super friendly and helpful. All rooms do come with Wi-Fi, blow dryers, microwaves, mini fridges, and did I mention daily views of the ocean. For more information about the Surfside: www.mvsurfside.com

After getting settled in at the Surfside, we head directly to one of our favorite restaurants called The Offshore Ale Company. Located a short walk from the motel on Kennebec Avenue, you enter into a rustic, nautical atmosphere.  You are immediately engaged by the vats of beer that are being brewed on-site ,and then by the peanut shells that are scattered amongst the floor.offshore ale company new bedford guide At the front door you can grab a bowl and scoop up peanuts out of a huge barrel to bring the peanuts back to your table.  Of course children love this, especially the part of whipping the shells onto the floor. I find that hard to do being a mother that always insists on putting things in the trash. If you love beer this is the place to be, they brew lagers, pale ales, IPAs, Belgium-style offerings, stouts, and an award-winning Nut-brown Ale. You can bring some back with you by purchasing a growler and have them fill it up with your favorite beer.

They are also known for their brick oven pizza and pub style food. We usually get a few different pizzas to share; the ones we prefer are the potato pizza and the BBQ pizza. The potato pizza is mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions with a side of sour cream on a thin crust and is to die for. The BBQ pizza consists of caramelized onions, bacon, mozzarella cheese, scallions and honey barbeque sauce on a mouth-watering thin crust. The price of pizzas are around $17.95, but they are large and worth it. Other items on the menu range from soups and salads, to a raw bar along with seafood entrees and burgers. The Offshore Ale Company is a great family friendly, casual dining experience for all.

After dinner comes desert for us, so we head over to Circuit Avenue where there are many ice cream shops to choose from. The most famous is Mad Martha’s, but there is also Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium and the Carousal. All of them are great and the portions are huge,but they are pricey: You can expect to pay about $4.00 or more for a cone.  Since I don’t have a favorite ice cream shop, I go to the one with the smallest line. This is important because during the summer the lines can be out the door.

mad marthas circuit avenue new bedford guide
Mad Martha's Ice Cream, on Circuit Avenue.

Last year while at Mad Martha’s my family and I tried to enjoy eating our ice cream, but it was difficult because President Obama’s daughters were there with 50 secret service men in tow, seemingly watching our every move. It was weird being watched while licking my double chocolate ice cream cone.

I love going for breakfast when on the island, and there are a few places to choose from, but it depends on what you fancy in the morning. If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee, Mocha Motts is the place. It is underneath a shop so you go down a flight of stairs into a small coffee shop. They serve pastries and breakfast sandwiches, perfect for taking you breakfast, going to a bench that sits facing the water and watching the ocean. Linda Jean’s is a sit down restaurant that serves everything you could want for breakfast. The prices are fair and the service is fast and friendly, but if you head there any later than 9 am there will be a wait. Another place for a quick breakfast is MV Bagels; obviously they serve all different types of bagels along with pastries and coffee.

Oak Bluffs is the place to be if you are going with children. The other towns are great to visit but there isn’t much for children to do. The Flying Horses Carousal, which is the oldest carousal in the country, was brought to the Vineyard from Coney Island in 1884. It is still in operation, the cost is $2.00 per ride, and part of the thrill is getting the brass ring. If you do get the brass ring you can either stay on for another ride or take a ticket for a free ride later on. People young and old love it, and  inside with the carousal are arcade games and you can get popcorn and souvenirs.

Ryan’s Family Amusement is a two floor arcade.  There is an aquarium there displaying small fish and you can watch a shark feeding at cetain times. On rainy days there are two movie theaters, and there is always plenty of shopping in all the towns. There are buses that will take you to each town for $2.00 and they run every 15 minutes. Ocean Park is another spot to check out; it’s a large park across from the ocean where many people fly kites, play frisbee or lay out a blanket for a picnic.

Martha’s Vineyard is a great place to bring your family and spend the day or night. The best part is that it is close to home, but far enough that you think your somewhere else.

Exposing New Bedford’s Parking Meters!

Michael Silvia
by Michael Silvia

Several times a week, usually on a Saturday or on weekdays around 5 P.M., I stop visitors in downtown New Bedford from putting their quarters into the city’s parking meters.  For reasons unknown, the labels on the meters provide outdated information.  I’ve lived downtown for several years now, and during that time I’ve accumulated some information that can save a lot of money, which I will now share with you.  In this economy, every quarter counts!

Here is a look at a standard parking meter in downtown New Bedford:

New Bedford, MA parking meter
Typical New Bedford, MA parking meter.

It clearly states that the hours of operations are Monday through Saturday, 9 A.M. through 6 P.M.   This is incorrect!  The correct operating time is Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Furthermore, you can park for FREE on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.  The meter maids don’t work after 5 P.M. on the weekdays, and are off-duty on the weekends and on holidays.  I can only guess this is due to budget cuts.

Other Tips for Parking in Downtown New Bedford

  • If you frequently park downtown, get a pass at the Elm Street Parking Garage, located right next to the Standard Times building.  You can get unlimited parking for $30 a month.  The Garage is FREE on weekends, holidays and when there are major events downtown.
  • For long-term parking, use the Custom House Square (70 parking spaces) or Zeiterion (298 parking spaces) at 688 Purchase Street.  The Custom House Square parking area is FREE on the weekends, holidays and when there are major events downtown.
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