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15 Best Fun Things to Do in Acushnet (MA)

15 Best Things to Do in Acushnet (MA)

At the head of the river of the same name, Acushnet is a pretty country town north of New Bedford. It is an attractive country setting, gardens, old stone walls, cranberry bogs and pine forests. In that sense, the biggest annual event is the Apple-Peach Festival in September, which takes place on the grounds of a 19th-century school. The industry began on the banks of the river in the 18th century, and one of the oldest is Acushnet, which operates the famous Titleist golf brand.

Acushnet also has a maritime heritage thanks to its proximity to Buzzards Bay and New Bedford. The town was home to many whaling captains in the 19th century, with Moby Dick author Herman Melville (1819-1891) aboard the whaling ship Akushnet before writing his famous novel.

1. Sawmill

In 2010, the Buzzards Bay Consortium stepped up to restore this 20-acre site on the Acushnet River, formerly occupied by the Acushnet Saw Mills Company.

The result is a stunning public park, with trails that allow you to explore the fabric of the habitat and enjoy stunning views of the river and Mill Pond.

There is a patch of meadow, forest and red maple swamp that you can cross through a trail. You will have many opportunities to see wildlife, including aquatic animals that frequent the pond and its beaches.

2. White Factory

Since the 18th century, the Acushnet River has been a source of energy for the city's industry. Not far north of the sawmill, you can discover what remains of the cotton spinning mill, with only parts of the exterior walls.

The river was first dammed here in 1746 to power a mill, while the stone construction dates back to 1799.

The mill was badly damaged in a fire in 1830, and was quickly rebuilt before another fire swept it in 1854.

To go along with these mysterious relics, White's Factory is a beautiful place to explore along the banks of the Accionet River.

On the opposite bank is Hamelin Crossing, with a path leading through woodland and a meadow full of wildflowers in spring and summer.

3. Long Plain School (Long Plain Museum)

One of Acushnet's most distinctive historic buildings is the Long Plain School at 1203 Main Street, built in 1875 in the Italianate style.

Interesting details include a large curtilage gable with skylight, as well as a Gothic-style bridge.

Originally four bays wide, the building was expanded to six bays in the 1920s, and was used as a school until the 1950s.

Today Long Plain School belongs to the Actionnet Historical Society, which operates a museum here.

You can visit on Sundays, from May to September, to immerse yourself in Acushnet's whaling history, see what the school looked like in the 1870s, and get a feel for the town's 19th-century home life.

The Long Plain School grounds also host the Apple-Peach Festival in September.

4. Stone Bridge Farm

Acushnet is located in Massachusetts' cranberry country and includes dozens of bogs, some active and others no longer cultivated.

They enhance the landscape with pink flowers in spring and bright red berries in fall that complement the foliage.

Using sustainable practices, Stone Bridge Farm is a thriving commercial farm on three acres of marshland, open to the public during the fall harvest season.

You can now book a guided tour to learn everything you want to know about cranberries and what goes into planting, growing and harvesting them. During one visit, you'll put on a pair of boots and get stuck in the swamp like a real farmer.

5. Acushnet River Valley Golf Course

With a four-star rating from Golf Digest, Acushnet River Valley Golf Course is one of the best publicly accessible courses in the area. Besides the high level of maintenance, planning is a big part of the course's success.

The front nine cuts through dense, mature pine forest, while the back nine opens abruptly, and the six holes (12-17) feature a Scottish links-style layout, with rolling greens and rolling fairways.

Perhaps the most challenging factor in the Acushnet River Valley is the hazards surrounding the greens, with sharp elevation changes and bunkers that punish neat shots heading into the fairways.

6. Silverbrook Ranch

In rural Acushnet, this family farm is open to the public for seasonal events in the summer and fall.

During more than 20 years of operation, Silverbrook Farm has earned a reputation for its delicious homemade pies, which are sold in-store in a beautiful old barn.

In addition to growing a variety of fresh produce, the farm also has a herd of Chianina cows for high-quality grass-fed beef.

Things get even better in the fall, when you can pick your own pumpkins, visit a corn maze, and take a pasture drive, while the kids can meet the friendly barnyard animals.

7. Acushnet Creamery

Opened in 2003, Acushnet Creamery is a favorite in town, handcrafting all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet on the premises.

