Going Ashore

Fairhaven has at least two distinct faces, each of which contributes to its appeal as a cruising destination.

The industrial waterfront has a number of active shipyards with ferries, workboats, fishermen and big yachts undergoing repair. And though most of the fishing fleet moors across the harbor in New Bedford, there are likely to be commercial boats tied up two or three deep at Fairhaven's town wharf.

Move just a street or two in from the waterfront, however, and Fairhaven is a town of quiet residential neighborhoods whose architecture spans the entire period of settlement from the 17th century down to the present. Interspersed are some magnificent public buildings, many of which were donated to the town by the philanthropic native and later summer resident Henry Huttleston Rogers. These include the Town Hall, Library, High School, Water Company, and a park.

Two locally well-regarded restaurants owned by the same family are not ten minutes north of the Shipyard. They share a similar menu. Margaret's is the original; it's smaller, quieter and closes earlier. It's BYOB. Elisabeth's is newer, a bit bigger, serves later, and features a full bar, decent beer selection and simple wine list.

historic sign boyhood home
Geoff Rand
Fairhaven native Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840 - 1909) was an early entrepreneur in the Pennsylvania oil fields and later a top executive at Standard Oil. Various lists that adjust for changes in the size of the US economy over time rank him as one of the 25 wealthiest Americans ever.
girl looking at stone monument
Geoff Rand
Monuments on the Fairhaven waterfront mark the gravesite, according to legend, of John Cooke, the last surviving male Pilgrim from the Mayflower, as well as the start and end point of Joshua Slocum's solo circumnavigation.

Off the Beaten Path

The little waterfront park, pictured above, that commemorates John Cooke and Joshua Slocum is simple and contemplative. Head north from the Shipyard, cross Route 6 and you'll end up walking parallel to the harbor on Main St. About 1/4 mile further, take a left on Pilgrim St.

One Hour Ashore

Take a right out of the Shipyard gate and walk about a half mile south to Fort Phoenix. It has old guns, stone walls, interesting historic plaques and wide views across Buzzards Bay. From the fort, you can also walk out along the hurricane barrier.

Or take a left from the Shipyard and walk about the same distance north for ice cream at Brady's.

Maritime History

A sign at Fort Phoenix describes the "first naval battle" of the American Revolution, in which members of the Fairhaven militia sailed from the harbor in May of 1775 to capture two British boats.

Rainy Day

There's a small Historical Society with summer hours Saturdays 10-2. If you're seriously weather-bound, it's worth the effort to get across the harbor to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Facilities

  • Laundry
  • Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Trash

The "Yachtsman's Haven" at the top of the Shipyard gangway is open from 6am until 11pm each day. In addition to heads, showers and laundry there's a little sitting area with TV, a modest assortment of books and a snack machine. On weekend mornings they have coffee and donuts.

Outside there are a couple of grills and a covered picnic area.