Metro

Love whales? New map traces Massachusetts’ history and connections to the sea creatures

10/10/2014 - New Bedford, MA - Skeletons of whales hang in the entrance to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. For Address section feature on New Bedford, MA - Topic: 101914LocationPics. Photo by Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.
Photo by Dina Rudick/Globe Staff, file
Skeletons of whales hang in the entrance to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, one of many stops on the new Massachusetts Whale Trail.

It’s a whale of a trail.

Those interested in exploring Massachusetts’ maritime history and the state’s connection to some remarkable sea creatures now have a route to follow: the Massachusetts Whale Trail.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism made the online map available to the public Monday morning. Whether traveling by foot or ferry, train or car, the map highlights nearly 40 sites — including museums, whale-watching excursions, historic sites, and tours — that explore the effect of whales and whaling history on the region.

24WhaleTrail -- (Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism)
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
Illustration for the new Massachusetts Whale Trail map.
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“The trail captures the maritime spirit of Massachusetts and offers a new way for visitors to engage with our long and storied connection to whales,” Francois Nivaud, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, said in an statement.

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Just as the Freedom Trail traces many sites linked to Boston’s Revolutionary history, the Massachusetts Whale Trail details locationsup the coast and inland from New Bedford all the way to the Berkshires.

The trail includes the New Bedford Whaling Museum, as well as several locations around the state that recognize author Herman Melville and his classic novel, “Moby Dick.” Mount Greylock, which is said to have inspired Melville’s image of a white whale, gets a trail shout-out, too.

The map took six months to create. Tina Malott, director of marketing and public relations at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, said museum officials are excited to see people learn more about the marine mammals, ocean health and conservation, and the history of whaling in Massachusetts.

“Our state’s past, present, and future is intimately connected to the sea and to whales in particular,” Malott said. “As a whaling museum it’s easy to assume all we tell is the history of the whaling era when we hunted these magnificent mammals, and we do tell that story. But we also tell the story of whales today — how they eat, see, and live.”

Cristela Guerra can be reached at cristela.guerra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.