The romantic notion of being marooned on an island with your lover has been spun around for centuries through novels, movies and today on Instagram / YouTube videos. A romantic island getaway is ideal to celebrate milestones, special occasions or take that much needed long weekend to enjoy some sun and sand with your one and only. I found mine on Nantucket the broken boomerang island an hour from the coast of Hyannis, Massachusetts. My husband and I wanted to spend some quiet time away yet be at arm’s length from our home for our anniversary. While searching every state of the country for a romantic refuge we found that in April half the country was braving thunderstorms and tornadoes while our coastal backyard had just open shop for the season. Although the island is just a day trip for all Bostonians and Cape Cod residents, an entire weekend on the gorgeous isle is just what you need to thaw away from the bad winter on the East Coast.
How To Get There ?
Ideally for most travelers from Boston driving to Hyannis takes about an hour and half at best and two at most. There are two options from Hyannis by a ferry, you either drop your car at the parking lot and head over to the fast ferry or you take your car with you on the slower ferry. In our experience we didn’t really need a car in the main town of Nantucket as the quaint streets and cobblestone path of the town center are best explored on foot during leisurely strolls. The fast ferry ride takes an hour from Hyannis Terminal to Straight Wharf Nantucket. You have two options between Steamship Authority and Hyline Ferry.
Pretty Little Island
Once you arrive on the island it transforms slowly into a movie set like town. The streets are straight out of a novel written in the early 20th century, the houses, shops, cafes, restaurants are all lined up in an idealistic manner. In spring you will notice daffodils beaming their sunshine hues as you pass by every retail store or restaurant or bakery. Nantucket is known for its daffodil festival late April and all of spring you can see the islanders deck up their window planters with spring annuals and the front lawn framed by daffodils, yellow and violet pansy, white daisies and lily of the valley in the manicured gardens of plush homes and luxury B&Bs. Nantucket much like its neighboring rival Martha’s Vineyard has a thriving real estate even when winter has battered the island for four months. The Cape Cod architectural style with its gray shingles and black trimmed gables and white trimmed windows and white trimmed windows renders a vintage look to the landscape of the island.
Time when whaling was Nantucket’s primary industry is entrenched in history, today instagram- obsessed millennials are checking in to the cutest and most quaint looking sunshine bathed romantic B&Bs and Inns on the island. Of course there are many resorts to choose from and even more Inn-like hotels or homes converted into B&Bs as hospitality has become the butter on the bread of tourism for this island. We chose ours at a superbly right time of the year when the sun was bright and shining till late into the evening and the crowds had not yet descended on the island. If you wish to visit Nantucket in summer you’d have better made plans weeks in advance as the B&B and resorts sell like hot from the oven cakes.
Greydon House : Our stay at Greydon House which is on Broad street couldn’t be more perfect given that we were there for just that weekend stay. As you get off the ferry the street leads straight to Greydon House in less than 3 minutes. It is a full service hotel but it looks like the warm scented cozy Inn with the cutest and unique home decor ideas you end up taking inspiration from. Our anniversary dinner and our comforting cocoon for a room was an influence on the way our celebration turned out to be. For more details please visit greydonhouse.com
Brass Lantern Inn: A few steps right of the Whaling Museum are two other B&Bs – Brass Lantern Inn, this one is cute in decor and friendly on staff with a good breakfast in the morning. We were welcomed by warm and smiling faces not to mention the adorable sun bathed sitting room and dining space of the Brass Lantern Inn B&B.
Steps Beach: For the beachside romantics Nantucket has beautiful stretches of sandy beaches Steps beach being the easiest to access just 15 minutes from the main town near the Brant Point Lighthouse. Of the the 80 miles of coastline that this island boasts Steps is the closest to the main town of Nantucket. While the rest are on the other arm of the boomerang shape of the island.
Sconset: The entire island stretching about 14 miles long, the other villages and remote beaches like Siasconset are quite easy to reach on a bike or by car. Sconset as the locals call it is a serene escape even for the islanders, ask any local and they’ll mention Sconset Bluff Walk the perfect walk through the alleys between homes and through their prim backyards to a wonderful sandy stretch basking under the sun.
Great Point Beach: Great Point is one the most visited beaches on Nantucket and is on the way to the last lighthouse on the island’s tip. This is where many hikers, photographers have witnessed snowy owls nesting at the Cochuate Wildlife Reserve. Biking is the most popular way to venture toward Great Point by most travelers. Then there is a car for those who cannot bike.
