Nantucket, what a romantic island getaway! My husband Dennis read a few of Elin Hilderbrand’s Nantucket rom-coms which inspired him to see the island. We also wanted to visit a good friend that had recently moved from CA to MA, so after spending a few days at his house overlooking scenic Lake Boone we made our way to the island.
To get there we took the Hy-Line ferry out of Hyannis. After some research we opted for the high speed passenger ferry, leaving the car behind. While there are car ferries over they’re very expensive, with limited space. We had a beautiful day for sailing that made for a lovely hour-long boat ride across the channel. Many thanks to the nice woman we met in line who suggested we sit on the starboard side to see the seals lounging on the buoys on the way out. Arriving in Nantucket we had a short ten minute walk from the ferry terminal up to our home for the next three nights, the Cliff Lodge. The Cliff Lodge is a very nice B&B with a great location and a good breakfast. We ended up with a third floor room that was a little small. I bumped my head a few times on the very low ceilings, and I couldn’t turn around in the shower. If you stay there I’d recommend asking for a first or second floor room; we peeked in a few of the open ones and they looked quite a bit larger.
After dropping our bags we toured the Whaling Museum, with its fascinating exhibits of Nantucket history. I particularly enjoyed the whale skeleton as well as the short film describing how it came to the museum. The exhibits bring the dangers of whaling, such as the “Nantucket sleighride” (the dragging of the whaling boat by a harpooned whale) to life. Be sure to go up to the rooftop deck for a spectacular view of Nantucket town. We ended our day at B-ACK Yard BBQ for dinner. Good chicken wings, great beer, an awesome central location, and excellent service.
The next day we decided to rent a Jeep to explore the island, but found out they wouldn’t deliver it to us until noon. So we took a morning hike from the lodge out to the Brandt Point Light station. The lighthouse, while in a beautiful location, wasn’t much to look at so we continued our walk along the beach, passing impressive beach houses that I’m sure were all multi-million dollar properties. After about a mile along the beach we looped back around and down Cliff road to meet up with our afternoon ride.
Finally in our Jeep, we made our way toward Great Point Lighthouse. We hoped to find some food along the way but were disappointed. The guard at the entrance to the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge suggested we try nearby ‘Sconset, a 10 minute drive south. Sadly everything was closed, since we were there before the “official” island opening, Memorial Day. At least ‘Sconset beach was lovely to look at! We finally found someplace open, LoLa Burger. Great burgers and beer and just what we needed to fuel the next phase of our adventure.
And what a wonderful adventure it was! The drive through the wildlife refuge on the way out to Great Point is awesome. Be sure your car has an Oversand Vehicle permit since you’ll be driving on the beach most of the way. You have to drop your tire pressure to 15 psi and have four wheel drive to ensure you don’t get stuck in the loose sand. Enjoying the roller coaster off-road experience, we saw seals and hundreds of birds along the way. The lighthouse at the end of the drive was interesting, but this experience is more about the journey than the destination.
After our Great Point adventure, we visited Cisco Brewers for a drink before heading to Makasat for dinner at Millie’s. The brewery has a ton of outdoor seating and judging from the crowd it’s a popular place to drink away an afternoon. Millie’s is an iconic beachside restaurant with nice ocean views from the upper level. I had a very delicious lobster roll, and the shrimp quesadillas and fish tacos my traveling companions had looked yummy too.
Our last day was spent just exploring Nantucket Town itself. It’s a charming small town filled with shops and restaurants, all housed in historic grey cedar-clad buildings. In addition to the ubiquitous t-shirt and souvenir shops, we spent time browsing the upscale Murray’s Toggery Shop, selling every item you can imagine in that iconic Nantucket Red.
Shopping always makes me hungry so we grabbed lunch at Easy Street Cantina, where the food was good and perhaps more importantly was the most affordable we found on the island. After more shopping, we had dinner at The Charlie Noble, a casual pub-type restaurant with fantastic food and great service. Charlie Noble was highly rated on Yelp and didn’t disappoint, my crab cakes were delicious and the bartender made Dennis a perfect vesper.
We said goodbye to Nantucket the next day, sailing away on the mid-morning ferry. I enjoyed our short time on this charming island and look forward to visiting again.