There is something special about being on a boat in the water, but add some of your family and friends, and it turns into an extra-special time together! I was so happy to have the chance to sail the Nantucket Harbor on the cutest boat called the Minke. Minke is owned by the Perkins Family of Shearwater Excursions. This easy-going boat party turned out to be such a collaborative effort, and I can’t wait to show you what was created for the fun cruise around the harbor!
The first thing I noticed about the Minke was its red and white stripe top- she is a beautiful boat that is perfect for a small group or a big celebration! I was thrilled to work with Rachael of Shearwater Excursions to arrange a beautiful night on the water in Nantucket Harbor. Our family friends, Lance, David and Thomas, joined us on the sunset cruise. Our cruise was scheduled for an hour and a half, and it started at 6:00 p.m. Knowing that we would all be hungry, Lance and I set out to find appetizers that would be perfect to serve on a boat. We decided on a charcuterie board so that it would cater to a variety of tastes with different cheeses, meats, fruits, veggies, breads, and crackers.
The boat is named Minke after the owners’ favorite whale that they see on their trips with their company, Shearwater Excursions.
Because Nantucket history centers on whaling and because of the name of the boat, I really wanted to make the charcuterie appetizer in the shape of a whale.
To make the whale shape, I first outlined a whale shape on a piece of paper and cut out the shape. Next, I placed the paper shape on a wooden cutting board (or you can use a platter of your choice). I put cream cheese in a Ziploc bag and let it soften a little bit. When the cream cheese is soft enough to squeeze from the bag, snip a small hole in a bottom corner of the bag. Squeeze the cream cheese from the bag as you would frosting from a frosting bag. Outline the whale shape around the paper and then remove the paper from the board before adding the food to the whale shape. Next, Lance and I used blueberries to define the shape of the whale by placing them in the cream cheese. We ended up with two rows of blueberries around the entire whale shape. The next step was to fill in the whale shape with crackers, cheese, sliced meat, fruits, and vegetables. Lance is really great at making charcuterie boards, and he says the trick is to group like items together. Make it visually appealing by stacking the items in interesting ways. Lance worked his magic on placing everything just so. We added fresh herbs to different places around the board- and we used 2 small bowls to mimic the eye and the spout.
I placed a customized wooden fork in the center of the tray for easy pick up and had several others on hand, when needed. The forks were made by When I Was Your Age on Etsy and were purchased in town at the shop named ACK 4170 (those letters and numbers represent the airport call letters and longitude/latitude of Nantucket.) The cups, straws, and plates were also from the same talented ladies- the plates were boat shaped trays and they all had the pattern with red and white stripes. And, the flowers were straight from the yard! David so kindly cut and arranged the hydrangeas. The different colors of the blooms are so gorgeous- I love them mixed in the same arrangement.
I can’t tell you how much I love the Nantucket Basket ice bucket that Maizie Clarke sent me while I was on Nantucket. It is so beautifully hand painted and mimics the weave of a basket so perfectly. The ice bucket is made of porcelain with a woven handle. The top is also a perfect match to a Nantucket Basket. It is so well done by Maizie! We debated on using it for ice or fruit, but, as you can see, we used it as a vase to hold the beautiful hydrangeas. I will link you to the ice bucket here so that you can have one, too (also-the last time I looked, it was on sale!)!! Before we climbed aboard the Minke, I snapped a few photos of the flowers and bucket on the Straight Wharf dock…
And, that fantastic bar towel is also by Maizie Clarke! Maizie hand-draws each piece of art and then creates beautiful items for your home. I really love being able to use these towels in our kitchen, and I am so grateful to Maizie for such a thoughtful gift. I will enjoy these for years to come!
And, I am really loving the cake stand that Lance picked up at the Hospital Thrift Shop (all proceeds go to the Nantucket Cottage Hospital) on Nantucket. I learned the hard way that if you see something that you like, you better grab it quickly! I am glad that Lance snagged this beautiful pink, blue, white, and gold piece as his souvenir from his trip. I may have to ask to borrow it sometime! 🙂
The gorgeous cake is from 45 Surfside Bakery and Cafe on Nantucket…they were so kind to create a cake with daisies to mimic another island favorite. Daisies grow wild around the island- I have always loved them lining the bike paths- and so we had a beautifully decorated white cake with fondant daisies and more blueberries!
After Captain John invited us all onto the boat, he set sail around the Nantucket Harbor and gave us a narrated tour of the different landmarks and boats. It was so fun to hear his stories and interesting facts- he was a great host and captain!
To go with our cheese/ charcuterie board, we brought along some Prosecco, juices, and waters. We were treated to these fabulous MINKE acrylic wine tumblers from The Preppy Stitch!
The Preppy Stitch is owned by Gabrielle Rogers- she and I met at The Southern C Summit in Sea Island this past February. It was so surprising to find that we had a Nantucket connection! I was thrilled to get to see Gabrielle while we were both on the island- and so excited to know that Gabi could whip up these customized glasses for us just for our harbor cruise! I love how they turned out with the shape of the island and the name of the boat! We gifted a set to the Minke, so be sure to look for them if you charter a cruise on this adorable boat!
