Bed and Breakfast at Captain Haskell's Octagon House

347 Union Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740
Innkeeper(s): Chuck Smiler
  • Introduction

    elegant landmark c.1848

    • Pet Friendly Bed & Breakfast in the historic whaling city of New Bedford, MA
    • Home of Melville's Moby Dick
    • National Whaling Historic Park
    • Antiques, Architecture, Art, Museums, Festivals
    • Dog-Friendly Beaches nearby
    • Convenient to Newport, Cape Cod, with ferry service to the Islands of Martha's Vineyard and Cuttyhunk
    • Selected by Bark Magazine (Summer '02) as one of 17 Top Travel Tips

       "We enjoyed the breakfasts very much, but most of all your great friendship." L.C., Spartanburg, SC

    Join us in the comfortable antiques-filled elegance of one of the city's finest historic whaling captain's houses. Relax in our spacious rooms with private baths, or a cozy cupola room for a truly unique architectural experience. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the dining room, surrounded by antiques and teapots, or in the conservatory or our old-fashioned garden.

     "A delightful experience, conversation is lively;
    food is wonderful." - S.O., Buffalo, NY



  • Breakfast


    Sample selections from our elegant continental breakfast:

    • Homemade baked specialties
    • Raspberry chocolate scones
    • Multi-grain Irish soda bread
    • Cranberry bread pudding
    • Assorted biscuits, scones, muffins
    • Locally-baked Portuguese breads and pastries
    • Fruit course (varies seasonally)
    • Poached pears
    • Broiled mango and bananas
    • Fruit frappes



  • Area Attractions


    Explore New Bedford’s seafaring past and present — its authentic, still-working fishing fleet at the waterfront, and the cobbled streets of the Whaling National Historical Park.

    Visit the Whaling Museum, New Bedford Art Museum, Fire Museum, Seaman’s Bethel (the chapel in Moby Dick), the Frederick Douglass Memorial, the schooner Ernestina, the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, dramatic Fort Taber Park on Clark’s Point overlooking Buzzard’s Bay.

    Enjoy a walking tour of historic houses. Check out the new art scene downtown. Follow the Underground Railroad walking tour. Shop for antiques — lots of great stuff still available!

    Taste locally-caught seafood — freshness redefined!  Savor zesty Portuguese cuisine.

    Day trip to Boston (70 min.) or Cape Cod (30 min.) Plymouth, Providence, and Newport are all 45 minutes away.

    Take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Cuttyhunk. (Dogs welcome aboard.)

    Admire the architecture and enjoy (dog-friendly) West Island Beach in nearby Fairhaven. Discover the unspoiled villages of the “SouthCoast.”

    Play with your dog on Gooseberry Island, our favorite off-leash beach in New England. Good beachcombing, too!

  • House History

    The OCTAGON HOUSE was built in 1847-1848 by the housewright John Vinal for the master of the New Bedford whaler Mercury, Captain Fordyce Dennis Haskell and his wife Sylvia. Bays, other additions and architectural embellishments were added in the 1860s by whale oil merchant John Hastings.

    Now considered a curiosity of American architectural history, the brief craze for the "Octagon Mode" was inspired by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, publisher, pop-psychologist, and all-round Victorian eccentric. Fowler lectured widely on a variety of topics, vigorously promoting his book of octagon plans which went through nine editions between 1848 and 1860. Octagonal houses were touted as superior in economy of construction, efficiency of space use and ventilation, as well as supposedly enhancing health, happiness and sexual harmony.

    A century later, the house had fallen into a sorry state of disrepair. The previous owner undertook extensive, painstaking restoration in the 1980s, which we are continuing. We invite you to enjoy with us the many original details of this unusual architectural treasure - the marble fireplaces, Staffordshire tile hearths, oak parquet floors, carved papyrus leaf door casings, spiral staircase, the marble-floored conservatory dating from the l860s renovation, and the recreated old-fashioned city garden.