Sailing: Nantucket much like cape cod attracts sailing enthusiasts from the country and the New England region. For an island that inspired Herman Melville to pen his eponymous Moby Dick, it goes without saying that sailing a boat or a yacht or even kayaking is big on the island. You can
This is why you were inspired on pinterest or instagram after seeing the white tall lighthouse against the dramatic pink and purple hued sky. Nantucket is known for its lighthouse after all the whaling capital of the world cannot do without some remarkable looking and historic lighthouse to show way to merry sailors and whalers. The first lighthouse you will notice on your way to the island is Brant Point Lighthouse is which close to many resorts and B&Bs and is most visited thanks to its proximity.
Sankaty Lighthouse which is historic as a one of the firsts to have the Fresnel Lens in the country is located in the village of Sconset on the Bluff. Its history travels back to 1850 and was made electric in the early 30s and remains operational till date.
Great Point Lighthouse is located at the tip of the island ahead of the Great Point Beach. Great Point Lighthouse probably attracts more photographers for the drama of light in the background of the ocean and sky. It should be on your must visit when on the island.
You wouldn’t place the island as a fervent player in the history chapters but there is so much more to it than just its beauty. The Whaling Museum stands right at the gates of the town welcoming each visitor eager to share the island’s whaling past. Once upon a time before the revolutionary war whaling was a burgeoning industry of the island and it soon came to become the capital of the whaling world. We sat through sessions learning about the times back then. Maria Mitchell the astronomer has an entire museum dedicated to her life and explorations. The Mitchell family was into astronomy and were very curious about the world beyond our sky. There is also a Black History museum and that speaks volumes of the role Nantucket played in helping the people enslaved in America to escape and find their livelihood on the island.
Isle of Legends
Nantucket has a surprising place in the history of United States of America from the entrepreneurial legends to the retailers and the social reformers who fought the struggle for equality. While all of the main town of Nantucket is historic district we found a particular street which was steeped in history owing to its residents. One such home belongs to Thomas Macy the original purchaser and founder of the island and patriarch of the Macy family that founded another American icon in retail history – Macy’s Department Store. 99 Main Street maynot look an impressive mansion but it is a house that gave birth to legends of America. Edward Starbuck was one of the ten partners in the founding of the island and was the great grandfather of Elizabeth Starbuck who was a Genealogist, Abolitionist and Suffragette. In his book Moby Dick, Herman Melville has a character named Starbuck perhaps coined after the family.
Fashion or Furnishing
You don’t visit Nantucket and not want some retail therapy too? Coastal lifestyle and home decor sit pretty on the windows of boutiques and artisan stores urging your immediate attention. The cobble stoned main street is flanked on both sides by fashion stores, luxury gift stores, furnishing boutiques and art galleries for collectibles. Besides the Main street the adjacent streets have many retail therapy options as well. We found a good art installation that doubles as home decor like candle stands, clocks, decorative pieces on the mantle or entryway. It was Freedman’s of Nantucket and I thought they were very unique in their work.
Brotherhood of Thieves – One of our lunch spot for the weekend was Brotherhood of Thieves and the name vibes well with its ambiance and atmosphere. As you enter the door you are transferred into a den like space buzzing with chatter and cheer of families, groups celebrating life and the the coastal living. Their food is simple yet flavored with layers of surprise in them. The cocktails are something we would return here any day. Not only are the names cheeky but they do a good concoction even during the day.
We cannot visit a destination and not discover its bakery scene. The pastel drenched Petticoat Row Bakery on India Street is a place dressed up for a person like me. I am the quintessential sunshine-and-meadow loving person and pastels speak to my heart not to mention macrons, cupcakes and pies. The bakery has products freshly baked and has an eat-in space laid with petticoat style red gingham tablecloth on the table with white chairs and lime green pillows. Of course there were daffodils dressing the windows, its Nantucket.
You can go to any part of New England’s coastal towns and the one common ingredient that connects them all is great seafood menu at restaurants. Nantucket is no stranger to authentic good seafood and even other meats or vegetarian options on the table. The restaurants we enjoyed especially on our anniversary night was at Greydon House Restaurant run by Chef Marcus Ware. The hostess and server were exceptional in their care and attention to detail for our special celebration. The recommendations of Cod, Shrimp and Chicken were most suitable to our taste and paired to perfection with our wine Pratsch Gruner Veltliner 2015. The Restaurant interiors are inspired by a home library complete with a crackling wood fireplace, built-ins on the walls with hardcover leather bound books, mariners trinkets, wood paneling and deep toned upholstery and furniture fill the room with warmth.
We had two days in Nantucket but we made the most of it and promised to make another trip even if it is in the middle of summer when the streets are teeming with feet. We came back to the shores of mainland Massachusetts at Hyannis feeling we haven’t scratched the surface as far as Nantucket is concerned and the island can surely surprise you.