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American classic summer at Edgartown’s Harbor View Hotel

The town of Edgartown has been one of the nation’s most prominent summer resorts, thanks in part to the Harbor View Hotel, a rambling Victorian shingle-style hotel originally built in 1891.
The town of Edgartown has been one of the nation’s most prominent summer resorts, thanks in part to the Harbor View Hotel, a rambling Victorian shingle-style hotel originally built in 1891.
© Harbor View Hotel

Few locales are more associated with the classic American summer than Cape Cod and the Islands. Long before Jaws was filmed on Martha's Vineyard, the town of Edgartown was one of the nation’s most prominent summer resorts, thanks in part to the Harbor View Hotel, a rambling Victorian shingle-style hotel originally built in 1891.

Long before Jaws was filmed on Martha's Vineyard, the town of Edgartown was one of the nation’s most prominent summer resorts.
© Harbor View Hotel

The “Grande Dame” of Vineyard hotels, the Harbor View benefits from a privileged location in the exclusive Starbuck’s Neck neighborhood of Edgartown, with breathtaking views of the harbor and the town’s iconic white lighthouse and vistas across the water to the island of Chappaquiddick (known as “Chappy” to the locals).

Edgartown has long had an easy relationship with wealth – and Water Street, the Harbor View’s acclaimed restaurant, reflects the gracious elegance that marked the pinnacle of American WASP culture, which was once so pervasive along the Eastern seaboard.

Running the length of the Harbor View’s deep front porch (which could very well serve as the locale for the next Tommy Hilfiger ad campaign), Water Street’s pristine white dining room with nautical touches recalls an era of country club service in yacht club surroundings.

As anyone who has biked or driven around the island knows, the Vineyard is a haven of homegrown produce and line-caught fish. What makes Water Street particularly remarkable as a summer resort restaurant is Executive Chef Nathan Gould, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University who interned at the Food Network alongside chefs Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, and Sarah Moulton. The erstwhile executive sous chef complemented his culinary studies with wine training at the German Wine and Sommelier School of Koblenz.

Gould focuses on what he terms “Vineyard Harvest” cuisine, which emphasizes the bounty of local produce and purveyors, as well as day boat seafood from local fishermen, to create a menu that is emblematic of what most people cherish about an American summer.

Which makes the Harbor View Hotel’s established, well-heeled clientele as happy as those gourmands who seek out Water Street for the latest interpretation of classic New England cuisine.