History & Culture
Given its coastal location, it should come as no surprise that the sea plays a massive factor in Sag Harbor’s history. In particular, the village became the capital of the nascent nation’s whaling industry, attaining a status so revered it garnered multiple mentions in “Moby Dick.” Echoes of that past remain, in one sense with the so-called Old Whaler’s Church and in a way more literal sense with the local Whaling Museum. In general, Sag Harbor became the port du jour in 1789 when Congress declared it the official port of entry into the U.S., the first stop for any vessel entering the country. Such a distinction enabled the area to emerge as a hotbed of social vitality where all kinds of people—sailors, merchants, artists—freely mixed. But even though the last whaling ship set sail centuries ago, Sag Harbor remains a bustling hub of activity today.