Front Porch Blog

Parallels between New England whalers and Appalachian coal miners

{ Editor’s Note } Nick Mullins, a former Va. coal miner, is traveling this summer with his family on the Breaking Clean Tour, where this post was originally published.


Call us Mullins. Herman Melville’s depiction of New Bedford, Massachusetts during its prosperity as a whaling town still draws an enormous amount of tourism, the Mullins family included. Since having read the first 12 chapters of Moby Dick (and unfortunately laying it aside time after time in pursuit of necessary distractions) I could not help but feel drawn to New Bedford in many senses. While still in Providence, Rhode Island, we made the decision to visit the town, to take in the history, and hopefully find remnants of that bygone era. But first, it would have been a travesty and absolute failure on my part as a father to have done little more than introduce Daniel and Alex to the realm of Moby Dick by only the description of a sailor, a captain and a great white fish. Before setting off on the short 40 minute drive to New Bedford, I subjected myself to varying levels of frustration in a Dunkin Doughnuts, sifting through passwords, attempting to install Audible on my Tracfone and commence downloading Moby Dick. Eventually I met with success and we drove towards New Bedford listening to the classic.

[Continue reading Nick’s post here.]

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