Lance and David enjoying a little wine and charcuterie while Captain John guides us around the Harbor…
The views from the boat are so beautiful – it is fun to be up-close to the yachts and sailboats that are docked and moored in the Nantucket Harbor. It is also so relaxing and calming to just enjoy the breeze along with friends, family, and food!
We chose the Sunset Cruise for our adventure around the harbor, but Shearwater Excursions has many options to suit different interests.
When you book with Shearwater, you can choose from a variety of options to help you see and experience Nantucket from the water.
Nantucket Harbor Cruise Options
For the younger crew…I would suggest the ice cream cruise or the children’s fishing cruise. For the ice cream cruise, Shearwater provides the ice cream and offers a narrated tour of the Nantucket Harbor. My daughter has already said that is the one she wants to do next year. 🙂 . Such a perfect way to let the kids enjoy a fun boating trip! The cruise lasts 1 1/2 hours.
If you are interested in seeing whales, Shearwater Excursions offers a Whale Watching trip- it is a 6-hour-excursion with the most breathtaking sightings (the whale sightings are guaranteed)!
A Seal Excursion is another fabulous option- it is also an eco-tour and so you learn so much about the ecos of Nantucket. You see many, many seals on this tour.
A Sunset Cruise is probably my absolute favorite- sunsets are always special- and they are made more special by being on the water with Shearwater’s Minke.
The Cocktail Cruise is quite popular- many celebrations are hosted on this cruise with Shearwater. What a fun way to toast a bride-to-be, a birthday honoree, an anniversary, a new job, or other exciting milestone. All passengers must be 21 or older on this cruise.
Shearwater also offers a clamming trip- learn something new or go dig for dinner! This sounds like an adventurous trip- I would love to give it a try!
For you history buffs, take the Whaling History Excursion and learn about Nantucket’s robust whaling days. I am always fascinated by the courage of these captains and sailors who struck out to find whales in so much unchartered territory.
You can also explore up the Harbor with Shearwater Excursions- they offer an eco-tour and they teach about the ecosystems around the island and how best to protect and preserve them.
Private Charters are a really fun option for a Nantucket Harbor Cruise- these adventures are wonderful for family reunions, college reunions, wedding parties, birthday parties, anniversary parties, corporate parties, and more. You can work with Rachael to plan what you would like to host for your private charter. This one has an endless amount of options!
Shearwater has been recognized by Yankee Magazine and the New York Times for the services they provide their customers. I can tell you from experience, they are a wonderful family company with a heart for maintaining a healthy home for sealife while helping visitors to the island enjoy and appreciate the beautiful place we find so appealing and charming.
Cheers to the Perkins Family for offering so many wonderful ways to enjoy Nantucket- and for treating us to such a wonderful night on the Minke! I love making memories that are special and unique with each trip! Thank you!
Giving you guys a tour around Nantucket is one of my favorite things to do, and so I combined two more of my favorites and set out around town in Draper James clothes with Rebecca Love Photography. I am happy to have you here with me on Main Street!
Two questions I am asked many times is, “What should I pack to wear when I visit Nantucket?” and “Which shops do you recommend the most?” First of all, I recommend packing a few Draper James pieces in your suitcase. The dresses are my favorites because they are perfect for looking nice and feeling comfortable. For me, they are a perfect mix of stylish, polished, and comfortable. I suggest taking a look at all of the different styles and patterns that they offer and finding what you feel like suits your tastes. Here are the ones I chose for my trip…
The navy gingham love circle dress was one of my first choices when I was getting ready to head to Nantucket for summer. I especially like how easy it is to layer a sweater over it for the cooler mornings and evenings that are typical to a Nantucket summer. Navy and white always seem like the right feel for anywhere, but especially a coastal town.
The circle dress has a great fit to it and is casual enough to wear around town and dressy enough to go to brunch. I wore it several times and I love how you can add different necklaces, earrings, handbags to the the dress for a different look each time. Here -walking down Main Street- I kept it simple (but I can never resist picking up a bouquet of flowers that are grown on Nantucket). As a side note, when I was in college, I would stop by Flowers on Chestnut and bring home a bundle of their flowers for my house. Back then, the flower shop was simply called “Flowers” and it was on Federal Street. I can’t resist the flower finds on Nantucket- and there are flower trucks that park on Main Street on select days so that you can get your flower fix. I always love the variety of what you can find. And so, I always grab a bouquet when I can! As another interesting side note, so many people smile at you or say hello when you are carrying flowers. I swear by it and the flower trucks and shops are always on my suggestions of shops to visit! 🙂
Speaking of flowers…there is no shortage of gorgeous flowers growing on Nantucket in the summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw all of the beautiful gardens and hydrangea hedges that I shared. The flowers are part of the charm of the island- they are always so picturesque. Knowing how much I love the hydrangeas spilling over everywhere, Rebecca suggested that we stop and shoot some pics at this pretty little spot in town.
