Dartmouth, Massachusetts is a coastal New England town separated into two parts: North Dartmouth and South Dartmouth. Dartmouth itself is part of the Farm Coast New England comprising a chain of historic coastal villages, vineyards, and farms including Padanaram Village and Russell's Mills. It is celebrating its 350th birthday this 2014. It is also part of the Massachusetts South Coast (or SOCO). The local daily newspaper is South Coast Today and it's quarterly magazine is SOCO.
North Dartmouth consists mostly of a large commercial district with a mall, movie theatre, many chain retail stores including a Barnes and Noble bookstore, and diverse restaurants. Cultural eateries include Portuguese, Indian, Italian, Thai, Chinese, with many standard American fare.
It is landlocked as it does not abut any waterways, there are working farms including Silverbrook Community Sponsored Agriculuture (CSA) and Running Brook Vineyard and Winery (as well as Coastal Vineyards in South Dartmouth) which are both part of the Coastal Wine Tour. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau North Dartmouth has a population of 24,302 residents with a median household income of $82,403. It is served by the Dartmouth police department and has 3 elementary schools (Quinn, Potter, and Demello).
South Dartmouth (zip code 02748) borders Buzzards Bay where a lively fishing and boating community thrives; off its coast is Martha's Vineyard and Cuttyhunk. The New Bedford Yacht Club in Padanaram hosts a bi-annual Regatta. With unique historic villages and selection of coastal real estate, it has for many generations been a summering community. Notable affluent sections within South Dartmouth are Nonquit, Round Hill, Padanaram Village, Barney's Joy, and Mishaum Point. Still it has its fair share of year round residents lending to thriving seasonal activities all year.
Alderbrook Farm in Russell's Mills is open every day and has seasonal offerings, animals to pet, and an indoor market based on an honor system with a cash box. Each December the Padanaram Village Holiday Stroll takes place, where costumed elves on their ladders decorate the Main Street in lights and holly and the shops and eateries open into the late evening with fun events at each stop. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau South Dartmouth has a population of 11,320 residents with a median household income of $100,836. It is served by the Dartmouth police and fire department, and has 2 elementary schools (Demello and Cushman).
Dartmouth is the third-largest town (by land area) in Massachusetts, after Plymouth and Middleborough. The distance from Dartmouth's northern most border with Freetown to Buzzards Bay in the south is approximately .
The villages of Hixville, Bliss Corner, Padanaram, Smith Mills, and Russells Mills are located within the town. Dartmouth shares borders with Westport to the west, Freetown and Fall River to the north, Buzzards Bay to the south, and New Bedford to the east with boat shuttles traveling multiple times daily to Martha's Vineyard and Cuttyhunk.
Dartmouth was first settled in 1650 and was officially incorporated in 1664. Dartmouth's history was that of an agricultural and seafaring community, but during the late 19th century its coastline became a resort area for the wealthy members of New England society.
It was named for the town of Dartmouth, Devon, England, from where the Puritans originally intended to depart for America. The land was purchased with trading goods from the Wampanoag chiefs Massasoit and Wamsutta by elders of the Plymouth Colony; reportedly thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pairs of shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings' worth of assorted goods . It was sold to the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers, who wished to live outside the stringent religious laws of the Puritans in Plymouth.
There are still Quaker meeting houses in town, including the Smith Neck Meeting House, the Allens Neck Meeting House, and the Apponegansett Meeting House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town's borders were originally named in the charter (and set by King Philip) as the lands of "Acushnea, Ponagansett, and Coaksett." This includes the land of the towns of Westport, Fairhaven, and Acushnet, and the city of New Bedford. In 1789, the towns of Westport and New Bedford, which included Fairhaven and Acushnet, separated and were incorporated as towns themselves.
The Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, located in South Dartmouth, is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs on aquatic environments in southeastern New England. It is across the mouth of the Slocums River from Demarest Lloyd State Park, a popular state beach known for its shallow waters.
The Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust (DNRT) in South Dartmouth, holds over 1,500 conserved acres of land with 35 miles of hiking trails, ocean and river walks, photography tours, summer outdoor yoga series, bird watching, and plant identification. It's summer evening Barn Bash and winter fundraising auction are held annually.
Round Hill was the site of early-to-mid 20th century research into the uses of radio and microwaves for aviation and communication by MIT researchers. It is also the site of the Green Mansion, the estate of "Colonel" Edward Howland Robinson Green, a colorful character in his own right, who was son of the even more colorful and wildly eccentric Hetty Green, said to be the richest woman in the world in her time, who is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the "world's greatest miser".
In 1936, the Colonel died, and the estate fell into disrepair as litigation between his wife and his sister continued for eight years over his vast fortune. Finally, Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Wilks, the Colonel's sister, was ruled the sole beneficiary. In 1948, she bequeathed the entire estate to MIT, which used it for microwave and laser experiments. The giant antenna, which was a landmark to sailors on Buzzards Bay, was erected on top of a 50,000-gallon water tank. (After all efforts were made to preserve the structure, it was demolished on November 19, 2007.)
Another antenna was erected next to the mansion and used in the development of the Ballistic Early Warning System. MIT continued to use Round Hill through 1964. It was then sold to the Society of Jesus of New England and was used as a retreat house. The upper floors were divided into 64 individual rooms. The main floor was fitted with a chapel, a library and meeting rooms. In 1970 the Jesuits sold the land and buildings to Gratia R. Montgomery. In 1981, Mrs. Montgomery sold most of the land to a group of developers who have worked to preserve the history, grandeur and natural environment. The property is now a gated, mostly summer residential community on the water featuring a nine-hole golf course.