Of all the sailing destinations so far in the Northeast, Nantucket exceeded my expectations. My preconceived notions of what I knew about Nantucket, Massachusetts, were largely based on summer novels and movies set in this iconic place. The actual experience I had with Nantucket was so much better!
The island was charming and bustling during this high season of mid-August. We watched ferries come and go, moving visitors in and out. We had a front and center view from our mooring in the harbor, adjacent to the superyacht berths. It was a grey day when we arrived, so I don't have any photos.
Cycling trails of history and culture
Our early-morning, 24-nautical-mile crossing from Hyannis to Nantucket, or rather our motor across, was mundane with very little wind. We arrived in the harbor early in the day, ready to go ashore.
We took our bikes via the launch (water taxi) to get out to Sankaty Headlight and back before dark. Nantucket has an amazing bike trail system throughout the island, which is fairly flat. And, you can load your bike on the front of a bus whenever you’ve had enough of the trails.
We biked a good 10 miles to the lighthouse, which is right on the Atlantic, walked the grounds and read about its history. I find lighthouses fascinating. But more importantly, I think about and greatly revere the heroes who operated the lights, and I enjoy reading their stories. The lights helped ships to safety and were the only navigational aids back in the early days. Sankaty Headlight did not disappoint.
Little detours and friendly encounters
The sun was sinking fast, so we planned to ride the bus back to the harbor. While waiting, we stopped in the tiny town square of Siasconset. We walked through the little market where ice cream and treats were plentiful. We passed darling beach cottages that looked just like you’d expect — grey weathered shingles, white trim, crushed oyster shell driveways, and beautiful, freshly planted window boxes and flower gardens. Here are a few of my favorites:
On our bus ride back to town, a kind local woman helped us with the bus route map and gave us restaurant recommendations. She was heading downtown to watch her daughter in the local theater production that night. We bonded over our shared family connections with theatre — our own daughter is a children's theater director. We decided that next time we come to the island, we'll get ticket reservations just as the locals do.
Boat chores, lucky dining, and the Froemke Family
Our second day began with winch repair, a grocery trip, and laundry. Doing laundry has been interesting. We aren’t able to use our washing machine until we get full solar power onboard, which we have planned with our electrical upgrade in early October. In the meantime, we usually walk to the laundromat.
Later that evening, we treated ourselves to a walk through town and nice dinner ashore. We had such favor here because our restaurant experience downtown was completely unconventional. The first restaurant we visited, Nantucket Prime, had a cancellation right before we requested a table from the host, and we got right in.
On the next night, we snagged the last seats at the bar at Nautilus. We enjoyed an Asian fusion meal that blew our minds, and the atmosphere was so entertaining. They specialize in creative cocktails. We had fun watching them create unique masterpieces right in front of us and sampling the most interesting ones.
Our evening ended on a wonderful note. We enjoyed ice cream with the Froemke Family before they departed by ferry the next morning. See our previous adventures together, here.
We spent our last day on the island on a long bike ride to Madaket Beach that ended at Jetties Beach. What a great way to end our time in this special place. We'll let the photos speak for themselves, but let me just say: the $1 Raw Oysters, live music, and colorful beach setting were to die for!
Nantucket...we'll surely be back!
Read on to follow us to Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole as we head north to the Cape Cod Canal...