As I mentioned, Draper James navy blue circle dress definitely transitions easily from shopping for Nantucket treasures to stopping for lunch or brunch. And, a Peter Beaton hat is always on my list of wants when I am on Nantucket- just visiting the hat studio is fun! You can try on the different shapes and sizes and make a list of your favorites on your phone- it took me a while to decide which one to choose. Having photos and notes (and an opinionated daughter) was helpful when I was choosing which one I liked best. I will share more in another post about Peter Beaton Hat Studio.
I decided to go big because, well, I am a little on the fair side and can use all of the help I can get to block the sun. 🙂
And, because Rebecca Love is so good at learning about her clients and what they like, we ended up on the cutest street that my daughter loves. One of my very favorite things to do on Nantucket is to wander around and to walk the different lanes. This stone street is a special little gem and I was really excited that Rebecca and I ended up on it!
This dress has a versatile vibe so that we can dress it up with cute shoes or keep it casual with slides- which helps a lot because Nantucket is no joke when it comes to needing shoes that can get you around on the cobblestones. That is another reason that this Draper James dress was one of my go-to dresses for the summer- it looks great dressed up or down! As a side note, it is now on sale! I would scoop it up – it is such a great staple!
Another of my go-to dresses has been this one…it is so perfect for cooler days and nights by the beach- and for spring and fall temperature changes. This shirtdress is such a good one! It is comfortable and can be cinched with the belt or worn more loosely. I love the stripes!
Knowing that the little lanes of Nantucket are, literally, right up my alley Rebecca practically read my mind when we walked over to this street on our little tour around town…
I walk by it each day on my way to and from Main Street and always think of how perfect it would be for photographs. Especially, because it also has an American flag right in the middle of it all! And, speaking of perfect, did you notice that this cute and comfy dress also has pockets? That is always a plus!! Thank you, Draper James, for getting it!
Doesn’t that flag look so pretty right in the middle of this lovely little lane? Nantucket is one of the most patriotic places around which makes me love it even more.
And more hydrangeas made another not-so-surprising appearance in our stroll around town. Always stop to smell the flowers and photograph them while you’re at it!
The 2 different shades of blue stripes make for a great mix of colors- and it is neutral enough to add any color you like to complement. Pink, green, orange would all look great with this shirtdress if you wanted to add those colors in with accessories. I kept it neutral, but I feel like there are endless ways to wear this dress! Also, it is ON SALE!
The third dress that I took with me to Nantucket is by far the most versatile. It is a great outfit to have in your closet because I can’t even count how many different ways you can change it up or the number of places it is perfectly suited. It is casual but dressy- comfy but totally pulled together!
Draper James kindly sent this dress to me as a gift, and I feel like it is a perfect representation of the type of clothing that they make…stylish, comfortable, flattering to all body types, classic, but always on-trend. And…how cute is this customized beach ball by Jennifer at A Party Made Perfect? Jennifer personalized this beach ball just for us, and I love how pretty her calligraphy is (Jennifer has tons of creative party ideas in addition to her fabulous beach balls!)!
This is one of those dresses that speaks for itself, but wow- I could see me over-wearing this dress really easily! Ha! It is just so easy and comfortable- and forgiving of any flaws we sometimes think we have. It works for different ages and different body types equally well. I will link it for you so that you can check it out, too! Here is the Chambray Maxi Dress.
As you can tell, we ended our walk around town by doing what always seems to happen on Nantucket…heading to the beach! We went to Brant Point lighthouse to end our little tour and take the last few photos. Having the maxi dress on at the beach was perfect for the cool breeze- and the dress stood up to the wind! 🙂 The wrap dress wraps well and stays put. I can’t wait to wear this denim maxi into the fall. It would easily pair with a cropped sweater or jacket to take you into the cooler months of the year. It also would be great for SEC tailgating, casual fall get-togethers, and even the holidays. I have loved it, and I appreciate it so much!
Of course, behind the scenes, Ron was helping us along the way to keep up with our things as we walked from place to place. It turns out that he is good at helping put ribbons on hats and he didn’t even know it. 🙂 And Rebecca managed to snap this photo just as the Endeavor sailboat came sailing by us…she’s good y’all.
I hope that this post has given you some ideas for what works well when planning your trip to Nantucket. The best part about the Draper James outfits to me is that they continue to be a perfect choice even when you’re not at the beach or on vacation. The styling adapts to any setting so that you always look and feel well-dressed and comfortable at the same time. Draper James has also expanded their lines to make more sizing options available – they really do listen to their client base and help us all look our best wherever we go!
I will continue this virtual tour of Nantucket and share more shopping with you as we go. If you would like to find Draper James on Nantucket, they have a select group of items at Skinny Dip Nantucket. Of course, wherever you are, you can shop online. The summer sale is going on and so it is a great time to grab some of your favorites at a discount! I would love to know what you wear from Draper James! Feel free to share your finds with me, too! Happy Shopping!
Who is Cara Brown? A creative force that you should definitely add to your follow list…a warm, kind Texan who now makes her home in New Jersey…a Vandy Grad whom I had the pleasure of getting to know while I was on Nantucket…the list goes on and I haven’t even begun describing her latest endeavor~! Keep reading to discover the creative treasure that is Cara Brown…
Cara Brown designs the most unique jewelry that expresses her love for historical or vintage objects being given new life. And, I love that about Cara- the stories behind her show-stopping pieces are just as important to her as the new designs that she creates with them as they take center stage in her incredible necklaces. Each necklace is made with the intent of being for every day wear- but don’t expect something subdued or discreet. 🙂 These necklaces are big, bold, and (literally) brassy! They stand out in any crowd and definitely make a statement!
Cara is the original jewelry designer to use horse brass as as a focal piece for necklaces. The large, brass centerpieces in this line of Cara’s jewelry were all once decorations used for horses in England. Horses were prized possessions and their owners would decorate the horses for festivals and parades. The brasses often depicted the lifestyle of the owner- the more decorated or elaborate, the more successful the owner. Cara sources the horse brass for her jewelry from a source in London that verifies the history of each piece. Cara then includes a handwritten synopsis of the brass’s history on each necklace.
And, let’s talk about those beads! How beautiful are the beads that Cara chooses and hand knots for each necklace? She offers such a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures in her beads- each necklace is a stunning example of old and new mixed together to create a fresh look with historical staying power. I, personally, find myself drawn to objects that have meaning or a story behind them- but usually to add to my home. With Cara’s necklaces, I can also incorporate the same idea into what I wear each day.
In addition to the horse brass line of necklaces, Cara also finds unique vintage objects and creates necklaces with those, too. Because she scours vintage markets to find just the right pieces, Cara simply and aptly names this line of her jewelry “Found Objects”. These are so interesting to see because each one is something that was once used in another way and has now been repurposed and made new!
Seeing the necklaces in her “Found Objects” collection is always fun to me- take a look at some of the designs in her latest show at Space – a boutique on Nantucket. The beauty of it is that this collection is always changing based on what Cara finds!
I especially liked the necklace on the far left with the interesting buckle and the beads that Cara chose. And then, there is the 2nd one from the left that also caught my eye- it looks like a barrette that was beaded and given a new life as a necklace. How pretty and creative are all of these?
In the grouping above, I am so drawn to the necklace on the far right. I love how it would go with so many outfits from casual to dressy. What a cool piece to wear and such a conversation starter. I love the other two necklaces, too! There is nothing ordinary about any of Cara’s designs with her finds or with her beading. Cara’s jewelry was even featured in Harper’s Bazaar~ she is quite a style setter!
And so, where do you find Cara Brown Designs? I caught up with Cara at Space Boutique on Nantucket. Space is owned by Elise Gura, and Elise invited Cara to be a part of her curated boutique…soon after, Cara’s necklaces were being sold at Barney’s New York and at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. I have to give props to Elise (show below, left) for her keen eye on discovering Cara’s jewelry! Space continues to carry Cara Brown Designs and you can contact Space at 508-228-8880.
Cara will also come to your town and host a trunkshow with her jewelry at your home. That idea sounds like a fun way to see an array of styles and designs and enjoy shopping with your friends. Cara’s handmade jewelry is also available on her website, of course! Carabrowndesigns.com has many of her latest one-of-a-kind necklaces and be sure to contact her for info if you have questions or would like to host a trunkshow.
I wore my Cara Brown necklace all over Nantucket and would literally get stopped by people on the street, in restaurants, and in shops asking to know more about it. It is a stunning piece of jewelry that looks great by itself or layered with other shorter necklaces. It is my favorite new accessory, and I am thrilled to have a one-of-a-kind necklace from the original horse brass jewelry designer! Thank you for creating such unique pieces for us to wear, Cara! You have a talented eye for design!
I had never fallen in love with a place before until I met Nantucket 28 years ago- and, let me tell you, I fell hard. So hard that I still return each summer- and I truly believe that, if life were perfect, Nantucket summers would last forever. I love this place as if it were family.
The mix of sand, water, flowers, history, biking, walking, dogs, children, food, sailing (and cooler temps) makes me wish for Nantucket summers year-round.
Nantucket is most often and best described as quaint, charming, and magical. There couldn’t be a better description. It is the magical part that has always entranced me- it is that unexplained magic that it worked on me all those years ago as a college student heading for a summer adventure. It captured me -and it still pulls me back with every change in season just like the tide that surrounds its every shore.
I had never visited a place that made me want to cry when it was time to leave but, after spending June, July, and August on Nantucket in 1991, I boarded the tiny plane bound for Boston to connect back home to Atlanta, Georgia and surprised myself by crying for what I was having to leave- the memories that I had created and the experiences I had just had were some that I knew were special and impossible to recreate in any other setting. It was hard to explain to others because it really was a magical time. I was heading home to the south to start the the next semester of college (which is a fun time of life in and of itself) but a big part of my heart was still up east on this tiny sliver of land called Nantucket. I already couldn’t wait to figure out how to get back to it.
Lucky me, it only took about one conversation with one of my college best friends, and we started making our plans to get to Nantucket as soon as May rolled around again and we were out for summer. I returned that summer and the following summer. The third “summer” I lived on Nantucket actually was more like most of the year- I went up in April and came back home in December in time for Christmas. During this time on Nantucket, I worked in the hospitality industry at an Inn.
