blonde lady wearing sweater closing blue door in front of a house
Row Row Row Your Boat ~ Cara Brown Style

When Cara Brown gets inspiration for something new, you know it is going to be good! Cara has such a way with developing one-of-a-kind items…and her new sweaters are no exception. They are just another example of her creative genius!

blonde lady wearing sweater closing blue door in front of a house

Cara’s latest creation is a collection of cashmere sweaters that feature vintage silk scarves reimagined in the most beautiful way. The scarves are carefully designed to mesh with the sweater to create a unique piece of clothing.

blonde lady with white jeans and sweater standing in front of palm tree on front porch
Please excuse the insane amount of pollen that has suddenly fallen from the trees!

Look carefully at the bottom right of my sweater and you can see the words, “Row your boat” hand-embroidered. I love the combination of whimsy and sophistication! And the sleeves on this sweater are fabulous! They hit perfectly and have such pretty understated details. And, let’s talk about the back detail…

lady in white jeas and gray sweater holding green plant in white container

Hand embroidery is also on the back of my sweater for an added thoughtful detail. “Life is but a dream” completes the feel that Cara is expressing in this collection.

white jeans and back of sweater that reads life is but a dream

The cashmere sweater is so warm and cozy for fall, winter, and early spring- and it will be perfect for summer nights at the beach. I can’t wait to wear as often as I can and mix it up from casual to dressier.

blonde lady in nautical sweater standing in front of greenery

Trusting Cara with the details is part of the fun! You never know from design to design where you will find her small touches. I especially love how Cara adds part of the silk scarves to the elbows of the sweater- and each sweater is done in a completely different way. As another offering, Cara has the option to customize your embroidered message. If you prefer having something in particular, just let her know!

blonde lady in white jeans and sweater with red boat steering wheel

If you love really special, one-of-a-kind items to wear and enjoy, you will fall in love with these sweaters! You may also remember how much I enjoy wearing Cara’s necklaces- go here – Cara Brown Designs Necklaces – to see her creative side expressed through jewelry.

blonde lady at blue front door

Look at this gorgeous one! I love the great-looking scarf that Cara used- there is nothing as luxe as silk and cashmere together! There are so many beautiful choices – and the possibilities and combinations of style, fit and colors feel endless.

ivory cashmere sweater with silk scarf front

Even on days when life may not feel like an absolute dream, Cara turns that boat around for you when you slip her luxury sweater over your head! Instant mindset shift! It reminds you to keep rowing!

You can contact Cara through Instagram or her website Cara Brown Designs.

gray sweater detail on sleeve and back

Cheers xo,

Lydia

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Family Photos with Rebecca Love Photography

Family photos might be one of my all-time favorite gifts to receive. Ever since my children were born, I have appreciated the talents of professional photographers more than ever. Rebecca Love is one of the most talented, easy-going, authentic, and kindest people I have met~ and she happens to be an incredible photographer! Rebecca Love Photography is one of my absolute favorite suggestions when asked for my Nantucket Travel Guide– I highly recommend capturing the memories of your trip through Rebecca’s lens! Here are some of our family photos that she took for us this summer on Nantucket. We also used the photos for our Christmas cards this year! (Also, Rebecca and I did a photoshoot with the clothing that Draper James sent me- she was incredible!! Click to also see the Draper James clothing shoot)

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Photography is one of my favorite forms of art- and there is nothing more special to me than capturing a moment in time- or, in this case, a phase of life as a family. Photographs are like songs- they evoke more than just one sense. They bring with them a feeling and a set of emotions that identify that place in time.

rebecca love photography guide to nantucket family photos brant point lighthouse dogs

Even though you see a family of four with their 2 dogs, I see the full summer that represented the first time we took our pups to Nantucket~ which also meant the first time we had ever driven to Nantucket as a family (we have always flown until the pups came along). Driving from Georgia to Massachusetts and putting everyone on the ferry was a first for us and definitely helped make memories! 🙂

Rebecca Love Photography Nantucket Guide daughter on beach with dog

My daughter is 15 in these photos, and I am so happy to have the photos to remember this age. We often let the teen years slip by without professional family photos because teens aren’t the most enthusiastic participants sometimes. Photos with friends? Absolutely. Photos with parents? Not quite as exciting. 🙂 Knowing the phases of teenage life, it makes me even happier to know we have these beautiful photos (and it makes me want to schedule them each year!).

