View of Mattapoisett Harbor looking southeast toward Mattapoisett Neck. Photo by Tom Richardson

Mattapoisett holds a special place in my heart, as it happens to be where I live. If you’re a boater, you couldn’t ask for a saltier location. It seems as if every other person in town is either a lifelong boater or involved in the marine industry in some way. Sometimes it’s both.

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 Getting There
 Dockage, Moorings and Service
 Anchorages
 Harbormaster
 Launch Ramps
 Boat and Kayak Rental
 Things to Do and See
 Where to Eat
 Provisions
 Where to Stay
 Getting Around
 Fishing Information
 General Information

Mattapoisett Chart

Mattapoisett’s nautical roots run deep, as the town was a major shipbuilding center in the 1800s. The last whaling bark to sail out of New Bedford, the Wanderer, was built in Mattapoisett by Holmes Shipyard, in 1878. She wrecked off the Elizabeth Islands in 1924.

SAT map

In more recent times, Mattapoisett served as home to Brownell Boatworks, Dexter Boats and Edey & Duff. Other homegrown marine businesses continue to thrive here, including Triad Boatworks, the Mattapoisett Yacht Club, the Mattapoisett Boatyard, Peinert Boatworks, Brownell Systems, The Wooden Tangent and, of course, BoatingLocal.

This little town on the western shore of Buzzards Bay boasts a natural harbor that’s well protected from winds out of the southwest, west and north (easterly winds are another matter). It features a series of grand stone wharves dating back to the 1800s, with pumpout, visitor tie-up and a dinghy dock, as well as a double-wide launch ramp that offers good access to boats of all sizes throughout the tide.

Chuck and Candy Cederberg’s “Occam’s Razor” lies alongside the family dock on Aucoot Cove. Photo by Tom Richardson

A good anchorage can be found in the shelter of Mattapoisett Neck, but boaters who want a mooring can call Triad Boatworks, which offers 5 moorings free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. The Mattapoisett Boatyard also offers transient moorings (for a fee), as well as fuel and service on the eastern side of the harbor. Their launch can give you a ride to the wharf, but it’s not a far walk into town.

Ashore you’ll find a quaint, classic New England “village” peppered with Victorian ship captains’ homes; a well-groomed waterfront park where concerts, dances and other events are held during summer; an ice-cream/snack stand (the Seaport Slip) and the tidy, well-staffed harbormaster’s office. Just across the street from the harbor is the Inn at Shipyard Park (formerly the Kinsale Pub and the oldest seaside tavern still operating in its original structure) for a drink or some good food. The Inn has live music throughout the year, and offers guest rooms, as well. A few doors down, you can also book a room at the cozy and comfortable Mattapoisett Inn.

The cozy Mattapoisett Inn offers the weary mariner a comfortable place to rest his sea legs. Photo by Tom Richardson

A short walk will bring you to the commercial center of town, home to Panino’s restaurant (a great spot for breakfast, lunch and prepared meals to take with you on the boat) at the Rope Walk Plaza, across from the fire station and post office. The Rope Walk also comprises a gift shop/boutique, a toy store and a clothing store. A great rainy-day option is Bowlmor Lanes, a throwback bowling alley from the 1950s featuring mini duckpins and candlepin-size balls. Next door is the large and ornate Ying Dynasty restaurant (formerly the Cathay Temple), which serves Chinese and American fare. You’ll find Nick’s Pizza on the other side of Rte. 6.

Much of Mattapoisett is a kayaker’s paradise. Photo by Tom Richardson

Kayakers will also find plenty to love about Mattapoisett. You can launch at several spots along the Mattapoisett shoreline to explore the inshore waters. The Mattapoisett River, which enters the harbor on its western side, winds north for a half-mile before ending at Rte. 6. At high tide, you can beach a dinghy or kayak here and walk across the road to the Mattapoisett Diner or the Mattapoisett Chowder House. Other terrific kayaking spots can be found outside the harbor, such as along Pine Island and Aucoot Cove, the latter on the Marion/Mattapoisett border.

Yet another option for paddlers is Brant Island Cove, on the western side of Mattapoisett Neck. The cove comprises a shallow, expansive marsh system that’s home to numerous species of shorebirds and waterfowl. Lastly, freshwater paddlers can launch at the small park at the junction of River Street and Rte. 6 to explore the freshwater portion of the Mattapoisett River, which winds for 11 miles into neighboring Rochester. The river becomes quite narrow and shallow as  you work your way upstream, so be prepared to portage around some low spots.

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Photo Gallery:

Live bands perform at Harbor Days, held at Shipyard Park each July. Photo by Tom Richardson

Local artists and artisans display their handiwork at Harbor Days. Photo by Tom Richardson

Jonathan Craig prepares to launch a canoe from the shores of Aucoot Cove. Photo by Tom Richardson

Summer fog hangs heavy in Mattapoisett Harbor. Photo by Tom Richardson