2017 Life Annual Guide: Nantucket
Madaket, Nantucket, Siasconset
Magnificent and rugged, elegant and expensive, historic and eminently enjoyable: these are just some of the terms that come to mind when considering Nantucket. Located about 27 miles from Hyannis, the island offers a beautiful backdrop for many recreational endeavors to go with a healthy selection of restaurants and cultural venues.
Visitors who arrive on the ferry step off into a vibrant downtown area, complete with original shops and cafes as well as historic roads of cobblestone. Housed in a former 19th century candle factory, the Nantucket Whaling Museum offers details on the island’s fascinating history and exhibits including an impressive whale skeleton, which hangs from the ceiling. For dinner and a movie, Starlight Theatre & Café screens the latest releases and serves flatbreads, burgers, and BLTs. In addition to films, the Dreamland Theater hosts concerts, children’s theater, and other events. Art galleries, boutiques, and gift shops abound in Main Street Square, including Mitchell’s Book Corner, which stocks new releases and local history titles.
If drinks and appetizers are in the cards, Slip 14 is a shipshape selection, known for creative cocktails and salmon tacos. Also, one can enjoy Southern barbecue—that’s ribs, brisket, and cornbread—on the wharf at B-ACK Yard BBQ. For something sweet, stop into Aunt Leah’s Fudge, or sip on a cappuccino at the Handlebar Café.
Perfect for fun in the sun, Nantucket has a number of awesome beaches circling the entire island. On the south side, Cisco and Surfside have great waves for body boarding, while Jetties Beach by Nantucket Harbor has calmer currents and a family friendly vibe. For an adventure, consider cycling along the Milestone or Polpis Road bike paths all the way to Siasconset Beach. En route, stop for a bite at Claudette’s Sandwich Shop in Sconset.
Other island adventures include hiking in the Middle Moors, where one can savor transcendent views from Altar Rock, and taking a sandy ride to the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge and Great Point Light.
Looking for a place to stay?
Service, style, and homemade sweets
A restored c. 1770 house with crisp, classic décor, the Union Street Inn in Nantucket is a chic boutique hotel that’s just a short walk from the ferry. The inn combines maritime themes with French flair: Nautical maps and ships in bottles beautify the library, while a writing desk in the lobby is an interpretation of one used by King Louis XVI.
Each of the 12 guestrooms features cozy Matouk bathrobes and duvets and Frette bed linens, and some of the larger rooms have king and queen four-poster beds and wood-burning fireplaces. A full gourmet breakfast is served each morning with entreés such as eggs Benedict or French toast made with challah bread. During the day guests can snack on homemade white chocolate chip cookies or made-from-scratch carrot cake.
To Ken and Deborah Withrow, who have owned the inn since 1995, providing such niceties is just a part of taking good care of their customers. “Our staff jumps through hoops for our guests,” Ken says. “We love to add value to their stay.”
Union Street Inn
7 Union Street, Nantucket
508-228-9222 • unioninn.com
~Marina Davalos, Ashley Owen