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The former textile epicenter of Fall River is best known not for the clothing it once produced, or for the diversity of immigrants that industry has attracted over the years. In fact, its biggest draw is its most notorious (ex)citizen—one Lizzie Borden, who murdered both her parents in 1892. Balancing out that unfortunate karma is the modern-day hometown boy, celebrity TV chef Emeril (Bam!) Lagasse.
Step into the fleet of naval ships known as Battleship Cove (5 Water St., 508/678-1100, www.battleshipcove.org, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily summer; 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily spring, $15 adults, $13 seniors, $9 children 6–12, free children under 6) and you’ll have free reign of all of the vessels, including the 46,000-ton USS Massachusetts.
Lizzie Borden House
What used to be the Lizzie Borden House (92 Second St., 508/675-7333, www.lizzie-borden.com, tours 11 a.m.–3 p.m., $12.50 adults, $10 seniors and students, $5 children 6–15, free children under 6) where the infamous murders took place is now a bed-and-breakfast and tourist site, restored to look almost exactly as it did—from the couches to the pear trees outside—on that fateful day.
Every summer, everyone anywhere near Fall River flocks into town for Fall River Celebrates America (Battleship Cove at Fall River Heritage State Park, 508/676-8226, www.fallrivercelebrates.com, Aug.). The four-day waterfront fiesta includes music performances, food fiestas, parades, rides, and fireworks.
With a past so tied to textile manufacturing, it’s little surprise to find lots of locally made clothing in Fall River. Opened in 1911, Northeast Knitting Mills (657 Quarry St., 508/678-7553, www.neknitting.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.; closed Sun.) sells sweaters made by the fourth generation of the family that founded it.
Pick up a souvenir or two at Desro Gift Shops (638 Quequechan St., 508/646-9096, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), chock-full of handmade candles, dried wreaths, and home accessories.
Provincetown has its lobsters, Boston has its cream pies, and Fall River has its hot dogs. In fact, Fall River has a lot of hot dogs. One of the best is at Tabacaria Acoriana Restaurant (408 S Main St., 508/673-5890, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; closed Sat. and Sun.), though the kitchen’s marinated grilled chicken is also a favorite.
Just as casual, but with a few more ties to the city, is the pork pie. Hartley’s Original Pork Pies (1729 South Main St., 508/676-8605, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. daily) serves them up piping hot and made with the traditional recipe, the way they have been in Fall River for decades.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition