For a classic American summer: visit Nantucket. This historic island is considered the “finest architectural and environmental example of a 19th Century New England seaport town” for a reason… the cobblestone streets filled with charming shops and restaurants, miles of pristine coastline with unobstructed ocean views, bike paths, hydrangeas, window boxes, sailboats, lighthouses, museums, galleries, ice cream, fudge shops and lobster shacks… what else could you ask for?
Places To Stay
This 45-square mile island is a scenic wonderland. Regardless of where you stay, you’ll experience the lush, preserved landscape and ocean views. The heart of Nantucket is on the western end of the Harbor but key areas around the island include Madaket, Siasconset, and Wauwinet. Staying “in town” offers a multitude of fine inns, hotels, and B & B’s.
In town, 21 Broad is a stunning Victorian with a newly renovated modern interior. Sunny yellow with sitting rooms, a delightful breakfast area, an outdoor patio complete with rocking chairs and luxurious rooms featuring beautiful linens, marble and pebble bathrooms, this sweet inn in the heart of the village, has everything.
For a truly relaxing and luxurious experience, spend a few nights (or more than a few) at the Wauwinet Hotel—a Relais & Chateaux property. The location is breathtaking—the back lawn is filled with white wicker lounge chairs, overlooking the bay and the front entrance leads you down a path for a two minute walk that puts you on the Atlantic Ocean—and guests always enjoy the private beach’s clean, quiet coastline. The incredible service at the Wauwinet provides beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels to make your experience effortless. In addition, the Wauwinet has a spa and one of the best restaurants on the island (Topper’s). For activities, there are bicycles for every guest, and a morning bike ride offers a close-up view of the beautiful shingle houses, farms and cottages along the island. Best of all, the Wauwinet has a shuttle that goes into town every hour and returns on the half hour so there’s no need to rent a car to enjoy every part of Nantucket.
Things To See
Nantucket is a visual explosion of beauty, the cobblestone streets are full of art galleries and shops all housed in beautifully maintained architecturally significant buildings. Walking the streets is a lesson in history and Nantucket tour guides are in abundance.
Nantucket Harbor is one of the prettiest spots on the island filled with glorious yachts, sailboats, restaurants and shops.
The Brant Point Light is a lighthouse that was built in 1746 and still operates today. The setting is so incredibly charming and an evening visit was a true experience. With a blanket and a basket of wine and cheese, we settled in at 7pm to watch the incredible sunset before heading into town for dinner.
The Whaling Museum is also not to be missed. A huge skeleton of a sperm whale floats above the room and the narrated story of the Essex is fantastic—the true inspiration behind Moby Dick.
The Nantucket Atheneum Library is one of the most impressive architectural buildings in Nantucket and a classic example of preservation at its best!
Where To Shop
Shopping in Nantucket is one of the most delightful experiences. Small boutiques scattered throughout the cobblestone streets include fabulous art galleries like the Samuel Owen Gallery and Robert Foster Fine Art and one of the finest antiques destinations anywhere, Sylvia Antiques, the oldest antique shop on the island. At Sylvia’s sister store, Four Winds Craft Guild, you’ll find Nantucket baskets, marine antiques, fine art and rare and unique items.
On the “not to miss” list of shops: Nantucket Looms, known for the handmade throws, artisanal gifts, and weaving studio, carries the works of over 80 local artisans, from paintings to baskets to interior accessories. If you love needlecraft, you’ll want to visit the famous Erica Wilson shop. Considered America’s “First Lady of Stitchery”, Erica has become known to millions through her books and television series. Her shop in Nantucket is the one of the most popular stops on the island since she opened more than 45 year ago.
Places To Eat
One way to enjoy the delights of the harbor is a meal at CRU, a delicious waterfront seafood restaurant at the tip of the harbor. Fresh shrimp, lobster and oysters, along with a fun crowd and cocktails makes this the “not to miss” spot on the island. Watching the ferries arrive makes this the place to sit outdoors and linger a nice evening. In town, there are an array of mouthwatering food options. The Pearl is an award-winning restaurant that features a modern translation of fish and seafood and has become one of Nantucket’s “hottest” restaurants.
For a fun, relaxed breakfast, nothing beats Black Eyed Susan’s whose American fare is delicious—and also offers a BYOB dinner menu that should not be missed. Table Number 1 is the “go to” for wine, cheese and epicurean entertainment. Always check to see which celebrity may be hosting an event when you’re there.
What To Pack
We can’t resist this nautically inspired look, ideal for a breezy late summer day strolling the shops along the harbor.