At one point in history Nantucket prospered as it dominated the whaling industry. When whaling declined the island was left to a hundred year slumber while the outside world progressed, and so it was unintentionally preserved to currently house one of the highest concentrations of pre-Civil War structures, and the oldest operating windmill in the United States.
Spring has been teasing us the past few weeks around here. It always lifts my mood to step into the slightly crisp simultaneously sunny morning air. It also reminds me to begin making plans for summer, that yawning gap of luxurious time when my four kids are out of school. Summer is a season I look to with equal parts dread and excitement. Part of the problem is that I am not a planner in general, I’m much more of a wing it kind of girl. With four kids our Summers need some foresight. One of our favorite summer vacation destinations is the island of Nantucket. If you are planning a trip to Nantucket this summer, and want to bring a car, you need to make your ferry reservations to get it over there soon. There are flights to the island, but we like to bring our dog, and explore, so we usually drive. There are many options for lodging from hotels in town, luxury resorts or homes for rent. In the past when we have rented non-pet friendly homes we had boarded our dog at the Nantucket MSPCA, which closed December of 2011 but has reopened as the privately owned Offshore animal hospital which still offers boarding. It was located just across from the gorgeous Tupancy Links dog park, and close to dog friendly beaches where he could swim so it worked out beautifully. The Cottages have dog friendly accommodations if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, and they are in a great spot near town.
For us vacation begins when we step on the ferry. Aside from just relaxing and soaking in all the natural beauty, there is so much to do once you arrive. below are some of our favorite Nantucket activities ( in random order).
1. Jetties Beach restaurant is situated at the edge of the sand leading down to the beach. Live music, delicious food and a laid back atmosphere. Wash it all down with fruitful sangria, and take your cup over to beach chairs in the sand when you are done with your meal. The children can play at the adjacent playground or frolic in the sand while the rest of you soak in the fabulous setting.
2. ‘Sconsett is an idyllic village by the sea with cottages covered in flowering vines. Spend the day at the beach, visit the Sankaty Head Lighthouse, and have an excellent dinner at the BYOB ‘Sconsett Café. Don’t panic there is a wine shop next door!
3. On your way to the beautiful beaches in Madaket, on the far west end of the island, you must stop at the dock on
the left near second bridge, and spend some time catching the snapping turtles with your kids. You will need to bring string and some chicken legs from the supermarket. Watch your kids dangle a chicken leg over the dock and pull up a big chicken eating turtle! It is extraordinary!
4. When you head back into town stop and have lunch at Something Natural, delicious sandwiches are eaten outside at picnic benches in a park like setting. Tucked away at 50 Cliff Rd. You can bring your dog and tie him to your table in the shade while you eat.
5. The Whaling Museum gives a great overview of the fascinating history of the island, and if you are an early riser take a walking tour around town that further details its rich historic past.
6. When we went with extended family the highlight for us all was chartering the sailboat Endeavor for an evening cruise. It was a spectacular setting, and a great way to explore the island.
7. Rent bikes and explore the highly touted extensive bike paths that wind around the island.
8. Stroll and shop in downtown Nantucket. Expect to find many things you love, but possibly not be able to afford them all.
9. It doesn’t look like much but if you go to the tip of Tom Nevers where there was an old Naval base, you can find the mound that holds the door to the underground bunker where then President Kennedy would have been shuttled if there had been a nuclear attack. I wonder what it’s like down there now?!
10. Have drinks or dinner at Galley Beach restaurant. You are right on the beach by the waters edge, feet in the sand. Spectacular. This is an idyllic spot.
11. Try the tasting menu at Toppers. It is expensive, but every single bite is exquisite.
12. Have a lobster dinner of course! You can buy your own at the supermarket and steam them yourself, or leave it to the experts!