Dedicated to the history of humanity’s interaction with the great mammals of the sea, the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, 508/997-0046, www.whalingmuseum.org ) also houses 150,000 whaling artifacts and whale-related art, including the world’s largest ship model.
Built between 1831 and 1832 as a memorial to whalers who had lost their lives at sea, the Seamen’s Bethel (15 Johnny Cake Hill, 508/992-3295)—the same one in Melville’s Moby Dick—is today used to honor fisherman whose fate has been the same. Search the main wall for three cenotaphs; you’ll find a list of all of their names.
On a cheerier note, it’s well worth the short drive to Westport Rivers Winery (417 Hixbridge Rd., Westport, 508/636-3423, www.westportrivers.com ). The working vineyards, which produce excellent reds, whites, and a lovely bubbly, are reminiscent of Provence.