Why it's Worth Visiting Fairhaven, Massachusetts in the Fall, or
Any Time of the Year
Article and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz
Striking fall colors juxtaposed against the stunning
Unitarian Memorial Church makes for a memorable autumn scene.
The first time I visited Fairhaven, Mass., my jaw
dropped open. The second time I was ready for jaw surgery.
That first road trip had me driving through some tough New Bedford
neighborhoods and traffic and then virtually turning a corner and
ending up in this New England piece of nirvana called Fairhaven. I
couldn't believe what I saw: the tree-lined streets with beautiful old
homes leading to the ocean and the spectacular old municipal buildings
and churches revealed one of the great travel hidden gems in New
England. This wasn't just a few houses and buildings, more like a
greatest hits collection of historic New England going on for at least
five blocks. Beautiful European-style public buildings built between
1885 and 1906 by Standard Oil Company executive and Fairhaven native
Henry Huttleston Rogers, wonderfully saturate the downtown.
of peace, quiet and solitude in the streets is astounding, given its
proximity to New Bedford.
Leaves are starting to fall on the grounds of the beautiful
Fairhaven Town Hall.
Fall foliage happens by the coast, too
The second time had fall adding brilliant fall foliage color and the
chance to rustle through leaves on placid streets while taking in the
crisp fall air through the proud old main and side streets of this
wonderful, historic district.
A walk down a placid side street in Fairhaven.
Rustling through the leaves on a brick sidewalk.
Coastal scenery in downtown Fairhaven
You even get the best of both worlds as downtown Fairhaven has a
coastal presence right across the water from New Bedford.
Fairhaven is a hidden travel gem
Why don't more people know about Fairhaven? The major travel guides
missed out on this one! For that matter, why don't more people know
about New Bedford? Sure, New Bedford has its rough spots -- just like
any other urban area -- but the 11-block New
Bedford Whaling District
is about the nicest area I've seen in any city with its cobblestone
streets, gas lamps, 19th century Federal and Greek style buildings,
historical sites, restaurants and shops, an emerging waterfront and
cultural attractions like the New
Bedford Whaling Museum. Fairhaven, on
the other hand, is quite sleepy but this idyllic New England town will
surely awaken your senses. Don't worry, though, it's not too sleepy. I
counted a few full service restaurants, a pizza place and several mom
and pop shops that complement the visit, but never overwhelm or
dominate the innate beauty of this attractive downtown.
Should you visit downtown Fairhaven?
This writer's perspective
Yes, downtown Fairhaven is worth a visit during the fall, or any
the year. In the central district and the rest of this seaside
enough going on to make this southern Massachusetts town a hidden gem and a
good spot to experience authentic New England, including a public state
Buzzards Bay, several recreational marinas, historical Fort Phoenix (an
American Revolutionary War-era fort today used as a public park) ,
free walking tours, several mom and pop shops and more than 50
restaurants. There are even places to stay in Fairhaven, including a charming
bed and breakfast called the Delano Homestead Bed and Breakfast.
Fairhaven, however, does not have the overall vacation appeal as small
town or city destinations in southern New England like Newport,
Chatham (Cape Cod).
Those communities simply have more things to do
and possess overall greater scenic appeal. Fairhaven was not meant to
all inclusive New England vacation destination and does not pretend to
be. Some travelers might find that unassuming, non-vacation town
presence highly appealing. I like the fall in downtown Fairhaven best
as the leaves turn color in late October and the weather is still
I would definitely recommend placing downtown Fairhaven on
your New England travel trip planning list as the town is pleasant,
coastal, walkable and near New Bedford and ocean beaches.
For more on
downtown Fairhaven, you can log onto the Fairhaven Office of
England travel article with your friends...
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