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Posts Tagged ‘massachusetts’

The Blynman Bridge in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is one of the busiest movable bridges in the world, averaging 10,000 openings per year. Here it is opening for a lone sailboat last week:

There’s not a lot of horizontal clearance between the leaves, but this boat breezed right through:

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We spent July 4th in Portland, Maine, listening to the Portland Symphony and watching fireworks from the Eastern Promenade.

But on July 3rd, we were in Gloucester, Massachusetts, for the annual Fishtown Horribles Parade. According to the repository of all true facts, parades of horribles were common Independence Day celebrations in the 19th century and continue to be so in some towns in New England. Well, that’s definitely true in Gloucester. There were not too many “horribles” (my father did capture this one), but people put together some interesting floats (often sponsored by a local business), some businesses had their own floats, and some people seemed to put something together and march simply for the joy of being in the parade. Everybody watching seemed to know everybody marching and vice-versa. Karen remarked that it had the homey (not “homie” — more on that below) feel of a small town, even though Gloucester’s not that small.

The waterfront was bedecked with flags. If you look closely you can see the Man at the Wheel in the center:

Plenty of small boats, some being towed and some self-propelled:

This girl really got into the spirit:

The Gorton’s fisherman put in an appearance:

And there was a small mermaid. Maybe next year she’ll come to Coney Island!

And finally, Homie the seagull, GoodMorningGloucester‘s mascot:

Followed by Joey, the man behind Homie (literally) and the driving force behind GoodMorningGloucester:

GMG has many more pictures from the parade.

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The most interesting thing about the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is the large number of old buildings that have been moved into the park from their original locations. These are not small wood shacks, but rather entire buildings of stone or brick. On one street, most of the buildings came from somewhere else. Much of this relocation is due to the efforts of WHALE (Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE), which has an impressive record of historic preservation.

One building which has not been moved is the New Bedford Custom House:

nb_customs

It was completed in 1836 and is the oldest continuously operating custom house in the United States. The New York Times had an interesting article about the custom house:

nyt_article

New Bedford is also home to the Seamen’s Bethel:

bethel

Herman Melville wrote about the bethel in chapter VII of Moby Dick:

In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman’s Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot.

He also described the cenotaphs (from the Greek for empty tomb) that adorn the bethel’s walls. Here’s one:

cenotaph

Melville wrote of the chapel’s pulpit:

Its panelled front was in the likeness of a ship’s bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship’s fiddle-headed beak.

Here’s how Rockwell Kent illustrated it:

kents_pulpit

And here’s Orson Welles preaching from the pulpit in the 1956 movie:

movie_pulpit

The only problem was that the real Seamen’s Bethel did not have a pulpit like that—at least not until throngs of tourists arrived there asking to see the pulpit. Now it has one:

actual_pulpit

New Bedford’s working waterfront is alive with all sorts of fishing boats. Fortunately for us we were there on a Sunday—there was not much work happening, but there were tons of boats at the docks:

3_boats

2_boats

There was also a most-interesting fountain of a Greek god standing atop all sorts of sea creatures:

fountain

New Bedford is also home to the schooner Ernestina, ex-Effie M. Morrisey. For some reason there are no booms or gaffs on the masts of this 115-year-old boat (perhaps due to current restoration work?), so this is the most nautical shot I could get:

ernestina

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