One of my favorite parts of helping run the Inn was being able to recommend the best restaurants, beaches, activities, etc. to the guests. I loved that part of my job, and I explored every inch of the island that I could to be able to bring the knowledge back to share. I went on tours, ate at allll the restaurants (twist my arm), tasted all the ice cream, rode all the bike paths, played on all of the beaches, and visited every single shop, store, and art gallery. I was everyone’s Nantucket Trip Advisor way before that was even a thing. 🙂
I was asked repeatedly if I could send suggestions to friends who wanted to visit. Over the almost 3 decades of going to Nantucket, I have shared countless “Things to Do on Nantucket” lists. I felt like it was time to also share these tips and suggestions right here with all of you! I hope you find this guide helpful, and I hope you will let me know if you visit my favorite tiny island. It’s lovely and idyllic- and is best enjoyed with friends and family, which is why I am excited to share this with you! If you would like to read more about my experiences on Nantucket, I share more of them here.
How to Get to Nantucket
Depending on your starting point, there are several different ways to get to Nantucket. Just know ahead of time that being patient and flexible will come in handy as you make your way to the island. Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea from Cape Cod and must be accessed by boat or plane. Weather conditions and fog often cause delays and/or cancellations. Just go with it and know that it is part of the gig when getting there. 🙂
My favorite way to get to Nantucket is to fly. If I can, I usually go from South Carolina to D.C. to Nantucket. That is the easiest route from Georgia to Nantucket, if you live close enough to South Carolina. The other choice from Georgia is to fly out of Atlanta into New York, New Jersey, or Boston, MA and then connect to Nantucket. There are also private jet companies that will fly you over. Most recently, I have been interested in hearing more about Fly Louie Public Charter for those leaving New York or Boston. Definitely check flights from your area and remember that patience is a virtue when getting there! It has never been the easiest place to get to, but I kind of like the benefits of that. Ha!
If you prefer to drive, you will want to plan to take the ferry over to Nantucket (there is no bridge that connects from the mainland to the island, which is a common question about Nantucket). The ferries that I am most familiar with leave from Hyannis Port, MA. I suggest you leave your car on the mainland and hop on the fast Hy-Line ferry. You can go from Hyannis to Nantucket in about one hour on the fast ferry. The slower ferry takes 2 or more hours. If you need to take your car over to the island, you will need to ride the Steamship Authority and make a reservation far in advance to be able to put your car on the boat. I am often asked if guests should bring a car on island…my answer is typically “no”. If you are there to enjoy all that Nantucket has to offer in town and will be staying in town, you will not need a car. Most places in town are within walking distance or there is a shuttle that will take you. Truthfully, there are too many cars on the island which makes for some frustrating driving and parking conditions. You can also rent a car if you need one while you are there.
Where to Stay on Nantucket
The Bed & Breakfast Inns on Nantucket definitely have my heart and so much charm, and I will list my favorites below…but when we go with our family of four, we rent a house in town. My favorite site for finding a home to rent on Nantucket is called weneedavacation.com Of course, VRBO and Air BNB are excellent options, too. We Need a Vacation focuses on the Cape and Islands exclusively.
Favorite Bed and Breakfast Inns
There are a lot of B&Bs to choose from on Nantucket! It is part of the charm of the island, and you can often experience the history of the homes when you stay in the inns. Most of the inns are historical homes that have been converted into guest houses. They are meant to feel cozy and quaint and breakfast service is continental. The laws do not allow them to cook full breakfasts. I will give you suggestions on breakfast, lunch, and dinner options further in the post.
The inn where I worked is now called 21 Broad. It has a newly remodeled interior but still retains its historical Victorian exterior. It is the oldest inn (built as an inn) on the island, but it has been updated in the most modern ways. The location is excellent!
2. Greydon House is just down the street from 21 Broad and is beautifully decorated (I used to live in the house between Greydon House and 21 Broad). This inn is gorgeous, the restaurant is attached and beautiful, and the location is excellent!
3. Hotel Pippa- this bed and breakfast is new to the island and housed in one of the many antique buildings in town. The location is excellent!
4. Brass Lantern Inn- this Inn is also excellently located in town! I have watched it grow over the years, and it is a beautiful and cozy space on a convenient street. This inn also has rooms dedicated as “pet friendly” if you are traveling with a dog. There are house rules for pets.
5. 76 Main Street- a beautiful boutique hotel (owned by the same company as 21 Broad) with another excellent location!
Favorite Nantucket Hotels
If you prefer a hotel setting over the quaintness of an Inn, there are several hotels that are convenient and lovely.
My favorite (and everyone else’s) is the White Elephant hotel. This hotel has been an island favorite for so long. There are also cottages that can be rented. The sister hotel is called White Elephant Village and it is separate from the hotel and includes townhouse-style accommodations and a pool. They are both an easy walk (3-5 minutes) into town proper.
Another in-town hotel is The Nantucket Hotel and Resort. This hotel is massive by Nantucket standards and is very family-friendly. My favorite part of the hotel is the charm it brings with the antique firetruck.
