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Visiting Nantucket, Massachusetts: The Hot Spots
Nantucket is not only an island, but a county and city. It is located 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The island is one of the top summer destinations for the rich and famous. Many celebrities have summer homes on the island, including Katie Couric, Kathie Lee Gifford, Joe Biden and Bill Belichick. The island is an expensive place to visit, but staying during the off season or just visiting for the day can make the island a possibility. The months of June, July and August are peak season. The island is beautiful during the spring and fall, but it much less populated. There are many discounts on lodging. If you are visiting Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod or even Boston consider a day trip to Nantucket.
When I visited Nantucket with my family we flew in to the Nantucket Memorial Airport from JFK Airport in NYC. The airport is an attraction on its own. The 1990s NBC series Wings took place on Nantucket and in the airport. The exterior shots where taken on the island. The ferry looked like a great way arrive on the island. Remember water and air are the only ways to access the island. You can bring your car on the ferry.
We stayed aboard my grandparent's boat at the Nantucket Boat Basin. It was beautiful. I did check out some of the hotels on the island and these were my favorites. I hope hope I get to stay at a few of them in the future.
Located near South Wharf and the Boat Basin:
- The White Elephant
- The Nantucket Hotel and Resort
- Brant Point Inn/Atlantic Mainstay
- The Beachside At Nantucket
- The Chapman House/The Veranda House
- 76 Main- A Boutique Hotel
- The Summer House- India Street
Located near Siasconset:
- The Summer House
Located near Jetties Beach:
- Cliffside Beach Club
There are also cottages and timeshares for rent on the island.
There are car rental services on the island. Bike rentals are also available. The WAVE aka Nantucket Regional Transit Authority is a great way to get around the island. The different areas of the island are walk able once you get there. The large nature preserves separate the different tourist areas.
The dining on Nantucket is fantastic! It was only able to dine at 4 locations, but I will also list a few of the ones I hope to visit in the future.
- The RopeWalk*- I would give my favorites here, but I have checked and learned that they have closed and a new restaurant is in this location. If anyone visits please let me know if is any good.
- The Lobster Trap*- They are only open for dinner hours.This place is all about the lobster, but there other good is good too. Great scallops and if you like your seafood fried the seafood combo is the way to go.
- Nantucket Ice Cream & Juice Guys*- The ice cream here is to die for! I had a cone and loved it. They also have smoothies and homemade baked goods.
- Club Car- They have a light lunch menu offering a few sandwiches and soup, but dinner is the big draw here. They food sounds fantastic and the reviews are amazing. If you can't do a full meal at least go to the bar that is in a real train club car and have a drink.
- Rose & Crown- The food here is seafood with pub food. The burgers look amazing. This is also one of the only nightclubs on the island that is open year round. They have nightly entertainment.
- The Summer House: The Beachside Bistro*- We visited for lunch. I had the Traditional New England Lobster Roll. It was amazing. Baja Fish Tacos, Cubano Sandwich and their sweet potato fries were enjoyed at my table. The food here is some of the best on the island and the view is beyond words. It is such a beautiful location.
- Sconset Cafe- They are seasonal at this location. The hours are 8-3 for brunch and dinner for 6-10. The food on their website are looks fantastic and the full menu is listed with pictures. Make sure to check it out.
- The Chanticleer-This is a higher end dining experience. Jackets are requested for men and reservation are recommended. This is not a place to bring children. This is another seasonal location open from May through October for lunch and dinner. The food is modern french with a twist of New England. There are a few menu items listed on their website.
* Indicate the places I have personally visited.
The shopping on the island is only rivaled by the shopping of Manhattan, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills. To visit all the shops could take the whole day. I shopped a great deal during my visit. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Blue Beetle- If you are looking for something personal to cherish this is the place. They have monogrammed jewelry, home accents, Nantucket gifts, personalized gifts and more. Ladies, you will love this place.
- Nantucket Looms- This is a wonderful place to find a beautiful gift. They have many products made on the island including throws, baby blankets, table clothes and scarves. They also have antiques and other items for the home and garden.
- Mitchell's Book Corner- This is the perfect small town book store in a historic building with all the right touches. They have a room dedicated to books about Nantucket. So if you are looking for something to read while you visit or take home to share with friends and family this is the place to do it. I recommend any books by local author, Elin Hilderbrand. Her fiction books take place on the island and might even tell you more special places on the island.
- The Sunken Ship- This has been an island hit since 1975! They have every t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, flag, sticker and kids item with Nantucket themes you could imagine. This place is perfect for guys and kids to find their perfect souvenir. I really could have purchased a great deal more here than I could afford. Their items rock!
- Murray's Toggery Shop- This has been an island shopping hot spot since they opened up in 1945. If you want to look like a Nantucket local or at least a summer home owner this is the place to shop. They carry men's, women's and children's clothing. They have two exclusive lines carrying the Nantucket Reds and their own line of men's sportswear.
- Cold Noses- This is the perfect shopping stop for pet owners. This cute boutique has wonderful gifts for all the 4 legged members of the family. They carry Nantucket themed leashes, collars and other accessories that make wonderful gifts. They also have human gifts too.
- The Best of the Beach- This is one of the best shops on the island. It has wonderful home décor items with Nantucket and beach themes. They have clothes and accessories too. If you love all things beautiful this is the place to visit.
Historical Attractions And Tours
The historical attractions are a wonderful way to learn more about the island. The history is a large part of the island's charm. Visiting these places will also bring you closer to the local's and their culture. They include the 3 amazing lighthouses on the island.
The lighthouses are:
- Brant Point Lighthouse is located by the Nantucket Harbor. This one is the most popular. It can be seen easily during your visit.
- Sankaty Head Lighthouse is located on the eastern shore of the island. This can been visited easily when taking one of the island tours or a drive out on your own.
- Great Point Lighthouse is the hard one to see. It is located on the northeast tip of the island. If you are a very good hiker you can reach the lighthouse in 7 mile trip through sand 1 way. (Remember you have to be able to make it back.) You can reach the lighthouse by car, but it must be 4 wheel drive and a Coature Wildlife Reserve sticker is required. It costs $140 per season.
The museums are:
- Nantucket Shipwreck And Lifesaving Museum- The museum is open from May to October and is located about 3.5 miles from town. It can be reached using the WAVE bus system. There are guided tours included in admission. The history includes famous shipwrecks, rescues and Nantucket lifesaving measures.
- The Nantucket Whaling Museum- The museum's hours very based on the season so please check the website before visiting. This a historic spot you can visit with just a quick walk from the harbor.The museum displays include: a sperm whale skeleton, a restored 1847 candle factory, decorative arts, lightship baskets, paintings and Nantucket historical items.
The historical sites include:
- Firehouse Cart House
- The Oldest House
- The Old Mill
- Greater Light
- Quaker Meeting House
- The Old Gaol
All of these historical sites are located throughout the island. Some are close to town, but others are farther out. All of the information needed for these sites are found on the Nantucket Historical Association's website.
The TOURS include:
- Gail's Tours
- Ara's Tours
- Raven's Walking Tour
- There are also walking tours available through the Nantucket Historical Association.
There are 7 different bike tours available from http://www.nantucketbybike.com. They are from 3 miles to 17 miles in length.
An Amazing Place
This was one of the best vacations of my life. I will cherish every memory of this island. It is a beautiful, interesting and life changing place. I hope some day I have the chance to go back and see everything I missed and even see some of the places again. I think this is one of those places on earth that you have to visit many times or have an extremely long vacation to see completely. I hope this helped you learn about this amazing place and that many of you will be visiting.