Bill and I were blessed with a picture-perfect day for our scheduled excursion to Nantucket Island. With our bicycles by our sides and helmets in hand, we boarded the Steamship Authority Fast-Speed Ferry from the pier in Hyannis, and settled in for an hour cruise to the island. As you can imagine, the ship was packed to capacity, but bike riders boarded first, so we were able to secure seats on the small outside deck. I spent an hour people-watching, listening to others’ conversations, and writing peoples’ life stories in my mind – loved it!
Upon disembarking, we quickly found a bike path map and headed away from the congested Main Street area, as many visitors congregated to rent bikes or scooters, jump on a bus, hail a taxi or call Uber! We decided to head toward Madaket Beach, which was about 6.5 miles from the Harbor.
What a gorgeous ride! While the homes in the downtown area tended to be traditional captain homes, as we traveled outward, the homes became your typical Cape Cod mansions as well as beach cottages. There were also expansive areas of conservation land and open spaces. Upon arriving at Madaket Beach, we stopped at Millies Market for a drink and snack and then sat at the beach for a while, easily adapting to the relaxed and quiet atmosphere of this beautiful area! Nantucket is known to possess some of the highest property values in the US and this fact was also quite evident on our journey.
Gathering our legs, we headed back toward town, but then turned on Hummock Pond Road and pedaled toward Cisco Brewery. Actually the venue is not only home to the brewery, but also to Nantucket Wines and Triple Eight Distillery! Imagine that – you could experience three different tastings and couple that with food from various food trucks, including one from Millie’s, where we had stopped on our way to Madekat! We limited our liquid intake as it was still early in the day, but thoroughly enjoyed the brewery – a most necessay stop when in Nantucket. There is even a free shuttle from the harbor to the brewery for those who want to waste no time in getting there!
Feeling sufficiently fueled, we once again jumped on our bikes and headed back to town – and what a unique town it is! Most of the shopping/dining area on Main Street is cobblestone with rough brick sidewalks – not real conducive to biking, so we locked them up, with plenty of other visitors, and set off on foot. There were many restaurants to choose from for lunch, but we stumbled upon The Tavern, in the harbor area. We opted for indoor seating, but they also had a lovely outside area, along with a balcony deck. Our meal was delicious and provided a well-needed respite from our biking adventure!
Following lunch, we ventured to the Nantucket Whaling Museum, which is another must-see when you visit the island. It is located partly in a converted 1846 candle factory, where spermaceti from whales was used to make candles. The museum is overseen by the Nantucket Historical Association and focuses on the history of whaling in Nantucket, supported by artifacts donated by local families who descended from the original settlers. We viewed a short film on the history of Nantucket – Did you know the people of the island are referred to as “Nantucketers?” We also witnessed one of the museum volunteers narrate a multi-media presentation on whaling. I thought I had learned a lot about whaling from reading and teaching Moby Dick but I now have another layer of whaling information in my bag of tricks! I also learned another vocab word – “schrimshander” – one who creates scrimshaw. One of my personal favorites in the museum was the schrimshaw gallery, where hundreds of original pieces remain. Again, I highly recommend the Whaling Museum and with the price of admission, you also get free tours at five other local historical spots.
We completed our day in Nantucket by browsing in the local stores as we waited for our 6:15 p.m. return ferry. Never hesitating to buy myself anything I want, yet most often never paying full price, the stores in Nantucket are extremely high-end. We had also heard about “Nantucket Red” and boy did we find it! I would call it more of a salmon color, but when in Rome… This picture shows just one of many displays throughout the town – in both men’s and women’s clothing stores, and you wouldn’t even believe how many “Nantucket Red” shorts, capris and slacks we counted on the street – not to mention shorts and skirts adorned with whales or lobsters!
We certainly had a full day in Nantucket – one of exercise, education, relaxation, and lots of observation!
Stay Calm and Travel On…