Summer on Nantucket
Off the coast of Cape Cod, MA by ferryboat is quintessential, Nantucket! It’s New England charm, consisting of manicured hedges, cobble-stone streets, shingled rooftops, ship lapped rooms and nautical-themed decor is what brings me back to the Island every Summer.
While Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the Summer season with vacationers and seasonal residents flocking to the Island, sailors will also make their way to the Island to participate in the much anticipated, Figawi Race. Recognized as the liveliest weekend of the year on Nantucket, 240+ boats will participate in the regatta racing from Hyannis to Nantucket Island.
Though I feel very fortunate to have a home on the island, I wanted to encourage you to visit this Summer, as it’s quite possibly one of my favorite places to be in the world!
Since it’s roughly an 8-hour drive from Manhattan, I would opt for a direct flight which will take only an hour. When booking a place to stay, I would suggest the Historic Nantucket Hotel, Jared Coffin House or the iconic, White Elephant, which boasts harbor views.
Start off your day at The Downyflake for warm delicious donuts, pastries and fluffy blueberry pancakes. This is one of my favorite places to take my Grandchildren. If you’re hungry for a heartier breakfast, Fog Island Cafe is another great option.
Situated in the heart of town along Main, Federal and Centre Streets are some of the finest shops. Whether you’re looking for clothes, antiques or souvenirs, this is where you’ll find them! My advice – stop by Sylvia Antiques for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for your home.
Anyone that has been to my home can tell you I’m an avid collector of Sailor’s Valentines and the famous Nantucket Lightship Baskets, which look like woven picnic baskets made of rattan. The baskets can be found at nearly every shop along main street, however my favorite sources include: Nap Plank (12 Daves Street) and Michael Kane Lightship Baskets. Most of my own personal collection is from Michael’s store. Not only is the workmanship extraordinary, but Michael and his family are wonderful! And if you’re more of a jewelry person, they also weave beautiful jewelry that similarly resembles the baskets!
Just North of Centre Street is Broad Street, where you’ll be sure to find the best homemade ice cream on the island at The Juice Bar. Usually on the first day and the last day of my arrival to Nantucket, I indulge in a waffle-cup hot-fudge sundae. It’s probably something like 4,000 calories, but it’s beyond delicious and worth every one! As a side note, plan to stand in line for about a city block. Don’t worry, the line goes quickly and there’s a tremendous amount of camaraderie in line, as everyone is happy and anxious to indulge in their favorite sweet treat.
Strolling down to the harbor’s edge, you’ll find quaint historic homes with window boxes filled with flowers and flags for Memorial Day. The scent is intoxicating!
Nantucket homes are privy to the nautical theme, but considering the patriotic occasion, you’ll be seeing a lot of red – white – and blue.
If you like seafood, you won’t be disappointed ordering a lobster salad sandwich from Something Natural. Known for having freshly baked bread and award- winning cookies, you’ll be sure to enjoy this local favorite. If you’re near the Hyannis-Nantucket Ferry or the Whaling Museum, Provisions is another great spot for delicious sandwiches and salads. However, one of my customary pleasures is heading down to the wharf and eating fried clam strips, calamari and the most divine clam chowder at The Tavern. Don’t forget the French fries too! You’ll be in food heaven!
On the other side of the island is Bartlett’s Farm. Take a tour of the farm and pick your own fresh produce and flowers. Afterwards, dine in their cafe, where you can delight in clam chowder, lobster rolls, or a steamed lobster.
There are tons of beaches on Nantucket, so depending on your age and interests, there’s a sandy spot for everyone to enjoy! Brant Point is great for watching boats come in and out of the harbor and Jetties Beach, Children’s Beach and Surf Side are family-friendly options.
Since it is a working-Summer, I often spend most of my days with my lovely Nantucket clients. I do try to make time for the beach by late afternoon when most of the crowds are gone though. I love to close my eyes in the beach chair, listen to the crashing of the waves and the sounds of the seagulls, all while enjoying the scent of the sea air. This is what I call, “heaven scent!”
After your full day on the Island, wind down at sunset for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – American Seasons and Le Languedoc Inn & Bistro. My Son on the other hand raves about the Peking Duck at The Nautilus. You can’t go wrong with either of these restaurants!
If you do visit Nantucket, I wish you all the joy I feel when I’m on the island surround by the sea and fresh air. The island always inspires my decorating and I feel revived when I return to NYC upon Summer’s end. I hope it invigorates you as well!
Please let me know if you used any of my suggestions in the comments section below! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite places to dine and explore on Nantucket as well!