Nantucket. The name makes you think of grey shingled cottages with white trim and overflowing flower boxes. I’ve visited a number of times over the years, and it’s always just as beautiful. While Nantucket is a great day trip, it's also a great weekend trip and I recently returned for a quick getaway. Here’s where we stayed and what we did!
If you’re not familiar with Nantucket, here are some quick facts:
It’s the boomerang shaped island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It’s 14 miles (20 Km) long and 3 - 5 miles (2-3 Km) wide.
The year round population is around 11,000, but during the summer, the population swells to somewhere between 50,000-60,000!
It’s income per capita is the highest in Massachusetts. Good thing, because real estate, is well, pricey. The least expensive property we saw for sale, in the windows of some realtors, was hovering around $1 million! Yikes!
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) airport code for Nantucket is ACK, so you see stickers everywhere with ACK and stores even incorporate ACK into their names, like tACKzee (the Nantucket version of ride a hailing service app). We didn’t use it, but I thought it was a pretty great name.
It was once the whaling capital of the world.
Nantucket’s nickname is “the grey lady” because It's rainy and foggy for most of March on Nantucket. P.S.: It’s apparently rainy and foggy in August, too!
Super Cool ACK Fact: According to its government website, "Nantucket has its own source of fresh drinking water created 12,000-10,000 years ago by a glacier. Water is drawn from an aquifer that sits below the island. Ground water filters down through sand and clay. The clay prevents sea water from invading the “lens.” But most importantly, Nantucket does not add chlorine or any other additives to the water supply.”
So where’d the name Nantucket come from?
Probably from a derivation of a Wampanoag (an Eastern Algonquin Native American language in New England) word meaning “far away island” , natocke, nantaticu, nantican, nautica or natockete.
How’d we get there?
Via the hour long high speed ferry ride from Hyannis on Hy-Line Cruises. If you intend to leave your car in Hyannis like we did, there’s parking available at the docks (but you’re going to pay…$25/day). The ferry leaves timely so don’t be late. We had reservations for the 11:20 am ferry, but we arrived early enough to take the 9:30 am ferry and HyLine is pretty lenient about changing your ferry reservations (at no charge) as long as there’s room.
When you’re ready to board, take your bags to the luggage carriers (ALL bags get checked except backpacks, purses, etc), and the person taking your luggage lets you know what carrier your luggage will be on. Our luggage was on carrier 92 on the way over. Once you arrive on Nantucket, just look for your carrier and try to make your way through the free-for-all to retrieve your bags (think airport baggage claim only worse).
Seasick warning: The ferry has stabilizers, so even though the water was rough that day, no normal person should get seasick. That said, I am not a normal person (as it relates to getting seasick anyway). And while I wasn’t chumming over the side, I was running to get off the ferry once we docked in Nantucket. Where were my seasick patches? In my checked bag, of course...
As we rounded the light house at Brant Point, we noticed really beautiful wooden sailing ships heading out to sea and a crowd at the beach at Brant Point. We later found out later that we had arrived on Nantucket during RaceWeek and that the ships we saw were part of the Opera House Cup Regatta for wooden sailboats.
Where’d we stay?
Well, where we’ve stayed every time we’ve visited – at the Brant Point Inn. It’s a cozy little B&B in the Brant Point section of the island. It’s just a short 10-minute walk from the high speed ferry dock at Straight Wharf. Thea, a native islander, has been the owner for as long as we’ve stayed. And as always, it was wonderful. The room was adorable with exposed rafters and a painted brass bed. While the bathroom was a bit, uh, cozy, you could at least turn around in the shower. In the morning, there's muffins, coffee, tea and from 7:30 am to 9:30 am, but we opted to treat ourselves to breakfast out, since we rarely get to do so at home.
Where’d we eat?
There are tons and tons of places to eat on Nantucket, so you can’t go too wrong. Of course, some meals were better than others, but the food is generally delicious. Be advised – Nantucket is not a budget destination! It’s not uncommon for breakfasts and lunches to run between $40-$50 and dinners well over $100 – for two people! If you’re coming from a big city, those prices aren't too shocking, but if you’re coming from a smaller town, you might need a drink after you see the bill for your meal!
Some of the places we really liked for dinner were:
Sea Grille: We started with fried calamari with pickled, fried jalapenos (thejalapenos - OMG). For my main course, I had a roasted beet salad with goat cheese (YUM!) and Hubby had swordfish. We also split a side of potato gratin. Sea Grille is a bit out of town. It’s probably a 10 minute car ride from our B&B in Brant Point, but we walked the 30 minutes each way. Good thing – we were stuffed!
Nantucket Prime: I had monkfish with crispy seaweed. Possibly the best monkfish I’ve had in a long time. Hubby had the flatiron steak with veggies. For dessert, I had the key lime pie and Hubby had the chocolate torte. We didn’t realize how enormous the desserts were. One would have been enough for the two of us, but we took one for the team and finished both desserts. We circled Town several times to work it off! FYI – seating is all outside, but there are umbrellas and other covers as well as heaters.
Oh yeah, and we ate lots of ice cream, too. Once at Jack & Charlie’s Ice Cream and once at Stars - both on Straight Wharf (and the day we were leaving Nantucket, we noticed a sign at the Hy-Line ticket office that said 20% discount at Stars if you show your same day boarding pass…)
Now, you know I don’t have any photos of our meals because as always, we were busy eating and not picture taking…
What’d we do?
In keeping with our recent trips, it rained. It wasn’t a total washout, but the rain was frequent enough that we decided to forego kayaking and cycling, so we ate.. a lot (see above). We also decided to take the Nantucket Regional Transit Authority, aka the WAVE, over to to Siasconset, aka, ‘Sconset. The WAVE is a convenient way to get around the island if you don’t have a car. Anyway, we walked around and had delicious sandwiches at Claudette’s. Food pics? Nope. After lunch, we swung by the Bartlett's Farm produce truck in 'Sconset which had amazing stuff!
And, while, I'm not a shopper, I had to do some. I needed to buy a pair of running shoes or sneakers since we got caught in a unexpected and ridiculous rain storm in Providence, Rhode Island (an upcoming post). My running shoes got so soaked that they made a squishing sound ! All I had left was sandals which were dressier and not very good for walking on the cobbles of Nantucket (plus, it was chilly)!
Since the weather wasn’t cooperating with our outdoor plans, we took the rare opportunity to relax. We could have found things to do in the local weekly paper This Week on Nantucket, but frankly, we were just too lazy to rethink our plans - like go to the movies to see the premiere of "Wetware", a movie that was recently filmed on Nantucket, or visit one of the island’s museums. After all, aren’t vacations supposed to be relaxing?
Have you been to Nantucket? Where'd you stay and what'd you do? I'd love to hear about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope's comment section!