Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Cape Cod and area-New Bedford and Canal Bike Ride

Our goal when we left in the morning was Newport, R.I. But we got sidetracked along the way and never made it. Instead, we spent the day visiting New Bedford and the surrounding area. It was only by chance we stopped in New Bedford anyway. We headed downtown just to see what the local Elks Lodge was like and noticed a National Park sign.

Once a bank, now this building is the home of the visitor center. New Bedford was considered the whaling capital for many years. There were hundreds of whaling ships who called New Bedford home. And whaling brought industry, such as candle making and oil for lighting from the whale oil and corsets from whale baleen.

An interesting fact: The light emmitted from a candle burning spermaceti oil (from the head of the Sperm Whale), was so pure, it was used to calibrate the Standard International Candle, a unit of light intensity applied when incandescent light bulbs were introduced.
The oldest continuously operated Customs House, since 1836. It was designed by the same man who designed the Washington Monument.

Seaman's Bethel, made famous by Herman Melville, author of 'Moby Dick'.

Originally the pulpit did not look like the prow of a ship, but after the movie 'Moby Dick' came out and the movie had a pulpit like this, the pulpit was rebuilt in the 1960s to look like the movie.

This street, looking down at the harbor in New Bedford, looks much the same as in pictures from almost 200 years ago.

This romanesque looking building, built in 1831, once had people seeing double. It housed two banks, the Merchants Bank for the elite, and the Mechanics Bank for the local shop keepers and tradesman.

I don't think this looks much like the original Mayflower at all.

Captain Robert E. Lee drew up plans for this fort in the 1840s to protect Clark's Point. It replaced an earlier earthworks fort known as Fort Tabor. It continued to have artillery in some form to protect the harbor through WWII.

We stopped at a fish market.

And got to see them processing the catch.

On the other side of the bay was Fort Phoenix. All that is left now is some rock walls. For display they have placed a number of canon. They even have one canon dated in the 1700s which was used in the Revolutionary War.

This hurricane break was built in the 1960s and now New Bedford Harbor has a reputation as a hurricane safe harbor. The break is 9100 feet long, 20 feet above sea level and has two 440-ton gates. It is the largest man made stone structure on the east coast.

This gothic style church is common throughout the New England area.

The railroad bridge across the Cape Cod Canal. There is a 7 mile bike path on both sides of the canal. We had a beautiful bike trip, although the winds came up and we had to bike back against a head wind the entire 7 miles. Tiring......

The canal was built originally in the early 1900s by a private firm across the neck of land which connected Cape Cod to the mainland Massachusetts. It saved ships 62 miles on the rough Atlantic seas on their way to Boston. But the canal was small and the owners charged for its use and it never did go over well. In the 1930s the Corps of Engineers bought the canal, widened it and made it free. It is now part of the Atlantic Coast Seaway.

Suprisingly, Miles Standish, of the original Mayflower and Plymouth Colony, had the idea for a canal back in 1623, but it wasn't until 1909 when the first canal was engineering.

A large tanker of some sort being pulled by a smaller tug. Notice the tanker ship has no engines and must be towed.

Another Herring Run along the canal.

Old and new windmills.

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