The Grand Canyon; Key West, Fla.; Wailuku, Hawaii — and New Bedford?
The Massachusetts waterfront community famous for its once-thriving whaling industry (and its annual “Moby-Dick” readathon) found itself recently on a long list of destinations across the United States deemed “the most epic” for plopping down to enjoy the scenery at sunset.
The list compiled by travel website Expedia.com wasn’t based on fancy metrics, or an internal study of any kind. Instead it was determined by staff who sifted through “hundreds of thousands of social conversations” using the hashtag #sunsets, according to the company.
New Bedford officials were quick to accept the endorsement Wednesday.
“We certainly do enjoy some spectacular sunsets here,” a tweet from the city’s official Twitter account said.
Dagny Ashley, director of tourism and marketing for the city, said New Bedford has enjoyed a tourism boost recently, which, she added, could be tied to other similar lists the community has appeared on. She said visits to New Bedford were up by 13 percent last year when compared with 2015.
The area also enjoyed some time in the spotlight last summer when a sculpture of a seagull with breasts that was prominently placed downtown as part of an art event caused a citywide flap. Outrage from some residents about the big-bosomed bird’s presence led to news stories being written about the sculpture from the United States to Tokyo, Ashley said.
“We are making a little name for ourselves,” she said. “We didn’t do too bad with that seagull.”
Expedia’s roundup includes a variety of places with breathtaking scenery. Kodiak, Alaska; Moab, Utah; and Santa Barbara, Calif., are also on the list, for example.
Many of the landscapes featured offer soaring mountains and winding river valleys. Others are sun-kissed havens featuring palm trees and serene beaches with crashing waves.
New Bedford, the sixth largest city in the state, and Herman Melville’s inspiration for “Moby-Dick,” rounds out the list at No. 20, the very last spot.
Expedia recommends that people who want to enjoy a great “solar performance” in New Bedford head over to the South Coast city’s Fort Taber-Fort Rodman, a 50-acre waterfront park that’s open to the public. Spectators there can gaze out into the distance, the website says, and “have an awesome vantage point of the sun sailing over Buzzards Bay.”
The Harbor Walk, a 3,800-foot-long path that was recently built atop a hurricane barrier, is also recommended if you want to view “the tangerine” color produced during sunset.
Ashley, the tourism director, couldn’t agree more.
“I’m a little biased, but that’s, like, the best spot,” she said.
Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.