One of my favorites throughout the years has always been the Jared CoffinHouse. It has been going through some needed updates recently, and I am looking forward to seeing it. The house itself has so much grace and history- I am hopeful that the restoration work will bring the JC back to its glory days as a gorgeous historical destination. I will keep you posted!
And, if you would like to stay out of the buzz of downtown Nantucket and in a secluded part of the island, I would highly recommend The Wauwinet. This hotel is truly a haven for a peaceful vacation. Located on a far end of the island, The Wauwinet has hosted many celebrities looking for a getaway that is relaxing and secluded. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, I definitely suggest going out to their restaurant, Toppers, for brunch. It is one of my favorite places to go for a change of pace.
Favorite Restaurants on Nantucket
Well, you should definitely get comfy and grab a snack for this extensive list. Nantucket is full of fabulous restaurants! My first summer there, my friend Amy and I would choose a different restaurant to try every Thursday night. We had some of the best meals, best laughs, and best first-hand knowledge of all of the best spots. “Where should we eat?” is one of the easiest questions to answer because there are so many right answers, but also one of the hardest because I never know where to start!
Dinner- I will list the fancier ones first (also harder to get in, so make reservations early). A few take only day-of reservations in personand some restaurants are cash only. These are in no particular order…
Cru- located on Straight Wharf near the boats- make reservations early. This restaurant is typically buzzing with lots of activity inside. Outside on the patio is quieter. I love the interior decoration of this restaurant.
Straight Wharf Restaurant- also has a fun bar for before or after dinner connected to the restaurant. This is one of my all-time favorites!
The Boarding House- on Federal St.- another all-time favorite with fabulous food and creative desserts!
Pearl- this restaurant has the same owners as Boading House- ask about the chef’s table in the garden- Federal St.
Club Car ( definitely go to the piano bar for drinks if you don’t go for dinner)- this restaurant has such an interesting menu full of healthy dinner options. Share plates and try lots of different items. It had a complete change over from its original look/feel/food. It is nothing like its original spot that was a Nantucket staple and favorite- but I truly love the new look and new menu. I think Joe (the late owner and Nantucket icon) would give it his approval and blessing- especially if there is fish involved. Main Street heading toward Straight Wharf
29 Fair (cozy, a little off the beaten path, more low-key than, say, Cru) Tell Tracy hello if he is your server!
The Galley Restaurant- sunsets are beautiful here- go for drinks and photos if not for dinner.
Chanticleer (one of fanciest) located in Sconset- it used to be coat and tie but has relaxed that rule in recent years.
The Summer House- also in Sconset- quintessential Nantucket
Lola (super hard to get in)- serves Sushi, very small and loud
Company of the Cauldron- always one of my favorites- it is a price fixe menu and has a “supper club” feel to it. Menus change each night and are listed by the week. A hidden gem, if you ask me!
American Seasons- this is usually a local’s favorite restaurant. It has been a while since I have been but I may try it again this summer. It has new ownership and the previous owners opened Proprietor’s. I will let you know what I think if we have a chance to go this summer!
Nautilus- on Cambridge St. Day of reservations in person only, I believe. The line for reservations typically forms early. Hard to get in but delicious food. Asian-flavors in quaint setting.
More Casual Dinner
14. Station 21- Water St.
15. Slip 17- located on Old South Wharf- they have good clam chowder- very, very easy-going vibe. It feels like Florida to me when I go there- my kids always like it.
16. Black Eyed Susan’s – India Street- it is BYOB. This one is awesome for breakfast if you don’t go to dinner here. It’s very tiny.
17. The Brotherhood of Thieves- aka “The Brotherhood” – located on Broad Street- we like to eat outside in the biergarten- inside is tiny and dark downstairs and large and airy upstairs . (I used to live 2 houses down from it at 19 Broad Street when I was in college- also worked at the Inn right next door to it.). This place is very casual, perfect for kids, and can accommodate large groups upstairs. I always like their clam chowder.
18. Dune- located on Broad St.- dependable- and nice patio seating if you are dining with children.
19. Proprietors- located on India Street
20. Ventuno- Italian restaurant at 21 Federal St. The back patio is perfect for a night out with kids.
21. Pi Pizzeria- more than just pizza- try some of their entrees. Very casual, small but mighty. They also have a connected market for take away.
22. Lola Burger- watch for ducks- valet park- very casual
23. Millie’s – located in Madaket- this is such a lively and fun place with Mexican-type fare. If you are in Madaket in time for the sunset, go see the beautiful view of the sunsetting over the ocean.
24. Provisions- located behind the gazebo on Straight Wharf- my favorite is the Turkey Terrific (they are heavy on mayo so let them know if you want less 😊)
25. Something Natural- located on Cliff Road- easy to miss- a half sandwich is the size of a whole sandwich- oatmeal bread is my favorite- the chocolate chip cookies are always good- go early bc it gets crowded fast. You eat outside on picnic tables and the kids always enjoy climbing around in the boat that is in the yard.
