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Padanaram Village Historic District (South Dartmouth, MA)
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival, Late Victorian, Federal|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||September 5, 1985|
Padanaram is a coastal village in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, United States. As the Boston Globe stated, "It's where life slows down." The Buzzards Bay swing bridge which opens every hour to allow the many sailboats to pass in and out of the harbor literally slows things down. Locals and visitors alike find the charm in this purposeful pause as this is the quintessential capturing of life in this coastal village. Padanaram is part of Southern New England's Farm Coast, and the Coastal Wine Trail. It lies along Buzzards Bay with Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cuttyhunk Island off its coast.
The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Padanaram Village Historic District. The historic district is roughly bounded by Elm, Water, Middle, High, Pleasant, Prospect, Hill, School, Fremont, and Bridge Streets. The district features Colonial Revival, Late Victorian, and Federal architecture and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
South Dartmouth is also part of the South Coast, a region of southeastern Massachusetts bordering Buzzards Bay. A quarterly magazine named SOCO keeps abreast of trends, news, and local happenings. The daily newspaper is South Coast Today. According to the 2010 United States Census Bureau, South Dartmouth has a population of 11,320 residents with a median household income of $100,836.
The village of Padanaram was one of many settlements which began cropping up within the town of Old Dartmouth after its purchase from the Wampanoag Indians by members of the Plymouth Colony in 1652. During King Philip's War the settlement was burned down and all cattle killed. The only settlers who survived were those who heard a warning and fled either to Russell's Garrison or Cooke's Garrison. Remains of the settlement can still be seen at the foot of Lucy Street. In the mid-18th century it became a shipbuilding center. In September 1778, during the American Revolution, the British attacked nearby New Bedford with a small force attacking Padanaram. The 19th century saw Padanaram prosper as a minor whaling port, as well as home to a large salt works. As these industries died out, "the village" (as it is referred to by locals) became mostly a residential area with several yachting businesses, galleries, eateries, and shops.
Retail and shopping
Amidst its sandy beaches and water activities, Padanaram Village is home to a diverse selection of locally owned and operated retail stores, spa, boutiques, and restaurants. Centered around the intersection of Elm and Bridge Streets, the village lends itself to easy walking and biking for the many upscale shops and eateries. Notable examples include: Flora's home decor and clothing, Gigi's by the Sea for repurposed furnishings and trinkets, The Woodhouse Shop toys and novelties, 6 1/2 Bridge Street Gallery a local artists cooperative with beautiful painting, photography, sculpture, and jewelry, Nothin' Crazy, Folia, and Details & Design, amongst others.
In July the lively sidewalk stroll takes place with children's events, street tents set up with handmade artists wares, retail shops hold mid summer sales, and music is played. Every December the Padanaram Holiday Festival has costumed elves decorating and lighting the main streets of the village and boats in the harbor, while shops and eateries participate in evening happenings for a wonderfully warm, family event. Apponagansett Farm on Elm Street is a community sponsored agriculture (CSA) operating most of the year.
The villages restaurants are locally inspired with indoor / outdoor seating including The Sail Loft with live music and direct boat docking. The Black Bass Grille with gorgeous water views; and Beach Plum Cafe offering gourmet breakfast treats at 6 1/2 Bridge Street. For upscale casual dining Little Moss serves local farm-to-table artisanal daily menu creations and cocktails. Quick bites and ice cream can be enjoyed at The Dockside with outdoor picnic tables or The Bucket next to the beach playground where there are evening concerts in the park.
New Bedford Yacht Club
The New Bedford Yacht Club in Padanaram, was originally founded in New Bedford. NBYC bi-annually hosts the Buzzards Bay Regatta. Its Sailing School for children and adults is open to members and non-members alike. Every Wednesday from June through September is the club's Sunset Racing Series. In 2002, Llewellyn Howland III wrote 'The New Bedford Yacht Club : a history' 
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