Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cape Cod: Day 2, Part 2

After leaving the Millicent Library, Clayton directed us to Fort Phoenix which is  now a state park.  Fairhaven (and Fort Phoenix) are on the east side of the Acushnet River estuary which in turn empties into Buzzards Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.  The famous whaling town of New Bedford occupies the opposite side of the harbor.  The fort dates to the beginning of the American Revolution and the first naval battle of that war occurred within sight of the fort when 25 Minutemen aboard the sloop SUCCESS captured two British ships on the 14th of May 1775.  However the British returned in September of 1778 with 4000 troops and burned the town of New Bedford, the fort and several homes in the town of Fairhaven.  The remainder of Fairhaven was spared the torch by the arrival of the Wareham Militia under the command of Major Israel Fearing.  The fort was enlarged prior to the War of 1812 and  helped repel boats loaded with troops launched from the HMS NIMROD in the early hours of the 13th of June 1814.  The fort was decommissioned in 1876.  OK, pencils down; your history lesson is over.  Let's take a look around.

A captured British cannon from the Revolutionary period.
The Royal Navy's "broad arrow" mark is clearly visible on the barrel.
There are several of these 24 pound guns which date from 1828.  These were put in place in 1861as part of an upgrade of defenses during the Civil War. These are fired every year to mark Fairhaven's Independence Day celebrations.
One can walk across the harbor from Fairhaven to New Bedford via this promenade/bridge. The sky has that fall look.

We didn't walk the walk, but we did drive over to New Bedford after Clayton suggested a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum was in order.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

After reading this sign I was all set to go in.
Argh! The White Whale!
OK! I'm ready to go in!  What's this? They've just gone to winter hours and are closed on Mondays?!!!  What sort of Halloween trick is that?  Long time readers of this blog know of my mixed success with Museums.  Curse you, red giant squid!  I will return...
Across the street from the Whaling Museum is the Seaman's Bethel.  Of course it was closed on Mondays too.

Herman Melville fans can break out their copies of Moby Dick and read about this sailor's chapel.  This is the very one that Melville describes in his novel.

The museums might have been closed but the shlock shops were open.  I liked this USA map cunningly contrived from state license tags.
Across the street a shop offered this well done replica of a Beetle Whaleboat.  Note the similarity between this whaleboat and the peapod under construction at the Beetle Boat shop.  The Beetle family has been in this neck of the woods a good long time.

Not wanting to leave New England without a visit to a clam shack, we stopped off at Barnacle Bill's.  The chowder and lobster rolls were delicious!
The day was waning and it was Halloween.  We dropped Clayton at his house and thanked him for a great day out!

We returned to the warm embrace of the Earl of Sandwich Motel and, after drawing the drapes against the night's chill, steeled ourselves for the morning's long ride home with a bit of wine and cheese.  Adieu, dear reader!

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