Edgartown, Massachusetts - Tourism


Edgartown was an old whaling port and is now a summer and tourist destination with a multitude of houses built by whaling captains and other prominent people of prior centuries. The growth of the population over the past 25 years has led to a period of intense renewal of these old houses. Water Street along the harbor is the location of many of these "Captain's Homes" which line both sides of the street. The town has also encouraged renovation of historical structures. As part of this effort, the Whaling Church, a large 18th century church, has been converted to a performing arts center and the adjacent Daniel Fisher House is now used for a variety of social functions. In addition to the architecture of the town, Edgartown is easily traversed on foot or bicycle, making it attractive to tourists.

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.

The Edgartown Light at the end of north Water Street defines the entrance to the Harbor. The harbor is large and entered through a modest sized channel on the North side of Edgartown. It opens into Katama Bay, created by a barrier beach that sometimes connects the south end of Chappaquiddick to the remainder of Edgartown, The barrier beach opened during a spring storm in 2007. This has led to a 3 knot current through Katama Bay and Edgartown Harbor. This protected body of water provides ample mooring for small and large boats. The opening of the harbor will accommodate large sailing and motorized boats, but will not accommodate large ships or yachts which may anchor outside the harbor.

Another feature is South Beach, a small part of the ocean beach that runs the entire southern length of the island from Edgartown to Aquinnah. It can be reached by driving or riding the bus south from Edgartown center for approximately 2.5 miles. South Beach is a crashing ocean beach. It is a major destination for tourists. Much of the beach in Edgartown is open to the public with ample parking available.

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