Fairhaven and Acushnet have always been closely connected. In fact, before 1860 we were parts of the same town. Our histories and geological lines are intertwined. The Neighb News and The Advocate cover both towns. The Fairhaven-Acushnet Land Preservation Trust and the Fairhaven Acushnet Youth Baseball league are examples groups serving the two communities. Many Acushnet students attend Fairhaven High School. All these things led me to begin with the town of Acushnet as I add new pages on nearby attractions to the FairhavenTours.com website.
When tourists visit a place, invisible town lines don’t mean much. To many visitors, the area from Westport to Marion is all the same place. Those who stay in Fairhaven will often shop or eat or do other activities in surrounding communities. And if a person from out of town is planning a vacation and comes across our Office of Tourism website, seeing what other attractions are close by might help convince them to come here.
Therefore, last month I created an “Acushnet Places” section on the website. I’ve lived almost literally just a stone’s throw from Acushnet for most of my life, but I’m by no means an Acushnet expert, so I got in touch with Lisa Leonard at the Acushnet Town Hall and Pauline Teixeira from the Acushnet Historical Commission for some input. I also got ideas from a friend who lives and raised children there. The result is information about a number of public places that people might like to visit, including photographs and internet links for additional details. Some sites are the nature trails at the old Acushnet Sawmill property on the river, the Long Plain Museum, the Acushnet River Valley Golf Course, and the Marc Antone playground at Pope Park. The old White’s Mill ruins on Hamlin Street has a page. There’s list of Acushnet churches. There are still places that need to be added. I imagine that as more folks see this, I’ll get other suggestions, too.
You can take a look at http://fairhaventours.com/acushnet-places/.
I must note, as with the Fairhaven attractions on the website, there are no commercial businesses listed. Certainly some Acushnet businesses are “attractions” —orchards and farms, restaurants, popular ice cream places, etc., but businesses need to do their own advertising. The website is for public and/or non-profit attactions only. But that brings me to the next topic.
Local businesses and attractions, from nearby communities as well as from Fairhaven, can display brochures, rack cards, take-out menus or other promotional handouts at the Fairhaven Visitors Center free of charge. Similar to people surfing the internet, those who come into the Visitors Center are interested in everything located within a short driving distance. So here you’ll find brochures from Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich and Colonial Lantern Tours in Plymouth. More of the places are closer to home, though. If you run a business or operate an attraction that out-of-towners might enjoy, please supply me with some brochures. You can deliver them to 141 Main Street (next door to Fairhaven High School) or drop some in the mail. I don’t have a big storage area, so 25 or 50 is a good number to start with. If I run out quickly, I’ll ask for more. Fairhaven businesses get priority for display, but as long as there’s rack space, any place is welcome to promote itself here.
For a complete change of subject, in early March I met with journalist and author Brian Murphy who will be writing a book with a historical Fairhaven connection. Brian has been a foreign bureau chief for the Associated Press and currently reports for the Washington Post. And he’s the author of three non-fiction books. One of his books is about a WWII aviator who survived an 81-day trek out of the frozen Alaska wilderness after a place crash. The story he’s writing now is about a Fairhaven sailor who was the sole survivor of a shipwreck in the North Atlantic during the 1850s. Deb Charpentier at the Millicent Library and I have been Brian’s Fairhaven contacts for historical research. When he visited town I drove him to locations connected with his story and described what Fairhaven was like during that particular time in history. Ironically, during my search for the sailor’s home I discovered it was the house, now numbered 147 Main Street, which stands right next door to the north of the Visitors Center. When the book’s publication time gets closer, I’ll update you with the details.
A new book about Capt. Joshua Slocum is due to be published in May by Tillbury House Books and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. “A Man for All Oceans” by Stan Grayson book is said to fill in significant gaps in the story of the first man to sail around the world alone. Before his history-making voyage, Slocum rebuilt the sloop Spray in Fairhaven after the old boat was given to him by his friend Eben Pierce. I have heard the Whaling Museum and the Fairhaven Historical Society will be hosting a book signing here at the Academy Building where a large model of the Spray is on display. If I get firm details about those plans ahead of time, I’ll include them in next month’s column.
For even more reading, Fairhaven resident Beth Luey has written a book of stories connected with some historical houses here in town. Her book will be available in the fall.
Last but not least, I’m finishing the updates to the Fairhaven Visitors Guide for 2017, which will have a great aerial photo by Tyra Pacheco on its cover. The inside has just about everything a tourist need to know about town. That will be printed later this month.
As always, your comments, questions, or suggestions are welcome. You can email the Office of Tourism at FairhavenTours@fairhaven-ma.gov, call 508-979-4085, or stop by the Visitors Center. There are a few dedicated parking spaces in the high school lot. Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a half-hour break around noon.