There are few places better to experience the joys of New England summer like the tony shores of Nantucket. But far from being a playground just for the East Coast elite, this island boasts many treasures, from some of the best restaurants in the state to chic boutique boltholes. Read on to discover writer Juliet Izon’s favorite places to stay, eat, and see.
Where to Stay:
ACK’s newest hot property combines the appeal of classic New England architecture with jaunty modern textiles and wallpaper. The hotel’s courtyard is also the perfect spot to sip a White Negroni amid salty ocean breezes. On-site restaurant Sister Ship is also fast becoming the island’s see-and-be-seen spot; don’t leave without ordering the local oysters (of course).
Arguably the most famous hotel on the island is The White Elephant, a Relais & Châteaux property that’s just a stone’s throw from the center of Town. The resort encompasses many types of accommodations —from luxurious residence-style setups to the 66 hotel rooms with dreamy views of the harbor— all with high-thread-count sheets and classic nautical decor.
Where to Eat:
This waterfront restaurant & oyster bar features nautical-chic interiors that look out at all the yachts entering and leaving the harbor. Gastronomy-wise, Cru’s chilled lobster roll on toasted brioche is a must-try.
What used to be a tea house, is now a leading Nantucket restaurant. Meals contain farm-to-table ingredients. Lunch in their well-manicured Rose Garden serves as an archetype for what Nantucket should look and feel like.
Book far ahead (no really, set your alarm) and bring friends when you grab dinner at this perennially packed share plates spot. Don’t miss the grilled pork riblets, shiso handrolls, or the large format, whole-roasted Peking duck. Sister spot Gaslight is also very tasty, if you can’t snag a table at Nautilus.
Where to Drink:
A sunny day and a cold can of Whale’s Tale Pale Ale make this beer garden the ultimate spot to day drink on the island. Live music and plenty of local food trucks mean you might just stay here until nightfall.
Where to Visit:
Stroll through Town
For an isolated island, the boutique shopping, food, and people watching here is superb. Set aside at least an afternoon to stroll cobblestoned Main St. and its surrounds. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of Nantucket Reds at famed Murray’s Toggery Shop, chic beachwear for the whole family at Erica Wilson, and all of your breezy, beachy home furnishings at Bodega. And while it may not seem like a must-visit, the Whaling Museum is a fascinating and riveting look at the industry that allowed the island to flourish.
Tour the island by bike
Few places have bike paths as efficient and safe as Nantucket’s, so it’s a must to rent some wheels and take ‘em for a spin around the island. One of the prettiest rides from Town is to Madaket Beach (and then you can reward yourself with tacos and quesadillas at Millie’s Nantucket.
Drive to the Beach
A quintessential New England summer is not complete without a trip to the beach in your Jeep. Luckily, Nantucket boasts many beautiful drive-on beaches, including 40th Pole, Eel Point, and Nobadeer. And if you’re not bringing your own Jeep on the car ferry, you can scoop up a sweet ride at Nantucket Island Rent A Car.
Siasconset Village, known as ‘Sconset to locals, is probably the most charming hamlet on one of the most charming islands in New England. In short, you’d be remiss to not spend at least one day here, either ogling the beautiful houses on the Bluff Walk, or relaxing beachside with a cocktail at The Summer House hotel’s Beachside Bistro. Pro tip: if you don’t have a car with you, you can easily catch a ride on The Wave to get here.