Before Martha’s Vineyard was an extraordinary summer vacation destination, it was a whaling industry mecca. And, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Edgartown was the whaling hub.
Built around the whaling trade, hundreds of whaling captains constructed beautiful, stately homes in the center of town – along with the picturesque Whaling Church – and today they provide the refined and historical look of the town.
Mainstreet and the close-knit downtown area is full of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, movie theater – along old brick sidewalks. True to the Vineyard, you won’t find any box stores or chains – this is shopping at its one-of-a kind best.
Make sure you make your way down to the harbor…full of beautiful boats and one of the most gorgeous lighthouses I’ve ever seen, the Edgartown Lighthouse, of course.
But, on those sunny days, I suggest you hightail it out of town and head to the beach. You have a few to choose from, but my top picks are:
- South Beach (surf side) for great waves out in Katama (pronounced Kuh-TAY-muh). Katama is part of Edgartown and it features its own bay and a super beachy feel.
- State Beach (sound side) is a great kids beach because you can wade right in without worrying about big waves. Also, the trip from car to towel is pretty short which I know is important when you’ve got little ones.
The bike path goes right through town, out to the beach or lets you explore miles of the island through towns and the state forest. Oh, and if you head up-island on the bike trail, make sure to stop at Morning Glory Farm – a wonderful local farm filled with just picked produce, salads, soups and luscious baked goods.
Edgartown is also home to some huge fundraising galas every summer – a great place to really get to know the community and give back to this special island. The most famous, perhaps, is the Possible Dreams Auction where incredible dreams are donated and auctioned off to the highest bidder – all to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.
Edgartown has the best of both worlds – the hustle and bustle of town and the soulful quiet of the waterfront…