Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Edgartown

Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Edgartown, established in 1642, is the oldest town on Martha's Vineyard and a former whaling port. One of the things I have always loved about the town are the narrow streets lined with the old homes of whaling captains from the 19th century. Many of the homes have "widow's walks," which are platforms on the roofs of the buildings. The story goes that women stood on these platforms and searched the harbor for the return of their husbands' whaling vessels, but there is no evidence to suggest this actually happened. Instead, the platforms were built so that homeowners could to pour sand down the chimney in the event of a chimney fire, a story that is nowhere near as romantic as the widow's walks.

Edgartown is a beautiful little town and was one of the main shooting locations for the film JAWS in 1975. If you've seen JAWS, the town of Amity is Edgartown.

I am super excited to visit Edgartown when I go to the Vineyard in May because I will be doing a book signing at Edgartown Books!

Edgartown Books (Source: Store Website)

The book store is housed in one of those old whaling captain homes, shown above, and is located on the town's main street near the harbor. The woman who runs the store was incredibly nice when I contacted her and in addition to setting up the signing she told me she would be sure to stock The Ghosts of Aquinnah in the shop for the summer season.

It's safe to say I am a big fan of this shop and this town now. :D

My A-Z of Martha's Vineyard theme is inspired by my book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which is set on the island. Click here for all the info on the book.


  1. It looks lovely there. I hope you book signing goes well. You really couldn't ask for a nicer place to do it.

  2. When I took a tour of Charleston, South Carolina, the first explanation of the Widow's Walk was given. It does sound better.

  3. Hi Julie - how great for you and the bookshop ... and that Widow's Walk explanation - both logical .. and Edgartown looks so quaint and very typically seasidey ..

    Enjoy that signing - you will, it sounds an ideal scenario for your book ..

    Cheers Hilary

  4. Nostalgia sweeps over me with your wonderful picture of the old lighthouse; I have always steadfastly believed in the "widows walk" story. But then, you can tell me anything and I'll believe it.

  5. I'd heard of widow's walks, but I agree the sand pouring thing just doesn't have quite the same ring to it. ;)

    This sounds like a beautiful town.

  6. I've been to Martha's Vineyard but only for an afternoon. I knew about the top of the platforms and sad that they needed to look out to see if the husband would arrive home safely. Jaws is big over there

  7. I had no idea that widow's walks were for chimney fires! I'm glad, actually; the always used to make me feel so sad, imagining the women pacing, hoping, searching for their men!

    what a great place for a signing :) That's so fun!

  8. I've heard of the 'widow's walks'...the sand down the chimney really doesn't have the same feel to it hahahah Edgartown really looks like a cute little town ;)

  9. I would love to take a walk in Edgartown to see all the old homes.

    I do prefer the story of women using the widow's walks to look for their husbands more than the real thing.

  10. Sounds like a fun book signing trip.
    I like the romantic version of the widow's walk reality would put writers out of business. :)

    Happy A to Zing


  11. Wow, 1642... It's been around a long time by American standards. We're such a *new country* compared to so many European countries.

  12. I love quaint little New England towns. I grew up in CT and visited Mystic and Cape Cod many times but I've never been to Martha's Vineyard. Lighthouses fascinate me; I started writing a YA novel around one but had to shelve it once I got a job. Seeing the Edgartown LH (and the one on your book cover) inspire me to continue.

    Best of luck on your book signing!

    The Pedestrian Writer visiting from the A to Z blogging challenge

  13. @Joss, thanks so much, I appreciate it!

    @Alex, yeah, the widows explanation is way more interesting. Who knows, maybe they were used for that too.

    @Hilary, I hope so, thanks!

    @Inge, I believed it too! I still like to think maybe there was truth in it LOL.

    @Trisha, yeah, it really is.

    @Birgit, I know, I always thought it seemed like such a sad situation too.

    @Liz, I hope it will be, thanks!

    @SK, yeah, the sand is kind of dull LOL.

    @Chrys, it's definitely more interesting. :D

    @Dragon, that's very true, we can't have that LOL. Thanks and same to you!

    @Bish, I know, that's one thing I love about New England, I just love the history.

    @Chris, oh, so nice to meet you! And I totally agree about lighthouses. Good luck with your writing and I'm thrilled if the pics inspired you.

  14. I Like the romantic version of the widow's walk! :)
    Beautiful place for your book signing. :)

  15. Such a charming town (minus the sharks). I'd love to go see that part of the country one of these days.

  16. I'll have to see Jaws again and see what this little town looks like!

  17. I cannot imagine that life--waiting and watching for your husband to come home, hoping he made it back that day after the dangerous seas.

