After finishing residency, we headed straight to Boston for fellowship without much time in between to take a breath. After taking a few weeks to settle into Boston life, we’ve decided to make the most of our following months here by exploring all that New England has to offer. So I hope you’re ready for posts full of seaside cottages, lobster rolls, and sandy ocean bluffs!
Our first weekend getaway: Nantucket.
Nantucket is a small island a short ferry ride from Cape Cod, and a close distance away from the well known Martha’s Vineyard. It’s essentially a summer colony for seasonal tourists from cities like Boston and New York, and is hailed as one of the most beautiful spots in New England.
I assumed this would make Nantucket feel like many other tourist-centered islands: pleasant for a weekend but overall busy and overrun with indistinguishable souvenir shops.
To our pleasant suprise, we quickly discovered this was not so.
Nantucket experienced its golden age back in the 17th century when the island was the whaling capital of the world. That’s probably why Nantucket is the backbone of the book, Moby Dick! But, when the whaling industry eventually crashed, the population plummeted, and the island was essentially left for abandon.
When life eventually began to return to the island, the old world architecture was found to be untouched and, over the following years, was carefully restored. Nantucket is now one of the finest surviving examples of a New England seaport town. The charm of colonial cottages and cobblestone streets immediately enraptures you, and that first step off the ferry feels like a step back in time.
The historic old town is full of boutique shops, quaint restaurants, and cozy B&B’s built into the preserved buildings of the past. The harborfront is full of patios offering fresh seafood and a dock full of spectacular yachts. The island feels quaint and laid back, yet somehow simultaneously chic and refined.
One of our favorite spots along the harborfront was Cru, a fresh seafood bar with the best oysters we’ve ever tried and a great outdoor patio where you can people (or yacht) watch. We liked it so much we couldn’t avoid going back a second time the following day! The cozy lounge furniture, lively atmosphere, and cool drinks were a welcome refuge from the midday sun.
One of the most striking and pleasant features of the island is the smell of fresh flowers around every corner. Perhaps every cottage owner hires the same gardener, as hydrangeas seem to border every building and flowering rose vines crawl up each trellis.
When we weren’t smelling flowers or wining and dining in town, we were cruising on a little vespa around the island.
On one end of the island we visited Sconset, home to the historic Sankaty Lighthouse:
From there we strolled along the beach and hiked the Sconset Bluff Walk to take in views of the ocean on one side and beautiful cottages on the other.
And on the other end of the island we ended our night watching the sunset at the Galley Beach restaurant, where kicking your shoes off and sinking your toes in the sand with a drink in hand is highly recommended.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: OUR FAVORITES
Food: Nautilus (one of the best restaurants we’ve tried yet; show up at 5 PM for a seat at the bar if you don’t want to wait in line for a reservation). Cru (best oysters and patio in town). Galley Beach (a must for dinner or drinks at sunset). The Juice Bar (we never tried it, but the line up out the door suggests their ice cream must be delicious!).
Sights: Nantucket Town (stroll, shop, eat, and enjoy the harborfront). Visit a historic lighthouse (Sankaty or Great Point Lighthouse, which requires a drive down the beach).
To Do: ‘Sconset Bluff Walk (leisurely walk along the coast with views of the ocean and beautiful waterfront cottages). Cisco Brewery (outdoor beer and wine garden).