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We chose to take family photos at Brant Point Lighthouse because this is actually where Ron proposed. We were also celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this summer, and it just seemed like the right place to be! 20+ years ago, Brant Point was a much quieter place. I used to walk down to the lighthouse all of the time when I lived there (it was about a 5 minute walk) and I had always loved the peacefulness of it. It is busy with fishermen and tourists these days, but it was still fun to have the photos taken where he proposed!

rebecca love photography guide to nantucket family photos teens brant point

My son is 13 in these photos and I love capturing his age. He has always begged for a dog to bring to the beach. Getting to watch him have fun with our two pups was a treat for me and just another fun part of this summer trip.

Rebecca love photography guide to nantucket brant point lighthouse family photos

I laugh as I see the photo above because it was so windy and my daughter was a little worried about the wind and her dress. I see the concern in her body language and totally get it! Photography speaks without words.

Rebecca Love Photography Nantucket Lydia Menzies beach

Beach dunes, kids, and puppies remind me of the days I would see families on the beaches and look forward to having my own one day. I’m so grateful to have my family and grateful to Rebecca for documenting memories of this summer for us.

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Rebecca Love Photography/ Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon
rebecca love photography nantucket travel guide brant point family photos
Rebecca Love Photography/ Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

Another of our favorite parts of this trip was seeing our pup, Blue, relax and enjoy the calm of the beach. He was having hip problems and was a little nervous about everything because of his discomfort. Just getting him ready to travel took a lot of effort- the kids and I spent a month with a dog trainer learning how to help him feel less afraid of noises and even the wind! He ended up loving the wind on the beach and is actually in his “relax” command pose in this photo below. 🙂 It made us so happy to see him overcome his worried ways and enjoy himself!

Rebecca Love Photography family photos children and dogs on beach
Rebecca Love Photography/ Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

Tuck wasn’t worried about much except chasing birds and bunnies. He would get excited every time he could sense we were heading to the beach for the day. One of his best days on Nantucket was going for a walk and finding a slice of pizza that had been thrown in a bush. Not exactly what we were expecting but something we will always look back on and laugh about! Needless to say, it was an excellent summer for Tuck and Blue. Rebecca captured them perfectly in the photos- and that is not always easy with 2 one-year-old pups!

rebecca love photography lydia menzies the party wagon nantucket travel guide brant point
Rebecca Love Photography/Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

Honestly, it was an excellent summer for us all! As I look back with so much appreciation for this trip, I also have so much appreciation for Rebecca and her photos! I can’t brag on her enough- for her natural way of capturing photos and her approach to bringing out the best in her subjects. Rebecca made our family photos stress-free and so much fun. I am thrilled that we made a friend in the process- I look forward to seeing Rebecca again and again!

Rebecca Love Photography Guide to Nantucket Draper James denim dress
Photo by Rebecca Love for The Party Wagon and Draper James

It was so wonderful to work with Rebecca- from the minute she sent her information and tips on having a successful shoot, I knew she was so thoughtful and professional. When you plan your trip to Nantucket, be sure to book a session with Rebecca- she is one of a kind and will deliver the most beautiful images. Rebecca Love is as authentic as you will find- and her images reflect her relaxed nature and show just how special she is!

Strolling Nantucket in Draper James

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! You can also see more of our photos with Rebecca Love here.

Photo by Rebecca Love Photography

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…

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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! 🙂

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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. 🙂

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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…

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!)!

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

Rebecca Love Photography for Draper James and The Party Wagon

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. You can see more of of our time with Rebecca Love at this link to our family photo session.

Rebecca Love Photography for The Party Wagon and Draper James

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!

xo,

Lydia

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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 Jewelry Designs

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 Brown Jewelry Designs

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.

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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.

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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!

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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!

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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?

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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!

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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 Brown Jewelry Designs

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.

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs

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!

Cara Brown Jewelry Designs
The Best Nantucket Travel Guide

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

The mix of sand, water, flowers, history, biking, walking, dogs, children, food, sailing (and cooler temps) makes me wish for Nantucket summers year-round.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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. 🙂

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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. 🙂

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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!

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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, 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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies
  1. 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!
Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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!

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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!

