Fairhaven is across the harbor from the famed seaport, New Bedford, and is within sight of Cape Cod and the Elizabeth Islands off shore. Historically, the town has been linked with the sea.
Early shipbuilding began here in the 1700’s. The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought off the Fairhaven shore. Revolutionary era Fort Phoenix still guards our harbor entrance. Our present waterfront was developed during the height of the whaling days. Today it serves both commercial fishing and recreational boaters. From 1893 to 1895, Captain Joshua Slocum rebuilt an old oyster sloop, Spray, in town before setting out to become the first man to sail alone around the world.
Besides its nautical heritage, Fairhaven also boasts some of the most beautiful public buildings in New England, gifts from Standard Oil millionaire Henry Huttleston Rogers, who grew up in town. Our Italian Renaissance Millicent Library, French Gothic town hall, English Gothic Unitarian Memorial Church and the Elizabethan style high school are architectural gems.
Fairhaven has many connections to the world. It’s the town where Joseph Bates, founder of the Seventh Day Adventists, grew up, and is the town where fourteen-year-old Manjiro Nakahama stayed as the first Japanese ever to live in America after he was rescued at sea in 1841 by Captain William H. Whitfield. World-renowned marine painter and photographer William Bradford lived and worked here. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandparents lived in town, and young F.D.R. visited often in his youth. The homes of these notable figures may still be seen today.
One may also see where author and humorist Mark Twain stayed on his frequent visits to his friend Henry Huttleston Rogers.
Fairhaven’s restaurants, featuring fresh seafood and ethnic cuisine from fiskekaker (Norwegian fish cakes) to caçoila (savory Portuguese marinated pork) are too numerous to list. There are two large motels in town, a couple of lovely bed and breakfasts and a few other accommodations. For those arriving by sea, a number of marinas are located along our shore.
Fairs and festivals, outdoor concerts, walking tours, swimming, boating, fishing, and bicycling are only some of the activities you can enjoy when you visit us. Your stay is sure to be a pleasant one!
Safety Rules of the Phoenix Rail Trail:
- Bicyclists shall wear protective headgear.
- Roller skaters shall wear helmets, kneepads and wrist guards.
- Ride in a straight line, single file.
- Always keep to the right, except when passing.
- Pass only on the left when safe to do so. Before passing you must call out a warning signal.
- Speed should be reasonable and safe for weather and traffic conditions.
- At intersections, come to a complete stop and obey all traffic signs. Bicyclists shall walk their bicycles across all intersections.
- When stopped, move off to the side of the path; do not block the path of others.
- Horses shall be kept under control at all times.
- Motorized vehicles shall be kept off the path with the exception of motorized wheelchairs and motorized toys.
- Do not litter.
- Do not enter onto private property
Proceed to the description of the Phoenix Bike Trail
or go back to the Millicent Library