The small town of Dartmouth is the third-largest town in Massachusetts. The town is situated among many lakes and rivers — including the Copicut River and the Shingle Island — and spans 97.5 square miles. It has a population of 34,032.
The history: Dartmouth was first settled in 1650. Named for the town in England where the Puritans departed, it quickly became a religious center and a thriving agricultural community . It was eventually bought by Quakers who wished to live outside the strict religious laws brought on by the Puritans. Today, Quaker meeting houses are scattered throughout the town, including the Smith Neck Meeting House and the Allens Neck Meeting House. Dartmouth is also the site of Round Hill, used in the early and mid 20th century to research radio, microwaves, and communication. It was home to an eclectic group of individuals, including Hetty Green, the richest woman of her time. The town quickly became known for its charm, its innovations, and its beautiful environment. It is now home to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Mall, and the Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies.
The nature: The town is home to beautiful state parks and gorgeous nature reserves like Lloyd State Park, Parsons Reserve, and Slocum’s River Reserve. Weave your way through the woodlands, hike the winding trails, and enjoy the serenity of the calming beach views. Dartmouth is a great place for spotting wildlife: the quiet beckons great blue herons, northern harriers, and other birds and local critters.
Little River Salt Marsh: In late March, members of the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust installed a 15-foot high suspension bridge over the Little River Estuary, providing easy access to the Little Salt River Marsh. With the bridge, they put in a 700-foot long boardwalk across the salt-marsh so guests and hikers can enjoy an up-close look at the marsh ecosystem and animals. Pass over rivers, walk through the woods, stumble across old stone walls dating back to the earliest settlers, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings without having to worry about losing the path.
The farming: When Dartmouth was founded, it was known for, among other things, its
agriculture. Today, the small farms are the heart of the town. The Alderbrook Farm is a quintessential New England farm with its animals on display (stop in and visit the ox, pot belly big, or the horse) and a year-round farm stand. The general store sells farm-fresh eggs, milk, flowers, herbs, baked goods, honey, and other goodies. Cornell Farm is another local favorite. Guests can tour the pastures and fields as well as its private view of the salt marsh near the tidal Little River. It specializes in flowers and produce and offers a variety of gardening products and tips to customers.
Local food: Darmouth is a casual college town, but that doesn’t mean the only dining options are for students. There are plenty of restaurants that offer good food and local ingredients at reasonable prices. Mirasol’s Cafe is a funky Latin American-inspired coffee and sandwich shop with a variety of fresh options. TryBuster’s Sports Bar and Grill for casual game-time pub fare. The Healthy Grille is perfect for light, local dining with farm-fresh ingredients. Or, for a night on the town, swing by Trio Cafe and Lounge for contemporary European dishes and a trendy atmosphere. And, of course, don’t forget to stop by Salvador’s Ice Cream. One visitor posted a photo on social media of the alpaca she met there. Check out five social media photos posted from Dartmouth.