2018 Annual Guide: Nantucket
Madaket • Nantucket • Siasconset
How could you not take a lighthouse photo on Nantucket? There are three major lighthouses, including Brant Point, Sankaty Head and Great Point, and any one of them would make for an opportune photo—but why not visit all three? For another iconic view, take a stroll down Easy Street, an appropriately named stretch of road notable for its relaxing nature and quaint harbor view.
Cisco Brewers has it all, embracing the drink triumvirate of being a brewery, distillery and winery. This unique spot features three separate bars, sharing a common courtyard complete with various food trucks. It’s easy to spend all day here, but if you want to see another island staple, the Whaling Museum is the place to go.
Mom & Pops:
Located just a short jaunt from historic Main Street, The Nautilus is a bar and restaurant focused on the dynamic interplay between food and drink. This great spot is owned and operated by three young entrepreneurs, dedicated to combining their separate specialties—food, cocktails and wine—to make The Nautilus a true destination restaurant.
Revel in the power of words with the sixth annual Nantucket Book Festival, hosting many talented authors. Also celebrate the spirit of the island with events like the Big Game Battle, an annual fishing tournament, and the Figawi Regatta, a three-day event including a premier sailboat race across Nantucket Sound and a charity ball.
A day in the life of: Bob Egan, Siasconset native and president emeritus of the Egan Maritime Institute Board of Trustees
By Kristina Atsalis
Nantucket native Bob Egan was born and raised in the fishing village of Siasconset, attended Boston University, and later settled in Pennsylvania, where he opened his own business producing signs in the image of historic ship quarterboards. His family had a motorboat, and Egan estimates they never went farther than a mile offshore. That was the extent of his maritime experience.
Today, he heads a foundation that ensures the next generation of Nantucketers has a more robust maritime background. The Egan Maritime Institute, which Bob Egan took over after his uncle, Albert “Bud” Egan, Jr., passed away in 2000, partners with local schools to offer “Sea of Opportunities,” designed to reconnect young islanders with Nantucket’s maritime identity. With a hands-on maritime curriculum available to students in both middle school and high school, the program teaches students that professions in the modern seafaring industry are diverse, including engineering, construction, aviation and scientific research.
“No one ever told me I could be a sea captain, or oceanographer, or maritime pilot, or an architect of commercial ships,” reflects Egan. “It was just not discussed. I wish a program like the SOO had existed when I was growing up.”
Egan, whose ancestry dates to Nantucket’s earliest settlers, remembers attending a one-room schoolhouse in elementary school, going to church every Sunday in the chapel where his sister was later married, and how he “walked or biked everywhere” growing up on the island. He remembers where he caught his first striper—at Pochick Rip—and how he earned money by cleaning up at his dad’s construction sites. He put himself through college mowing lawns on Nantucket in the summertime.
His uncle Bud founded the Egan Maritime Institute with his wife Dorothy in 1989 with the goal of showcasing Nantucket’s maritime history. While Nantucket has long been known as a whaling port, the Egans wanted to raise awareness of the island’s non-whaling history and traditions as well. Since 2004, the Egan Maritime Institute has run the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum on Polpis Road. As it grew, the Egan Maritime Institute developed as a nonprofit organization that strives to promote conservation of maritime culture, advocate for a clean ocean, and educate the island’s youth.
Egan strongly believes that the greatest wielders of societal influence are educated young people. Broadening its mission, the institute began to explore topics such as rising sea levels, storm surges, global warming and oceanic pollution. It also aimed to show young people the value of maritime careers.
“Historically, being a Nantucket whaler or fisherman meant something in the professional world. It was prestigious,” Egan says. “We began to think: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if the reputation of being a mariner from Nantucket still carried weight in the modern day? What better way to honor a legacy than to keep it alive?’”
Pauline Proch, executive director of the Egan Maritime Institute, has worked with Egan for five years and values him as the most influential advocate for Egan Maritime.
“Part of his influence comes from the family connection, but most of it comes from his belief in the curriculum and his faith in the children,” she says. “From a business side, a mission side, and a vision side, I don’t think many nonprofits are fortunate enough to have a Bob Egan.”
Kristina Atsalis is an editorial intern for Cape Cod Life Publications.
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