  18. Don't worry about loss of hearing, Julie. As we age, deafness usually comes along anyway.
    That bookstore looks delightful, and it must be a pleasure to have your book there.
    I can't remember the name of the film I watched where the widow's walkway featured quite strongly, but it obviously made more of an impact than anything else. It's a shame to disillusion everyone with a bucket of sand.
    I have the same problem with 'U' since I've found out that the use of quilts in the 'underground railroad' is a myth!

  19. How cool to have a book signing there too! I love the design of the widow's walks. The farthest north I ever got in direction of New England was Buffalo, NY. Have fun!

    LuAnn Braley
    AJ's Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
    Back Porchervations

  20. Julie,

    What a wonderful place to have a booksigning! Sounds like a lovely little town. Thanks for describing it!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  21. I just knew something felt familiar. I love Jaws. Yup the romantic story sounds way nicer.

  22. How awesome!! Congratulations. If you'd like, I could go with you this summer as your assistant. All these Martha's Vineyards posts have me eager to visit!

  23. Squee! "Jaws" is my favorite movie ever! I knew it was filmed on MV, but I didn't know the town. So cool! Thanks for all the info. :)

  24. Julie, your posts make me want go visit! I'm putting it on Places To Go Someday list.

    I like the "widows' walk" story better than the "throw sand down the chimney" story.

    Oh, and JAWS?! "We're going to need a bigger boat." :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

  25. Sounds like a lovely town. I'll choose to believe the first story of the rooftop walkway. It sounds more romantic.

  26. A lovely New England town, something I miss since moving West. How exciting about the book signing! Best wishes..

  27. It sounds like a lovely place :)

  28. Big fan of New England. We go back every summer to our family cottage on Sebec Lake. Hope the book signing goes incredibly well.

  29. Hello, Julie

    What a wonderful story about widow's walks. That could be the theme of a story all on its own... :)

    Visiting from A-Z 2014 and good to see you again.

    Felicity Writing Away

  30. @Side, I do too. :D

    @LG, yeah, the shark ruined Amity a bit, didn't he?

    @Lee, I always watch Jaws when it comes on because I love the MV scenes.

    @Crystal, I can't either, it must have been brutal for all of them.

    @Fanny, oh, I didn't realize that! I had heard about those quilts too. Well we can still keep the myths, maybe they are true after all.

    @LuAnn, thanks, I hope I will.

    @Mary, I'm glad you liked it, thanks!

    @Elizabeth, I would love to have you along LOL.

    @Lexa, I love it too, great movie.

    @Madeline, I hope you make it! And yeah, that's a very memorable line, isn't it? :D

    @Nana, I agree.

    @Inger, thank you!

    @Laura, it is. :)

    @Milo, I don't think I've heard of Sebec Lake, now I need to go look it up. Thanks!

    @Fe, thanks, so good to see you as well. :)

  31. Have a great visit and good luck with that book!

  32. You'll be signing in such a charming place? That's amazing.

  33. Cool! I knew Jaws was shot in Martha's Vineyard, but I guess I assumed the name of the town was actually Amity!

  34. @Helen, thank you!

    @Vanessa, I was so thrilled when the woman who owns the shop was receptive to it.

    @Stephanie, no, there's no Amity on the island but I remember seeing tons of Jaws stuff there when it was the anniversary of the movie. :)

  35. Didn't know about Jaws-very cool. I love that the bookstore is going to stock your book-I bet you sell a ton.

  36. How cool about the book signing! Congrats! I hope it's a great success for you in May... :)

  37. @Tim, oh, I hope so!

    @Heather, thanks!

  38. Love the Martha's Vineyard theme! What a chilling legend with the widow's walks!

  39. Love the memory of your dad and the brass ring, and the legend of the women waiting for their whaler husbands.
    Have fun at the book signing :)

  40. I also knew that Jaws was filmed on Martha's Vineyard, but had never heard of Edgartown before. What a lovely place for a book signing! Your presence will only add to the charm! Good luck next month, Julie!


  41. @Dani, thanks!

    @Sharon, thanks so much, I appreciate it.

    @Julie, oh that's so nice, thanks!

  42. I imagine that if feels like you're surrounded by history when you visit places like these. That widow's walk idea does sound a lot more romantic than the reality. :)

  43. @Joy, yeah, I'm a history buff so I love the atmosphere. :)

  44. I never knew that about Widow's walks, though I often had a hard time picturing a Victorian woman in all her fabric walking up there...


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