Get Away to Nantucket
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!
The income per capita in Nantucket 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 a ride-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. Groundwater filters down through sand and clay and the clay prevent seawater 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 paid parking available at the docks. The ferry leaves timely so don’t be late. We had reservations for the 11:20 a.m. ferry, but we arrived early enough to take the 9:30 a.m. one 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…
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. In the morning, there’s muffins, coffee and tea in the common area.
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 (the jalapenos – 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.
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. We also decided to take the Nantucket Regional Transit Authority, a.k.a. the WAVE, over to Siasconset, a.k.a., ‘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 for lunch at Claudette’s and after lunch, we swung by the Bartlett’s Farm produce truck in ‘Sconset’ which had amazing stuff!
In the end, since the weather wasn’t cooperating with our outdoor plans, we took the rare opportunity to relax. And after all, aren’t vacations supposed to be relaxing?
*This is an excerpt from the original version.
Tina Vignali is an English as a Second Language adjunct at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus. She writes a monthly travel-themed column for the CommuniCator. You can follow her trips around the block and journeys around the world in her travel blog Traveleidoscope.com. Psst! You can also visit Traveleidoscope on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! And guess what – she’s a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association, too!