During its heyday as a whaling port (1765–1860), New Bedford commanded as many as 400 whaling ships. This vast fleet brought home hundreds of thousands of barrels of whale oil for lighting America's lamps. Novelist Herman Melville worked on one of these ships for four years, and thus set his celebrated novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, in New Bedford.
Like all good New England towns, Quincy, about 10 miles south of Boston, is not pronounced the obvious way: say 'Quin-zee' if you want to talk like the locals. What makes Quincy notable – and earns this town the nickname 'The City of Presidents' – is that it is the birthplace of the second and sixth presidents of the United States: John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
The sprawling community of Tiverton stretches out lazily alongside the Sakonnet River, with views of distant sailing vessels and Aquidneck Island. The further south you explore on RI 77, the prettier the landscape becomes with ramshackle farm stands selling fresh produce, rolling fields extending in all directions and tantalizing flashes of the ocean in the distance.
The 'falls' in Fall River are what drove this town's development back in the 19th century, when the river fueled several textile companies and an ironworks, earning the place the nickname Spindle City. After the decline of the textile industry, and a devastating city-wide fire in 1928, the once prosperous town never really regained its footing.