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“It's really not about Melville and "Moby Dick".” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Seamen's Bethel

Seamen's Bethel
15 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740
508-992-3295
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Ranked #4 of 41 things to do in New Bedford
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: A historic church dedicated to sailors.
Yorktown Heights, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“It's really not about Melville and "Moby Dick".”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

Although the pew where Melville prayed is identified and the pulpit is now identical to the one in the Gregory Peck movie, these are really just marketing points. Seaman's Bethel is right near the New Bedford Whaling Museum (which you should definitely see). Seaman's Bethel is also worth a visit. It is quiet as befits a church. It's reeks history. As you walk through it, the first level is where ordinary seaman would go to attend classes or even to sober up. There are laminated pages to read and leave. The room above is the actual church area. Read the centopaths along the walls. They are memorials to a few of those who lost their lives to the sea. Some are heartbreaking; some are descriptive; some have humor. They give a bit of life to these sailors even after death. The stucture itself is preserved pretty much as it was. They were testing some of the paint on the walls when we were there. I understand there is some sailor lore that says ships shouldn't be painted blue. But underneath these paint samples it looks like the walls and bannisters of Seamen's Bethel might have had skyblue paint originally.

Visited September 2012
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49 reviews from our community

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English first
cleveland
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Moby Dick comes alive”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Even if you only read the "cliff notes", or saw the movie, a stop here is worth while. I is a lovely and lovingly resored landmark as well as a good photo op.

Visited October 2012
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Lawrenceville, NJ
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Like stepping back through history”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

On a break in our visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, we stepped into this piece of history. Here is where Ishmael stopped on the way out to sea with Captain Ahab. Here is where Melville prayed. The pulpit in the shape of a ship is right out of the Gregory Peck "Moby Dick" film. It brings the 19th century to life.

Visited August 2012
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New Bedford, Massachusetts
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Very small and nice”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

My parents got married in this church its very beautiful

Visited August 2011
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Davis, California
Top Contributor
214 reviews 214 reviews
71 attraction reviews
Reviews in 77 cities Reviews in 77 cities
161 helpful votes 161 helpful votes
“Quick Stop But Moving”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2012

The Seamen's Bethel, a non-denominational church, is still an active house of worship as well as an historic site. It is undergoing some restoration and is stylistically simple, so the draw isn't in its physical beauty. However, it is sobering to sit in a pew and think of the many seamen--including Melville--who prayed here before shipping out. Memorial plaques on the walls tell some of the stories of those who didn't return, *leaving visible space for fresh entries.* Across the street from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, it is well worth a visit.

Visited July 2012
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