Viva Fall River

There’s more to Fall River than Lizzie Borden

Jun 24, 2022 | Attractions, Visit

Fall River, a one-hour drive from Boston heading to the South Coast, becomes a hotbed of tourists and curiosity seekers every Aug. 4. That’s the anniversary of the infamous 1892 hatchet murders in the 92 Second Street home (now a bed and breakfast) of prominent Fall River residents Abby and Andrew Borden, for which daughter Lizzie Borden stood trial and was acquitted. Fall River, by circumstance and sometimes by design, has been synonymous with the macabre event ever since.

Not that there’s anything wrong with laying claim to an unsolved Victorian-era murder that has all the ingredients of melodrama. There’s a reason they keep making movies about Lizzie Borden – the latest, “Lizzie,” starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, hit theaters last month. But you can’t blame residents of this old industrial city for becoming a bit weary when it seems that all people know about Fall River is Lizzie Borden.

So, here are just a few places to visit and things to do in Fall River that have nothing to do with Lizzie Borden. Well, almost nothing.

The Narrows Center for the Arts is one of the best repurposings of one of the sprawling mills that for decades made Fall River hum. This music and art venue is located on the third floor of a former American Printing Co. mill at 16 Anawan St. With high ceilings, towering windows that offer spectacular views of Battleship Cove and glorious sunsets, and great acoustics, The Narrows since 1995 has been a premiere destination for live music in the region. Performers such as Iris Dement, Tom Rush, Ronnie Earl, and Peter Wolf and the Midnight Travelers are just some of the acts on the calendar recently. The Narrows recently added seating to attract bigger names but did not sacrifice any of the intimacy, value, or good vibes of its setting, where musicians mingle with the audience after the shows. Patrons are welcome to bring in food and alcohol — fresh coffee and pastries are available for purchase — but rowdy behavior is decidedly unwelcome which is another reason this venue rocks.

Fall River has long had a vibrant Portuguese community, and now it has an emporium, Portugalia Marketplace, that sells not just terrific Portuguese food at its Cozinha Regional section but imported ceramics, soaps, wine, olive oils, organic jams, and other delicacies. A European-style food shopping experience, Portugalia is located at 489 Bedford St. in the former Norbert Manufacturing building. Open and spacious, with high ceilings and exposed brick, its design is similar to markets in Portugal. There’s a cafe with sandwiches and pastries; a beer and wine shop; an olive bar; Charcutaria, which serves European-style cured deli meats and pates; and a temperature-controlled room dedicated to the Portuguese favorite, salted cod. Customers can come in, select their cod and have it cut just the way they want. Food is the attraction, but the marketplace is worth a visit for the old world atmosphere.

Read more about things to do in Fall River here: