Cool in Nantucket

Old Jun 26th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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Cool in Nantucket

So there we were in Nantucket enjoying a cool breeze in the 70s while Boston was sweltering in 90 degree temps. Ah, now I do understand why folks escape to the Islands or the Cape! Anyway, to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary we signed up for a Watertown Club 50 trip and it was great. Yep, all senior folks but we did get around still without walker or cane! Our first trip to Nantucket, b-t-w. Bussed to Hyannis and then the speed ferry to the island.

Walking up Broad St. you pass by a number of bike shops. Renting bicycles is popular on the island and makes sense. Many families and groups and a few oldsters too were renting. You don't need a car if you use the transit yet I was surprised by the number of autos. Oh yes, gasoline at $4.67 a gal. while back home at $3.47! So we walked up the hill and sampled the shops...so many of them and not only souvenirs but clothing especially for women. I did see a men's European sport coat for $1,000! Murray's Toggery Shop is reportedly one of the best but that too is pricey. But hey, tourists on the island have money, do buy I notice.

Lunch was wonderful hamburgers at Brotherhood of Thieves. This does give you a real pirate feeling. Mid afternoon we had a bus tour around the island. Nantucket was first off a place for settlers to farm but no running water here. So then whaling became a major industry and Nantucketers sailed the oceans harvesting sperm oil. With a silted in harbor plus the great fire of 1845 plus the Gold Rush plus oil discovered in Pennsylvania plus the Civil War the island economy withered and population declined. Later on came, you guessed it, tourism as folks began to spruce up their buildings and tout the history. Many of the houses are the same grey clapboard. The oldest on Sunset Hill was closed for a private event. There is an old mill and Quaker meeting house. The Quakers had a real presence here in the 1700s. Their pacifism plus lively trade with Britain meant Nantucket was at first on the fence in the Revolutionary War. The Atheneum is a landmark library where famous speakers visited. And of course the several historic lighthouses.

We checked in at the Nantucket Inn and Conference Center and had dinner served there. You will see lots of inns around town and I wonder if rooms might be found. Busiest season is ahead in July and August. Nantucket Inn is very nice indeed and near the airport. Next morning shuttled into Nantucket town. Our first stop was the Whaling Museum with a great display of the history of this industry. Two excellent videos shown twice each day, one on whaling and one history of the island. You understand that going to the sea in a whaling ship for several years was really demanding in hunting and killing and rendering. Then plenty of time homeward bound for scrimshaw carving...good display of this. Herman Melville tells the story in Moby Dick. We had an All Access Pass costing $20. Lunch was lobster bisque in a bread bowl at Sea Dog and later delicious ice cream at popular Juice Bar. Then more wandering around the quaint streets as we browsed in the shops. And the streets need mentioning, like Broad St. cobblestones, bigger than European ones, so that pedestrians need to use brick crossways to go from one side to the other. Time out for a cold brew.

Dinner was a short walk down the path from the hotel to A. K. Diamond, probably the best salmon we've had for awhile. That evening along with others...you guessed it, watching Bruins in Stanley Cup final game (lost). Good breakfast at hotel and shuttle at 10 a.m. More browsing but by now tired feet. We did buy some items at The Hub and I found my cap for under $17 at Four Winds Gifts on Straight Wharf ($16.95). Enjoyed a taco salad at Easy St. Cantina. Interesting man at the table related his story of near death and a mysterious presence...three times. Wife said she isn't sure about angels but convinced something surely happened. B-t-w, postings on Fodors by Ackislander reveals good restaurant reviews.

We boarded the speed ferry at 3:45 and arrived back at our Newton meeting place at 7 p.m. Had a box lunch on board. Added word: there is entertainment on Nantucket which is listed in a newspaper. And certainly beaches which we didn't get to and also boating, sailing, etc. We were there on last day of a book sale. Wife got an autograph of a book she is reading by a Nantucket author, Elin Hiderbrand. So this isn't meant as a comprehensive travel posting, just a heads up for going to this island out in the Atlantic. Owner at A. K. Diamond kids about the mainland being "the rest of the world." Our first time and surely we will return if we can.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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Well, if you do come back and aren't part of a big group, we would love to have you out to the house. You can be there on foot from the Hub on ten minutes or less.

Your group used its time well, and I am glad my food recs worked out.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 08:19 AM
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Sounds like you had a great time, Bill! I love the Brotherhood of Thieves.

We first went to Nantucket in '77 which was a pre-historic time, in that it was pre-SUV. When we went back a few years ago and stayed at the Jared Coffin House, looking down the street, there was a continuos row of SUVs parked on the street. I felt like that old commercial w/the Native American who cries in his canoe. Now riding bikes there is a constant dodging of huge vehicles, whereas in '77 bike riding was idyllic. BUT the thing about Nantucket is that you will always measure its charm based on your first time, and I am really glad that your first time sounds so lovely.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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We had been to Martha's Vineyard way back in 1952 in a student seminar and worked in hotels. Back again recently (moved to Mass. 2010) and what a change there. Yes, we were surprised by the many vehicles but want to return to Nantucket again...so at Coffin house and elsewhere how much was a room and how difficult to rent in summertime? We did notice the many accomodations.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Actually, Nantucket is one of the few places you actually need a real SUV to go to and get back from some places. A lot of the best places only have high center sand roads.

I have a 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 4WD, ultra low range. I also have a Subaru Outback. Same 8.7" ground clearance, often necessary for island driving, though the Jeep will get out of all sorts of places that the AWD Subaru won't. But the Subie is a lot more civilized.

That said, most of the SUV's are a fashion statement. Last Sunday we came upon a family in a Cadillac Escalade with Florida plates holding up traffic as they backed out of a rutted, albeit brick-paved, lane in town! They could have made it easily, but they had no knowledge of their vehicle and were terrified that it might high-center or get scratched by a bush on the narrow street (Martin's Lane between Fair and Orange. People, SUV stands for Sport. Utility. Vehicle. I think they got the vehicle part, but they didn't get the Utility part at all.

One of the Great Point Rangers told us about a Mercedes SUV that got stuck on the beach with a rapidly rising high tide. The tow company came and asked for the usual $300 in cash (it's more further out). The driver said, "No, you don't understand; I have free towing from Mercedes. Bill them and they will pay you." The tow truck driver said, "No, it's you who don't understand. If you don't have $300 in cash, I will tow you to an ATM. When I get $300, you get your Mercedes back." Island life.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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OK, now I can certainly see a need for SUVs. Lots of sandy beaches. I forgot to mention in my report...the little chocolate covered cranberries! : - )
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Yes, but somehow the monster SUVs of today do not seem to have quite the charm of the old dune buggies.... (I used to love when Dave Barry would refer to them as a "Chevy Subdivisions")
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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Back when I lived in Fairfield County, CT, one of the more conspicuous status symbols was a Chevy Suburban sporting Nantucket Oversand Vehicle Permits. The number of years one had obtained the stickers seemed important, as no one ever removed the old ones. In fact, I used to suspect that some particularly competitive matrons would peel old stickers off the bumper before they sold a car, and reapply them to the replacement.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Just like the ski jackets w/multiple lift tickets hanging off the zippers.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Fra_Diavolo, I wouldn't be surprised either. Some things don't change!
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