Located 30 miles off the southern coast of Massachusetts sits this picturesque, wind-swept island filled with cobble-stone streets, pleasant inns, a vibrant culinary scene, and 82 miles of coastline. The island maintains its historic charm and offers something for everyone.
Drive: Easily accessible from either Boston, MA or Providence, RI. Fly in to one of the major east coast hubs and rent a car to make the scenic drive to Hyannis Port, Barnstable, Massachusetts. The drive from either Boston or Providence will take just shy of two hours. If driving from Providence, be sure to take the long road and detour to Newport, RI. (Detour will extend the drive to about two-and-a-half hours.) Once you get to Hyannis Port, park your car in one of the designated lots; you will not need it on the island!
Ferry: Nantucket is served by two competing ferry lines: Hy-Line Cruises and the Steamship Authority. A trip on a high-speed ferry will take around an hour (each way) and cost $70-$80 per adult (round-trip). Reservations should be made ahead of time. Find a seat on the top deck, grab a beer, and enjoy the ride!
o The Steamship Authority
o Hy-Line Cruises
Detour: Newport, RI
The charming seaside town of Newport, RI is located just 20 miles south of Providence and is famous for the Newport Mansions. Built towards the end of the nineteenth century, these majestic buildings served as summer “cottages” for America’s wealthiest families including the Astors, Vanderbilts, and Wideners. Plan to spend a few hours wandering the ornate rooms and luscious gardens. Gatsby would have been right at home!
White Elephant: Arguably the most well-known lodging option on Nantucket, the White Elephant Hotel is conveniently nestled on Nantucket Harbor. Brant Point Light, shopping, and dining are right at your fingertips!
Inns: Inns and Bed & Breakfasts are too numerous to count. Just look for the grey buildings with the white trim!
o Nantucket Inns
Spotlight – the Veranda House: This sophisticated inn is a mere five minute walk from Nantucket Harbor and is the rare combination of rich history and luxury. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, beach chairs and towels are provided, and you cannot beat the complimentary champagne and chocolate chip cookies served every afternoon!
Beaches: Nantucket is home to some of the best beaches in the northeastern United States. No matter what your scene, you will find your perfect beach on this tiny island.
o Insiders Guide to Nantucket’s Beaches
Lighthouses: Three lighthouses dot the 82 miles of coastline on Nantucket Island: Brant Point Light, Sankaty Head Light, and Great Point Light. Each boasts its own history and personality.
Bike: Rent a bike and basket from the Nantucket Bike Shop, pack a lunch, and head out to explore the many beaches and lighthouses on the island!
o The Nantucket Bike Shop
Shop: Copious boutiques line the cobble-stoned streets of the Town of Nantucket. You will find everything from big-name brands to locally-made treasures.
Brunch: Black-eyed Susan’s: This restaurant maybe tiny but its breakfast packs a big punch! BYOB so pop-in to Murray’s for some bubbly to make your own mimosas with their fresh-squeezed orange juice.
o Black-eyed Susan’s
o Murray’s Beverage Store
Nantucket is notoriously dog-friendly, so do not hesitate to bring along your four-legged best friend! Dogs are allowed on both ferry lines and are welcome on most beaches. Keep your eye out for dog-treat dispensers in many of the shops!
o Stay: The Cottages at Boat Basin “Woof Cottages” ; Brass Lantern Inn
By Kelly Flesch, 2014-15 Topics & Trends staff member