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Friday, September 28, 2007

Edgartown Lighthouse

Edgartown, on the eastern end of the island of Martha’s Vineyard was once a whaling port. The first lighthouse was established in 1828, on the western side of the inner harbor, but deteriorated through the years and was finally knocked out, like a lot of things were, by the Hurricane of 1938.

Then the Coast Guard took over, and replaced it with this cast-iron tower. It’s now under the control of the Vineyard Environmental Research Institute, just beyond the town’s center and at the end of North Water Street, the start of the public Norton Point Beach. Today, the lighthouse is equipped with an environmentally-friendly, solar-powered lamp, its beacon alternating white and red light 170 feet above sea level.

European settlement of Martha's Vineyard began in Edgartown, named for the son of England’s James II. By the 1800s, over 100 Edgartown men were captains of whaling ships. Just off Main Street, there are houses dating from the 18th century, and whalers' mansions from the 19th century. Among the oldest buildings is the Vincent House, built in 1672, now a museum depicting life on the Island through the last four centuries. The Old Whaling Church built in 1843 by the whaling captains, is considered one of the finest examples of Greek revival architecture in New England.

What to go? Check out the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce at A new faster Steamship Authority vessel “Island Home” just cut the trip from Woods Hole to the Vineyard to 35 minutes. And mind the bees in the beach roses.

Been there? Done that? Bought the T-Shirt? Let us know.

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