26. Lemon Press- healthy- located on Main Street
27. The Beet- salads and healthy eats- including beets!
28. Cru– lively, fun setting right on the Straight Wharf
29. Cisco Brewery- this place is fun- take the bus out and back so you can sample all of their beers/wines/liquors- usually has live music- they have food trucks for lunch- Millie’s is usually there with their food truck. Also fun just to go after lunch and just enjoy the drinks.
30. Culinary School Corner Cafe- super casual and tiny- easy to get things to go. I like their gazpacho- it is hard to get!
31. Toppers at Wauwinet- take the Toppers Van (it picks up and drops off on Federal Street) and have lunch at the Wauwinet. Pretty views. Tucked away. There is also a boat that takes you out to Toppers at Wauwinet- I prefer to drive or ride in the shuttle.
If you’re game for driving on the sand, you can take a 4-wheel drive out there and, after lunch, go to Great Point Light House. You have to stop and let air out of your tires before they will allow you onto the beach. It is very protected now and so you will need to park the car and walk to the lighthouse. It is about a mile of walking one way to the lighthouse. Usually see seals out there- baby osprey are often hatching and so that is why cars have to stop.
32. Downy Flake Doughnuts are so good! The restaurant is basically Nantucket’s version of Waffle House- locals have always gone- but I mostly just love the doughnuts. There is a separate line for doughnut take-out if you aren’t having full breakfast.
33. Black-Eyed Susan’s- on India Street– the breakfast is so darn good.
34. Fog Island Cafe– now called Keepers and located at 5 Amelia Drive. I always loved having a hearty breakfast at Fog Island when it was in town. I look forward to trying Fog Breakfast at Keepers now!
35. Island Kitchen– newly expanded building with an ever-growing menu, IK has a great breakfast- and I can’t wait to try his doughnuts!
36. Nantucket Bake Shop- take away/no place to sit. They also have the best Portuguese Bread on the island, in my opinion.
37. The Juice Bar has the best ice cream on the island. It gets really crowded, and the line wraps around the block, but it’s really good. It is on the corner across from the Whaling Museum Shop
38. Sweet Inspirations Chocolate Shop- it has homemade chocolates and they are known for their chocolate toffee and chocolate covered/dried cranberries
39. Cookies from Something Natural are a treat- we especially love picking up their cookie dough and baking our own for a warm, chocolate chip treat!
40. Shhhh…secret candy shop located at Force 5.
ACTIVITIES ON NANTUCKET
BEACHES- In town…Jetties Beach is very popular- it has a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner – family-oriented beach and often very crowded.
Steps Beach is my favorite- no-one used to know about it, but now it has been discovered. There are beautiful houses along the road leading to Steps. Great photo from the top of the stairs looking down to beach. It has no restaurant or restrooms but it is a short walk down the beach to Jetties if you need.
Dionis is farther out and has no facilities but is very tranquil.
The beaches in town are on the Nantucket Sound and the water is calm.
The beaches on the Atlantic side of the island are rougher- waves are bigger and current can be strong. Erosion has caused a lot of drop-off that can’t be seen…it just drops off sooner than you expect, so just be aware. Those beaches are Madaket, Surfside, Cisco, Nobadeer, Sconset. I haven’t listed all of the beaches, because the island is one big beach with different sections having different names…but those are the most well-known. Just be careful in the water on the Atlantic side- much rougher than the water in the Sound.
Biking out to Madaket with a picnic to catch the sunset is one of my favorite things to do.
LIGHTHOUSES- Nantucket has 3 lighthouses that are equally beautiful!
Brant Point- in town- cute little lighthouse- also beautiful houses around it…walk down Hulbert Ave. and look at all of the gorgeous homes on the water. Hulbert is a long street but comes out near Jetties Beach- you can turn right and walk to Jetties if you are on Hulbert.
Sankaty- in Sconset- also amazing homes along the water…sadly several are falling into the water now.
Great Point- the one I mentioned earlier near Wauwinet- must have a 4 wheel drive to go to this lighthouse.
Sailing on Nantucket
SAILING- my favorite is the Endeavor. Capt. Jim has been doing this forever.
You can also charter a Hinckley through Harborview Sailing.
Shearwater Excusions has a dinner cruise/sunset cruise- it is bring your own food and beverage
Whale Watching- also through Shearwater Excursions
SHOPPING- I’d say just go in them all. 😊 The art galleries are beautiful, too. One of my favorites is Cavalier Gallery on Federal Street. One of my favorite shops is Murray’s Toggery Shop– it has been around for many, many years and is a staple of Nantucket. Murray’s is where you can get the original Nantucket Reds. Another one of my favorite shops to go in and take the kids is Town Pool. They have a very creative, interactive, enjoyable shop! Putt putt is upstairs- but each year there is something new and different! I also love to pop into Nantucket Looms, Lion’s Paw, and Current Vintage, Flowers on Chestnut, Vis-a-Vis, and Peter Beaton. I strongly encourage you to go in them all- there is fabulous shopping on Nantucket!
