Oh, Nantucket. The quaintest, most loveable, little island.
You step off the ferry or your Cape Air toy plane, and you’re instantly transformed into a world of outdoor, feel-good, kick-back relaxation. Or at least, that’s what happened to me.
Each morning, I walked or biked into town, marveling at the historical houses and perfectly manicured cobblestone streets, and picked up my morning coffee at The Bean (where I spotted Drew Barrymore). Then I headed over to Black-Eyed Susan’s (if wanting a heavier meal) or The Lemon Press (if going lighter with an acai bowl or avocado toast) for a yum breakfast. I’d lollygag on the walk home, taking my time to admire the quarterboards that adorn people’s houses — a Nantucket tradition of naming your home.
Then the world was my oyster — bike 20 miles to the adorable town of Sconset? Run to Brant Point Lighthouse? Kayak to Coatue? Enjoy a beer at Cisco Brewery? Sun bathe at Steps Beach? Take a tour at the Whaling Museum? Visit the Oldest House? Devour quesadillas at Madaket Millie’s?
I did all of those things — multiple times – and more.
The island beckons you to see her, whether by foot, bike, or boat. Sure, you can go by car too, but with a landscape so rife with outdoor adventures, I’m not sure why you would want to. Unless, of course, you are heading out to Great Point Lighthouse. Then you need to have a sturdy four-wheel-drive car to traverse the sand dunes.
After a couple of days, I was fully immersed in island time. No cares. No worries. No place I had to be. Except to soak in the sun, eat delicious meals, and choose from a hundred-and-one outdoor adventures or historical activities.
Verdict: I think I left my heart in Nantucket. A terrible calamity. I guess that means I’ll have to go back and find it. Sigh…
The Wauwinet: I took a boat ride to this historic hotel and docked for a drink in their tucked away garden patio. Even if you don’t stay here, it is a place to see. Brimming with sophistication and history, it sits along a beautiful waterfront with private beaches and views of the Great Point Lighthouse.
The Cottages & Lofts: my boyfriend, a long-time seasonal resident, told me this was his pick for visitors staying in Nantucket. It’s located right on the water in the harbor near historic downtown, so you wake up to sailboats and sunshine. And you’re within steps of the cutest pedestrian-only shopping lane, lined with art galleries, marine-inspired shops, a grocery store, and restaurants.
The Nantucket Hotel: I had breakfast at this fabulous spot and fell in love with its modern, nautical motif. The colors are bright, cheery, and clean, with two swimming pools (one for adults only that has a hot tub!) and a spa and fitness facility. Tip: ask the front desk lobby if you can push the button for the mechanical whale. Enjoy!
Straight Wharf Restaurant: this was hands-down my favorite meal on the island. The food was so superb, we went back twice! I think I had dreams about the roasted baby carrots and wood-grilled sirloin. Get dressed up and go out with a bang on your final night with a scrumptious dinner in this beautiful establishment.
The Proprietors: I had an excellent dinner at The Proprietors with its warm ambiance — that of an old Nantucket home with a nod to sailors returning back from sea — and its unique take on dishes. Who knew that broccoli could be your favorite part of the meal? But the way Chef Tom Berry served it up with a sweet teriyaki sauce topped with fried onions, you’ll want to shovel this veggie into your mouth and ask for seconds. Unfortunately, Tom recently left Proprietors for a new venture in Boston, so I’m curious what the next chef will bring to the menu.
Black-Eyed Susan’s: you’ve got to try this dive for at least one of your meals while on Nantucket. I suggest going for breakfast and ordering one of the scrambles or the sourdough french toast. Warning: it can get hot and stuffy inside, so order an iced coffee at The Bean while you wait to be seated.
Something Natural: the bread here is amazing. I need to find a way to export their herb rolls to San Francisco before I go into withdrawal. This family-friendly eatery has a huge picnic-area, so you can order your sandwiches, salads, and cookies and lounge outside while the kiddos play in the marooned boat on the lawn.
Millie’s: Oh holy yumminess! Plan a day of biking out to Madaket, and make a pit-stop for lunch at Millie’s for some baja-inspired cuisine. You won’t be disappointed. The Bartlett Farms Quesadilla is packed with local, fresh veggies and popping with gooey, cheesy flavor. Consider it Mexican-food approved from this California girl. Seriously, put it on your must-eat list.
The Galley Beach Bar: for those wanting a little swank with their sunset view, head over to The Galley Beach Bar, where chic people in popped collars and summer dresses sip cocktails in lounge-y outdoor spaces. Nestle yourself into a rattan chair in the sand or gather around a fire pit as you watch the sun paint the sky orange and red.
Jettie’s: for a more laid-back beach vibe, grab a sunset drink at Jettie’s, just a walk down the beach from The Galley. This place is more my speed, with a guy on a guitar belting out the best of classic rock, and folks in flip-flops and jeans cheers-ing a beer over burgers.
The Club Car: the history of this tiny nook of a bar dates back to the 1800’s, when Nantucket had its own railroad. When the train tracks were dismantled during World War 1, the Pullman Coach was transformed into a a little diner. You can still enjoy food, drinks, and live piano inside this cozy train car, located in downtown Nantucket. Caveat: I only walked by and peeked my head in, but it’s on my list for my next visit!