[img_assist|nid=1110|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=502|height=318]Like many other bitten by the wanderlust somewhat late in life I try to get away and explore whenever I can. I’ve been blessed with an insatiable desire to see it all and cram my leisure time with travel.
Since flying stopped being fun I have begun to avail myself of the trains. I sincerely hope that this mode of travel incurs a vital renaissance for I have found the train lends its self to the traveler who wants to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
However, it was on a recent road trip that I enjoyed a travel experience best suited to the non-tourist, slightly off centered explorer. I was traveling north on Route 195 on my way to Cape Cod. I’d done this route on previous occasions and on each trip I’d promised myself I would take the time and visit Fall River. It is just a slight turn on the exit ramp. My children who live on the Cape just laughed when I said I wanted to explore the city. They jokingly referred it as an armpit town, whatever that meant.
I was not deterred and promised myself that one day I would see what Fall River did or did not have to offer.
I love history and knew that at one time Fall River had been a typical New England Mill Town. Textiles had been a thriving industry fueled by the Taunton River and America’s need for cheap cloth. Fall River had been a mill town replete with sweatshops where women, children and young girls toiled away while they breathed in fibers and dreamed of bettering themselves. The demise of the textile industry was a precursor to Fall River’s future. Once the textile mills closed the vacant building housed various manufacturing endeavors that would never restore Fall River to its glory days.
Today Fall River is a dreary town, sitting somewhat idly by the river. I believe it would characterize itself as depressed. Yet, if one is willing to look beyond the stark buildings that are a reminder of its past one will discover in the town a place rich in cultural diversity where a visitor who asks the right questions can be thoroughly educated and entertained.
One question not to lead off with is "Tell me about Lizzie Borden." If you exercise some restraint, you will learn about one of the town’s more colorful residents. Rather ask about the town’s naval connection, as Fall River is known for Battleship Cove, the world’s larges collection of World War II naval vessels. Inquire about the towns rich Indian heritage, ethnic restaurants, sailing and soccer legacy and you will get more than a cook’s tour. You will begin to see and feel the soul of Fall River. Walk, explore and really see the old buildings. While the granite buildings here can not rival their granite counterparts in Newport, they are imposing none the less. If you listen you might hear the clicking of silent looms and shuttles.
I never did find out what an constitutes and "arm pit town". But, I gave Fall River a chance, on a dreary, cold, gray November day. In return Fall River gave me a peek into a distant era that reverberated with a stoic Yankee sense of self that made the town motto " We’ll Try", a poignant reminder that we must as travelers try as well to continue to explore the path that is overlooked, for it is the wandering there that one finds the unexpected.
92 Second St. is the historical address of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. The legal address is 230 Second St. Fall River Ma