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

Favorite Nantucket Hotels

If you prefer a hotel setting over the quaintness of an Inn, there are several hotels that are convenient and lovely.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

Best Nantucket Travel Guide
Photo by Lydia Menzies

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 Coffin House. 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!

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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!

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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 person and some restaurants are cash only. These are in no particular order…

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Photo by Lydia Menzies
  1.   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.
  2.   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!
  3.   The Boarding House- on Federal St.- another all-time favorite with fabulous food and creative desserts!
  4.   Pearl- this restaurant has the same owners as Boading House- ask about the chef’s table in the garden- Federal St.
  5.   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
  6.   Ships Inn- a favorite that has been around for a long time. Located in a beautiful historical building and a little off the beaten path.
  7.   The Galley Restaurant- sunsets are beautiful here- go for drinks and photos if not for dinner.
  8.   Chanticleer (one of fanciest) located in Sconset- it used to be coat and tie but has relaxed that rule in recent years.
  9.   The Summer House- also in Sconset- quintessential Nantucket
  10.   Lola (super hard to get in)- serves Sushi, very small and loud
  11.  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!
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
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More Casual Dinner

14.  Slip 14- 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.

15.  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.

16.  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.

17.  Dune- located on Broad St.- dependable- and nice patio seating if you are dining with children.

18.  Proprietors- located on India Street

19. Ventuno- Italian restaurant at 21 Federal St. The back patio is perfect for a night out with kids.

20.  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.

21.  Lola Burger- watch for ducks- valet park- very casual

22.  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.

Lunch

23.  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 😊)

24.  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.

25.  Lemon Press- healthy- located on Main Street

26.  The Beet- salads and healthy eats- including beets!

27.  Cru– lively, fun setting right on the Straight Wharf

28.  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.

29.  Culinary School Corner Cafe- super casual and tiny- easy to get things to go. I like their gazpacho- it is hard to get!

30.  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.  

Breakfast

31.  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.

32.  Black-Eyed Susan’s- on India Street– the breakfast is so darn good.

33.  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!

34.  Island Kitchen– newly expanded building with an ever-growing menu, IK has a great breakfast- and I can’t wait to try his doughnuts!

35.  Nantucket Bake Shop- take away/no place to sit.  They also have the best Portuguese Bread on the island, in my opinion.

Treats

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Photo by Lydia Menzies. Nantucket Cupcake Toppers and Cutlery by When I Was Your Age

36.  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

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

37.  Sweet Inspirations Chocolate Shop- it has homemade chocolates and they are known for their chocolate toffee and chocolate covered/dried cranberries

38. 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!

39. Shhhh…secret candy shop located at Force 5.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

PHOTOGRAPHY ON NANTUCKET

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Photo by Rebecca Love Photography

Nantucket is such a picturesque island…and while I love taking photos of all of its charm, I also love being able to capture a special trip with a professional photographer who knows the ins and outs of Nantucket. I am often asked who I would suggest for family photos. Without a doubt, I recommend preserving your memories with Rebecca Love of Rebecca Love Photography. You can see Rebecca’s photos of our family and our Strolling Nantucket in Draper James shoot to get an idea of her work. Rebecca is so easy-going and makes family photos stress-free.

ACTIVITIES ON NANTUCKET

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

BEACHES- In town…Jetties Beach is very popular- it has a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner – family-oriented beach and often very crowded.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

Dionis is farther out and has no facilities but is very tranquil.

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The beaches in town are on the Nantucket Sound and the water is calm.

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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.

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Biking out to Madaket with a picnic to catch the sunset is one of my favorite things to do.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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.

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Sankaty- in Sconset- also amazing homes along the water…sadly several are falling into the water now. 

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Great Point- the one I mentioned earlier near Wauwinet- must have a 4 wheel drive to go to this lighthouse.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies
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Photo by Lydia Menzies

Sailing on Nantucket

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SAILING- my favorite sailboat is the Endeavor.  Capt. Jim has been doing this forever.  

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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. See our Sunset Cruise with Shearwater.

Whale Watching-  also through Shearwater Excursions (Shearwater has many options for guided water activities- be sure to see them all at the link above.)

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!

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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. 🙂

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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.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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…

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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!

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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.

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Photo by Lydia Menzies

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Photo of my son taking a picture of the windmill as my daughter and I walk in the mill

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!

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Photo by Lydia Menzies