Nantucket, MA is an Island away from the everyday. The name was derived from the Indians and means “Far Away Land or In the Midst of the Water”. When you think of Nantucket you may think of a carefree vacation resort community or a place where the jet-setting business crowd hangs out. The population swells in the summer from roughly 10,000 residents to 50,000. The streets are paved with cobblestones in the historic downtown area, anchored by edgy fashion stores, local family owned shops and unique artisan’s wares. Tourists have long viewed Nantucket as the place to be in summer. Neighborhoods like Cisco Beach, Siasconset and Madaket offer vistas of the ocean, roving bike trails and a close proximity to restaurants and shops. If you haven’t discovered Nantucket it’s time you experience the quant charm of this island paradise.
I recently visited and had a chance to experience Nantucket like a native with the help of my college friend Chris who grew up on the island. There are boutiques, hip restaurants, local farms and basket shops. Stop by the Whaling Museum or the Nantucket Lighthouse Basket Museum to learn about the history and customs of the Island. On Saturday’s you can catch a sustainable artisan market complete with local crafts and jewelry items, fresh fruits and vegetables and lavender products in the downtown historic district. You will experience excellent culinary choices, fresh seafood, farm grown produce, cranberry products straight from the bog and thriving shops.
Get an authentic experience at Murray’s Toggery Shop where Nantucket Red clothing is readily available in all shapes and sizes. Browse upscale shops featuring local designers touting handbags and jewelry. Nantucket is known for their Lightship Baskets, woven out of staves with a wood base. The baskets can act as décor pieces or be worn as purses. Originals can be costly but a few places sell some reasonably priced options. There are great places to dine featuring all types of cuisine, don’t miss the lobster rolls, fresh fish and locally caught scallops and clams. Other popular stops include, the Bartlett Farm a staple since the 1800’s, featuring fresh produce, pies, baked goods and seafood products. Check out the Cisco Brewery and Nantucket Vineyard featuring beer, homemade blueberry vodka and wines. The brewery offers live entertainment and tastings.
Bike ride the plentiful paths leading to Cisco Beach or by the many nature preserves. Scooter rentals are popular as well, but beware of crazy drivers. Explore the island’s Historic lighthouses, one on each corner; Great Point, Sankaty and Brant’s Point. Rent a jeep and cruise off –road on the many beach trails where you will see seals, indigenous birds and sea glass washed up on the shore.
Nantucketer’s were originally whalers, although whaling is no longer permitted. The book Moby Dick featured key characters from Nantucket, Ahab and Starbuck. The Museums on island give you a good glimpse into the past. Nantucket has preserved its culture through strict building codes, and land preservation. Grey and blue shingled dwellings topped with whale weathervanes dot the landscape across the entire Island. The temperature is favorable for roses, hydrangeas and other beautiful flowers. At dusk, park along one of the beaches such a Great Point or Madaket and catch a mesmerizing sunset complete with a pallet of colors that only God could create.
Go off season, early September is ideal. You will beat the crowds and the retail deals are amazing. Air lift can be challenging and service slows the later you visit. You can also get there by ferry.
Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.