There’s a lot to like about Fairhaven. And for a town its size, there’s also a lot to see and do.
From the site of the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War, to the home of the first Japanese native to live in America, to the homeport of the first person to sail solo around the world, Fairhaven justifiably calls itself “a small town with a big history.”
It’s well worth a visit just to see the library, Town Hall and church. All three are architectural gems.
The Manjiro Trail
A dramatic rescue took place off the coast of Japan in 1841. The crew of the John Howland whaling ship saved five young fishermen whose boat had crashed during a storm on an offshore island. Because of Japan’s “closed door policy” to the West, the ship couldn’t return to the mainland. The captain, William Whitfield, dropped four boys off in Hawaii. The fifth, a 14-year old named Manjiro Nakahama, accepted the captain’s offer to return to America to study.
Whitfield brought Manjiro to his hometown of Fairhaven, where he treated him like a son.
Not surprisingly, Fairhaven has the highest visitation rate by Japanese tourists of any community in the state next to Boston. Visitors can explore the “Manjiro Trail,” including the two schools and the Manjiro-Whitfield Friendship House, a new museum open to the public on Saturday afternoon.
Nearby the Old Stone Schoolhouse is a memorial to Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the world. He launched his rebuilt sloop, the Spray, from a spot near the memorial. His three-year, 46,000 mile voyage has inspired many others to duplicate the trip. “Captain Slocum is still known by sailors around the world,”
The last stop, in more ways than one, is the Riverside Cemetery on Main Street, one of the most beautiful rural-style cemeteries in the state. Established in 1850 by Warren Delano II, grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the cemetery is the final resting place of some of the town’s most prominent people, including the Rogers family mausoleum. With the flowers in full bloom, June is a great time to visit.
Read the entire article in the June, 2010 eidition of South Coast Insider at http://issuu.com/coastalmags/docs/sci_june10