Edgartown MA was first settled by the English in 1642. Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr. led a group of families to start a colony on the island after its purchase by his father Thomas Mayhew. Originally called Great Harbor, Edgartown was incorporated in 1671, and is one of the two original towns on Martha’s Vineyard, along with Tisbury. The town’s current name is in honor of Edgar, the young son of James II of England who died at the age of three.
Edgartown was once an old whaling port and is now a summer and tourist destination with many of its’ original whaling captains homes. Water Street along the harbor is the location of many of these “Captain’s Homes” which line both sides of the street. All the homes in town are white with black or dark green shutters and many of the homes are lined with white picket fences adorned with rose bushes.
On Main Street, the Old Whaling Church, built in the 18th century, has been converted to a performing arts center and the adjacent Daniel Fisher House is now a popular wedding venue. There are an abundance of gift shops, art galleries, and water-front dining throughout town. In addition to the architecture of the town, Edgartown is easily traversed on foot or bicycle, making it attractive to tourists.
The Edgartown Lighthouse at the end of north Water Street defines the entrance to the Harbor. The town of Edgartown includes the smaller island of Chappaquiddick, where you can find quiet beaches and serene places such as the Mytoi Gardens, a Japanese garden run by the Trustees of Reservations.
Edgartown was used as the main shooting location for the town of Amity in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster ‘Jaws’. Many landmarks and buildings in Edgartown that were filmed in the movie can still be seen today.