Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Main Street, Wednesday Morning

My favorite time of day downtown is between 7-9am. The streets are quiet, but not deserted (deserted, a/k/a January in Edgartown, absolutely does not work for me), and most of the people I run into are folks I know, or haven't seen for a long time, or are strangers with friendly smiles and greetings, or some combination of the above; this time of day being about as close as we'll ever get to that "old Edgartown" feeling and state of mind, I think.

I'm not sure why people are friendlier in the morning than at other times of day, but it's true. I think it's partly due to the unspoken understanding that we're all members of the same club. I also think that folks are just plain happier in the morning, if for no other reason than nothing has gone wrong yet.

I'm not always able to drag myself out in the early morning hours, this time of day being my most productive work time,  but when I do, I'm always glad I made the effort. The fun part is, I never know who or what I will find. Today the light was in my favor - a combination of morning mist with the sun trying to burn through, but at times verging on rain showers, and  I did find many of Main Street's usual suspects doing their usual things, as well as a few pleasant surprises; a splendid morning adventure that even included a little boat ride. My only regret is: so many people, so many nooks and crannies of Edgartown; so little time.

And the thing I love about this bliggety-blog thing is, unlike my old Edgartown Column in the MV Times, which was mostly words, Edgartown News is mostly pictures with not too many words. I am of the firm opinion that the world would be a much better place with fewer words and more pictures.

Why not start with a few of Edgartown's icons; landmarks I see every day and take for granted. Am I able to see them with new eyes today?

The Beautiful Old Church of Whaling Days, now called The Old Whaling Church. This building was once filled with Methodists (including my grandmother as well as many relatives), but several years ago the Methodists, so small in number that they could not afford to maintain the building, sold it to the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Society. The MVPS keeps the building maintained (beautifully), and rents it out for weddings, concerts, and other events. The Methodists still worship here, in a small chapel downstairs (I think - except maybe now they have been regionalized and relegated to Oak Bluffs).

The clock tower is owned by the town, and Tom Bassett is the keeper of the clock, as was his father, Gordon, for many years. Some people are bothered by the sound of the clock, especially near-neighbors during the wee hours. I live a block away and I never hear it in the middle of the night (in the same way that I don't hear the Green Line right outside my city window).

There's a soup supper downstairs on Monday nights during the winter, a great gathering place for year-round islanders; as social - if not more so -  as it is gustatory.

The county courthouse.

Town hall. Once home to every office in town, including the police station; also my mother's welfare office, where I spent many an after-school hour typing on her old black Royal, in the days when the ten cents she gave me to spend at Lenny's drug store or at the paper store went a long way. Egads, I sound a hundred years old. Egads, who even says egads anymore?

Tom Benedict has begun prepping the lampposts for a fresh coat of paint. Two years ago, Tom painted the cannons and cannonballs at Memorial Park. Another project of Tom's was gilding the Roman numerals on the town clock a few years back.

My cousin-in-law, Harold, out for his morning walk.

My friend Heidi Shultz, down from West Tisbury. It took her about six minutes to say, "I never come to Edgartown." Heidi was slow. I knew she'd get to it but I expected it much earlier in the conversation.

A quiet morning down at Derby Headquarters, with the board reportedly not changing much in the past few days except for the recent addition of Rob Morrison's bonito.

All is in order at Memorial Wharf.

Captain Maddie LeCoq heads to her day job, piloting a launch service for boats in the harbor.

Maddie ferries her first morning passenger, Patty, over to Edgartown Marine.
Look out, It's Maury Dore, working hard (what else is new?) at Edgartown Marine.

Harold Smith, cleaning the town moorings in preparation for winter storage.
A corner of Edgartown's waterfront I haven't laid eyes on since we were kids prowling around down there. To the far right is the Cottage Street public boat landing.
Mr. Tom Haddad sits on this bench every day, reading the newspaper and making friends with passersby (including this roving reporter, today).  I think Mr. Haddad could be the last person on the planet who reads the actual newspaper.  I hope he's got his Handi-wipes with him, because that's a lot of black ink.
I had a great conversation with Tom. - a delight. We discussed many things, including the fact that he is thinking of running for president (president of what? of the United States, of course). I think it's a great idea. I'll vote for him, and not just because he said he'd appoint me to his cabinet. He has some very sound ideas.
Paul Bagnall, our shellfish constable, reports that last year was a good year, but that the coming shellfishing year will be heavy with seed with not so much adult stock.
I can remember when Main Street, as far up as in front of my house and beyond, had these horse-ties in all the curbstones.  They were a novelty to me as a child, as they got my little girl's mind fantasizing back to olden days of horses and buggies. So, if they were already old-fashioned when I was a girl, this thing is a bona-fide relic. This is the last one in town that I know of, located on School Street, near the old Masonic Lodge/Baptist church.


  1. Dear Sara,
    What a wonderful and educational post this was. There are so many things I don't know about Edgartown, evidently, even I have lived here all my life.
    Why didn't you take a picture of St. Elizabeth's Church. I could use one. Guess who, and if you're correct I have a prize for you!

  2. Hi, Liz.

    When do I collect my prize?