Our History

Over Two Centuries of Vineyard Charm

Located in the heart of Edgartown, the Kelley House hotel opened its doors in the year 1742 and has since been celebrated as one of the oldest hotels in America.  The town of Edgartown has been known throughout the ages as a colonial settlement, whaling community, and an elegant vacation destination.  The Kelley House hotel encompasses a long line of tradition and stands as one of the premier historic hotels in all of New England. 

It wasn’t until 1891 that the late Mrs. Elizabeth A. Kelley and her husband, William Kelley, famous teller of tall stories, re-opened the hotel and called it the Seaview House, later renamed the Kelley House.  The Kelley House began a legendary period in which the hospitality of the house reflected not only Mrs. Kelley’s capable management but her husband’s rare personality.  It was the Kelley House that judges, statesmen, generals and other famous personages enjoyed a rare atmosphere and listened to the stories of Bill Kelley. After Mr. Kelley’s death in 1907, Mrs. Kelley continued to operate the hotel with great success until her death in 1935. 

In 1936, Richard L. Colter, Mrs. Kelley’s nephew took over as proprietor of the hotel and renamed it the Great Harbour Inn to mimic the first name of the town of Edgartown.

The filming of the movie Jaws took place June of 1975 on Martha's Vineyard.  The Kelley House was able to provide lodging for many of the cast and crew.