Elegant Edgartown rests in the dip of the Island’s southwest corner. This historic village also boasts a lively downtown area, with fashionable shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafés.  

The age of whaling shaped the Federal and Greek Revival homes of Edgartown. Established in 1642 as the Island’s first settlement, the town grew steadily during the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1825, it was a major whaling port.

Although Edgartown was first settled in 1642, the vast majority of buildings in the historic district date from 1830 to 1845 — the golden era of whaling — when profits from whaling and trade with China brought huge fortunes to the Island.

Tucked between the seaside streets you’ll find cozy green spaces perfect for a picnic (or a snooze.) Stroll along the harbor or drop a line in at the marina, as the On Time Ferry motors diligently to and from nearby Chappaquiddick.

DON’T MISS:

1. Visitors Center
 29 Church Street. The Visitors Center provides maps and brochures for tourists and is also the place to hop a bus for other Island towns and South Beach. There is a public restroom.

2. Dr. Daniel Fisher House
99 Main Street. Dr. Daniel Fisher was one of Edgartown’s most successful whaling entrepreneurs. When he built his Federal- style house in 1840 he owned what is now the town wharf as well as a whale oil refinery, a candle factory, a bakery, and gristmill. Tours of the property are available through The Vincent House.

3. The Vincent House
Located behind the Fisher House, this is the oldest unaltered house on the Vineyard. Built in the 1670s, it is now a museum designed to highlight 300 years of Island life.

4. Old Whaling Church
89 Main Street. Built in 1843 at the height of the whaling industry, the six-columned Greek revival church was designed by Frederick Baylies Jr. This Methodist church is now also used as a town meeting place and a performing arts center. Of note: the 92-foot clock tower, which can be seen far out at sea, and the 1869 Simmons Fisher organ. Tours are available through The Vincent House. 

5. Martha’s Vineyard Museum
59 School Street. With over 30,000 items in its collections, the museum offers visitors a thoughtful look at the Island’s history.

6. Federated Church
47 S. Summer Street. Erected in 1828, the Federated Church is a traditional New England meetinghouse still in use by the Island’s oldest congregation (established in 1642.)  Of note: a chandelier that originally burned whale oil, an 1895 Hook and Hastings organ and the old box pews.

7. The Vineyard Gazette
34 S. Summer Street. Built in 1760 by Benjamin Smith, the house is now home to the Vineyard Gazette, the Island’s oldest newspaper. Stop in and see our Island-made newspaper being printed every Thursday afternoon, then visit us online at mvgazette.com.

8. Captain Valentine Pease House
80 S. Water Street. Captain Valentine Pease, master of The Acushnet, the whaler on which the author Herman Melville sailed in 1841, built this private residence between 1822 and 1836. Captain Pease is reputed to have been the prototype for Captain Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick.

9. The Pagoda Tree
9 S. Water Street. Captain Thomas Milton, who first came to the Vineyard in the early 1800s, brought this tree from the Orient when it was a seedling. Planted about 1833, it is the oldest of its kind on the continent. 

10. Memorial Wharf
Here is where you take the On Time Ferry to Chappaquiddick. The wharf’s upper platform offers a great place to sit and view the harbor activities. Fishing is permitted from the lower deck. 

11. Old Sculpin Gallery
58 Dock Street. This building was constructed in 1890 on the site of Daniel Fisher’s whale oil refinery. It first served as a feed mill, was then converted into a boat shop, and now houses an art gallery.

12. St. Andrew’s Church
34 N. Summer Street. The stained-glass windows in this 1899 church were made and signed by Louis C. Tiffany. The pulpit is the bow of a dory from the schooner Northern Lights, for many years the largest ship in Edgartown harbor.