Nantucket Food question

Old Jul 7th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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Nantucket Food question

We are planning to spend a week on Nantucket at the end of July, with friends who have rented a house out near Sconset.
It occurs to me that since we are driving (we have steamship reservations) we'll have room to take some supplies.
So, my question is: Are there food and drink items that are particularly expensive on the island that would be better brought from home??
I'd love any ideas any of you might have on the subject.
taconictraveler is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2009, 02:11 AM
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Food is generally more expensive, but I would not bring all your supplies. When renting a house I generally take things where I would not use up the entire package in a week - like 7 teabags, some specific spices/condiments, a cup of sugar.

I would not bring perishables like diary or meat but would consider hauling some higher mark-up items that you may consume a lot of - for us diet soda would be an example.

There are great local bakeries, fish markets, and produce - so we also eat more locally and simply on vacation. I actually enjoy exploring these sorts of places on vacation.

But I like to cook - some people find cooking a chore and an especially burdensome one in a strange kitchen - I have heard people say they pre-cook and freeze all sorts of things like chili and bring that. Not an idea for me, but works well for some.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 03:45 AM
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A visitor did a survey two years ago in which he bought a basket of groceries at his Stop and Shop in Connecticut and the same items in both the Stop and Shop and the Grand Union in Nantucket. The Grand Union was 14% higher than the mainland S&S and the local Stop and Shop was a whopping 20% higher than its mainland counterpart.

In general, things that take a lot of shipping space are costly. When you are in line for the ferry, you can tell the locals because their cars are full of toilet paper and paper towels K Mart across from Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis is the place of choice unless you belong to Costco.

Dense things like beer and soft drinks are not terribly expensive if you do not shop downtown in Sconset or Nantucket. Diet and regular Coke were three 12 packs for $11 last week.

There is a Trader Joe's in the Christmas Tree Plaza on Iyanough Road in Hyannis. If you are familiar with TJ's, you will know why it is worth stopping to buy specialty items and things like chips etc. This TJ's does not have a liquor license, so you can't buy wine, but they are terrific for meat and treats! Again, just about every islander stops there when returning to the island. TJ's prices for things like avocados are _much_ cheaper on island.

The fish markets here are all good. I shop at Gliddens because I have for years, but Nantucket Seafood on Old South Road also gets our business. Others swear by the shop on Hummock Pond Road (if you ask if the fish is fresh, you have to go to the end of the line while everyone hoots at you).

Grand Union is funky (think General Store, not supermarket) but has better vegetables than S&S, which uses one of those water spray things that make vegetables start to rot as soon as they leave the store.

Both supermarkets run out of things, especially if the freight ferries are delayed. Bread and milk are likeliest to be in short supply.

Never go to the grocery on a rainy day, just before lunch, or after work. Parking is difficult and the aisles are madhouses because they are filled with people who don't know where things are shelved. The best time to go -- I am giving away huge secrets here -- to the Grand Union is early in the morning (8 AM) or around 5:15. The best time for the S&S is about 3 in the afternoon when everyone is at the beach.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 08:03 AM
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Ackislander is giving you good advice. We have a summer house on island and generally bring over staples (kleenex, paper towels, etc.) at the beginning of the season rather than buying them on island. I also have some favorite brands that I like for things such as canned tomatoes for sauce, salsa, etc. that I bring over.

The fresh fish available on island is terrific. We like the fish store on Hummock Pond Road mentioned above. If you are meat eaters, the steaks at Cowboys are really good (albeit expensive) and worth splurging for. Bartlett Farms is great for lettuce, tomatoes, corn and other veggies. I'd also recommend Something Natural's bread, available either at their place on Cliff Road or at the supermarkets mentioned above.

My husband brings over beer as we find that beer is also a lot less expensive off island. There is a liquor store with good parking on Polpis Road (the Islander) which is off of Milestone Road on your way out to Sconset. They have an interesting wine selection.

Enjoy your week!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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I always load my car up, but I also hate shopping on vacation
We go to Nantucket for a week, but MV for three, - and I think prices are higher in both and
I don't want to spend my vacation time shopping - so basically I agree with Ack adn Marie -
I load my car with paper towels, garbage bags, napkins, paper cups, water, bread ( esp if you have a freezer) etc - Like Gail, I take what I will use as far as tea bags, sugar, etc - usually from my own cabinets at home -

I get the fresh veggies, fruit, meat, fish when on island - although when I go for 3 wks I bring a cooler over with our favorite bubba burgers, hot dogs, etc for quick night grilling -

so I would say it depends during the week how much you are eating in or out ! I have also been known to go over for a shorter stay with a cooler of already homemade macaroni salad, tabooli salad, cold cuts, chicken salad, rolls, etc so I have my 'beach food' all ready for at least 3 or 4 days -

have fun ! I love Siasconset - lunch by the pool at the summer house on the day you don't want to make lunch
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Thank you all for such great advice!

Ackislander: You are a wealth of really great info. I promise not to tell ANYONE about the best shopping times!!

I am now planning with the use of all your ideas. I like to cook and so does my hostess, and we cook well together, so I think we'll be staying in some, but also, since they are there as dealers in the Antique Show, we'll be eating out some.

Great stuff, as usual, from great Fodorites!
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