BIKE PATHS- Nantucket has great bike paths- you can ride for miles. We usually rent bikes at Young’s, but there are several bike rentals. I love the bike path that takes you to Madaket. It is so pretty to ride through the moors and wildflowers. Grab a map from the bike shops and decide which paths look like what you wish for. Most end up at the beach. The most difficult path is probably the Polpis Road path- and the good news is that you can catch the shuttle back from any of the bike paths if you have decided riding a bus better suits you. 🙂
WALKING PATHS ON NANTUCKET
Tupency Links off of Cliff Road is a pretty place to go to walk- follow the paths and you will end up looking at the ocean. Use bug spray- deer ticks are common on Nantucket.
Head out to Sanford Farm for walking trails- this is a great place to walk your dog.
Go for a walk on the ‘Sconset Bluff- (no dogs allowed on the trail)- follow from town and walk toward Sankaty. The trail closes before the lighthouse due to erosion, but this is one of my favorite walks.
LIVE MUSIC- there are 2 bars on Nantucket that have bands each night- – The Chicken Box and The Muse. Just in case you want to relive your college days. All bars have to close at 1:00 a.m.
BEST ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS ON NANTUCKET
My favorite activity with my kids is going to the beach each day. Of course, you also have shopping, biking, walking, and stopping for ice cream. But here are a few other ideas that are at the top of my list…
Critter Cruise. Kids and parents board the boat and then fish in the Harbor. My kids loved this- especially seeing the lobster and catching a fish! Such a fun activity for the littles! Be sure to bring sunscreen and snacks!
At Jetties Beach, you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, sailboats, and wind surfers through Jetties Sailing Center. Cisco Beach also has rentals/surfing.
Endeavor Sailing is a fun trip around the harbor for adults and kids. Captain Jim keeps everyone entertained. You can find the Endeavor on Straight Wharf.
If you are traveling with toddlers, there is a nice little shady garden area at the Nantucket Atheneum to have snacks and let them run around in circles. I always loved this little hidden gem in town when my kids needed a break from being in the stroller.
Stop by Pete’s Fish Tales for a chance to say hello to Pete and see him making fish prints. Sometimes, he even lets the littles (and not so littles) try making their own!
Of course, there is Children’s Beach which is such a great spot for the younger set. Children’s Beach has an area for the kids to wade/splash/swim but, even better, there is a playground and a green space area for running, chasing, playing frisbee, or just watching. There are children’s activities that you can also sign up for- such as yoga classes and entertainment.
Older kids (teens and up) may enjoy deep sea fishing that you can charter on Straight Wharf.
Dreamland Theater is also an option for movie buffs. There are 3 theaters- and Dreamland is also the best place to go for a public restroom when you are in town.
See below for ways to explore Nantucket’s history with kids…
FAVORITE WAYS TO LEARN THE HISTORY OF NANTUCKET
Favorite Tour Guide on Nantucket is GAIL’S TOURS- take this tour and learn about the different areas of the island, the whaling history, and local folklore. Gail was the first tour I ever took and she remains my favorite!
The Whaling Museum is so interesting to see- there is so much history on that little island. The museum shop has lots to offer for souvenirs. Head to the top of the museum for a nice view and a pretty place to relax for a minute. Kids love the giant whale skeleton!
First Congregational Church– this is the church I love to attend when I am on the island. On a clear day, head to the First Congregational Church (be ready to offer a small donation) and climb the steps and look out at Nantucket from the steeple. The views are beautiful and there is always someone there to answer questions about the history of the church or Nantucket. It is right in town and easy to find on Center St.
Hadwen House– a beautiful and grand Greek Revival home of a former whaling merchant turned silver salesman. There are 2 houses side by side that look like twins on Main St. at Pleasant St. Hadwen House is the only one of the two that is open to the public.
Thomas Macy House– this beautiful home still resembles life in the 1800s inside. It is a great one to tour to get a feel for Nantucket life during this era.
Nantucket’s Oldest House– this tour offers a glimpse into the early life of Nantucketeers. I always enjoy showing my kids how life used to be and letting them visualize the old-fashioned lifestyle without our present-day amenities. Be sure to go upstairs to see the bedrooms and go outside to sample the garden harvest. My kids love the currants they first tried here. Side tip- if you are ready for lunch after visiting the Oldest House, Something Natural is only a short distance away.
Old Mill– there is a cool windmill on Prospect Street that was built in the 1700s. It has been well-preserved and guides will explain the history and how the mill works. On most days, kids can help grind the corn. It is definitely a step back in time!
Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum– this museum pays tribute to those who worked to help others who were shipwrecked on Nantucket and offers a glimpse into the difficult lifestyle of sailing. You will find fascinating stories and heroic efforts.
Maria Mitchell Association– (Maria is pronounced Ma-RYE-ah) – the first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell became famous for her discovery of a comet. Within the association, there is an observatory and a small aquarium among other interesting areas.
Let me know if I can help with any questions that you have. If you visit Nantucket, tell me what you love and what your favorites are! There are always places and things to do that I haven’t included because their are so many things to do and see. But, wherever you find yourself on the island, enjoy the change of pace and the combination of historical and modern all in one place. Nantucket is a charmer, that’s for sure!