The ice cream menu has grown steadily over the years and now includes more than 50 flavors. Some big hitters are lemon custard, maple walnut, coffee, cranberry harvest, vanilla, and apple peach suitable for Acushnet.

Whatever flavor you choose, you'll have to get it in a fresh waffle cone, and you'll smell it long before you get to the window.

Off the trail, you can enjoy frozen foods at one of the picnic tables, complete with a small grassy area and stone wall.

8. Country Whip

Surrounded by its own gardens along Route 105 is a great seasonal ice cream shop/restaurant, open from March to October.

Housed in a charming townhouse with a rustic porch, it has been on the Acushnet map for over 60 years.

As the name suggests, the specialty here is homemade soft serve ice cream, which comes in several flavors (or twists), with blackberry being one of the stars. Richardson's offers a wide variety of ice cream as well as a large menu of delicious items.

You've got local New England-style seafood, including their famous lobster rolls, clam cakes, and chowder, plus hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and more.

9. 9/11 Memorial

Acushnet pays a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks and to all involved in the rescue, recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Located in front of the Fire Department on Main Street, Acushnet's 9/11 Memorial was started after the New York Port Authority acquired a 2,700-pound steel beam from scratch.

The artefact was brought to the city in 2011 and mounted at an angle on a granite plinth, to be unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the fury. The memorial is located in a small square bordered by flower beds and surrounded by a glass panel.

10. Keith's Farm

Located just off Main Street and back on New Bedford Reservoir, this farm offers something different with every season.

Summer and fall are when Keith's farm is at its peak, open for picking PYO strawberries in June, raspberries in July, raspberries in August, then apples and pumpkins in the fall.

The farm stand is loaded with everything from tomatoes to corn, plus other fresh produce, plus items like cider cakes and homemade preserves. Things pick up again during the holiday season when the tree farm here is open for three weekends after Thanksgiving.

11. Flying Cloud Orchards

This 40-acre farm is situated in a rural setting that borders the Acushnet River to the west. Flying Cloud Orchards operates a farm stand at 540 Main Street, which is a must-stop during the growing and harvest season, until late Thanksgiving.

Fresh produce is stocked throughout the summer and fall, but it's the homemade specialties that draw people.

You have fresh bread, peach pie, honey apple pie, caramel apples, biscuits, apple juice, and a variety of homemade jams. At the time of writing, Flying Cloud Orchards is run by a couple who purchased the land in 1977.

12. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

You can follow in Melville's footsteps and visit the ancient heart of what was once the premier whaling port in the world.

Managed by the National Park Service, this narrow network of cobblestone streets contains shipowners' mansions and a host of sites associated with Melville and Moby-Dick.

One is the Seafarers' Bethel (1832), which preserves the pew Melville sat in when he visited in 1840.

The star attraction is the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the definitive institution of whaling history. Among its extensive collections, the museum includes five intact whale skeletons, 2,500 records from whaling voyages and 3,500 pieces of scrimshaw.

13. Tripps Mill

Beyond the southeast corner of Acushnet is a growing system of more than 200 acres of conservation properties along the Mattapoisett River.

A good place to start is Tripps Mill, where you'll find sawmill ruins along Tripps Brook, where it empties into Tinkham Pond.

From here you can hike more than four miles through forests, cranberry bogs and wetlands along the Mattapoisett River.

Tinkham Pond is also a good place to do some fishing, with chinook, yellow perch and sunfish all caught regularly.

14. Nestles Lane Conservation Area

Acushnet is an attractive natural enclave located just east of Route 18. This piece of city-owned conservation land is intersected by small streams that flow east, eventually feeding New Bedford Reservoir.

The estate, surrounded by a lattice of tall pine trees and ancient stone walls, is accessible from the north and south along Nestles Lane.

The trails are a short but pleasant hike through pine forests on relatively flat terrain that becomes hilly the further east you go.

15. Acushnet Apple-Peach Festival

The popular event, held the first weekend after Labor Day, is now in its fifth decade.

Held on the beautiful grounds of Long Plain School, the Acushnet Apple-Peach Festival celebrates the harvest season with live entertainment, crafts, great food and a feast of family fun.

There's a great lineup of live music from dawn to dusk, and you can easily spend a few hours browsing vendors selling everything from candles to handmade soaps, jewelry, pottery, paintings, and more.

Whatever you do, you have to try the cobbler (peach, apple, and apple peach), which the Acushnet Historical Society makes in the school kitchen.

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