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Visiting Padanaram Village, Dartmouth, Mass.
"A beautiful little coastal neighborhood in the south coast of Massachusetts"
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Photo of Padanaram Village, Dartmouth, MA
Padanaram Village in Dartmouth, Mass. (photo by Eric) 

Article and photo by Eric H.


Sometimes failures can lead to something quite beautiful -- such is the case with Padanaram Village in Dartmouth, Mass..

The whaling industry went out to sea. An elaborate salt works eventually fell on "shaky" ground. A magnesia factory ultimately didn't have the right "element" to succeed.

The departure of these businesses could have turned Padanaram Village into a coastal ghost town, but, thankfully, community pride helped keep this Dartmouth neighborhood afloat. Picturesque without being pretentious, Padanaram Village today features beautiful harbor views, pleasant tree-lined neighborhoods leading to the water, a few restaurants, galleries and service-oriented shops, and a feeling of peacefulness. That quiet nature belies the fact that a highly populous south coast of Massachusetts city like New Bedford is just 10 minutes away.

Ship and boat building, once prominent staples of the industrious nature of Padanaram Village, remains today although to a lesser degree. With its very presence, though, you can feel its vibe in the streets, the people in the neighborhood still nurturing this craft, and by looking across the scenic harbor with its colorful inventory of boats.

Padanaram Village doesn't wear the coastal bowtie that turned some other New England waterfront towns into poster children for the tourism industry. This is a place to park the car, walk the peaceful streets, grab a bite at the local eatery (the Sail Loft at 246 Elm St. has some excellent seafood), and just enjoy the harbor views that successfully soothe the soul and refresh the senses. Nothing fancy or trendy, mind you, but just the innate ingenuity of Mother Nature gracing the New England coast and the generations of locals that believed in preservation and reinvention rather than failure. Now that's what I call a success story!

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