Now that we're into spring, it’s time to plan summer getaways—especially if you want to go to Nantucket, that special island off the coast of Massachusetts. Nantucket has been a key destination for generations of savvy travelers looking for a relaxing escape, classic New England charm, wonderful beaches and world-class dining—but you have to book early!
When the Weather is Right
A special hint: While the weather now may not be as beach-centric as in July or August, a late-spring or early-summer jaunt to Nantucket can be delightful, especially since you’ll avoid the hordes of tourists who swamp the hotels and restaurants later in the island’s relatively short high season.
Getting around Nantucket via car can be problematic; when the island is busy, parking can be a nightmare. A better choice: Rent a bicycle. There are several good bike-rental shops down by the harbor— Nantucket Bike Shops and Young’s are both safe bets. Take cabs when you need to go any distance at night.
Where to Stay
As for booking early, that’s particularly good advice if you want to stay at Nantucket’s premiere resorts.
Try the White Elephant if your top priority is easy access to in-town shopping and eateries. For those looking for a real chill-out, get-away-from-it-all vacation, The Wauwinet on Nantucket Bay could be the ticket. Even if you don’t stay there, be sure to at least book a lunch date at the Wauwinet’s terrific Topper’s—travel there on the Wauwinet Lady, one of the hotel’s water taxis that depart daily to and from the White Elephant’s docks on a regular schedule.
For something completely different, book a stay at The Century House, Nantucket’s oldest continuously operating inn. It captures the flavor of an old whaling captain’s home, but is updated to provide an outstanding island experience. Jam-packed with antique furniture and providing an amazing breakfast buffet every morning, The Century House is perfect for those looking for a more casual Nantucket trip.
FROM LEFT: the Wauwinet at dusk; Brant Point Lighthouse.
Dining Best Bets The Summer House: With a menu designed by famed chef Todd English, this romantic seaside restaurant offers fine dining with a casual flair. thesummerhouse.com
Le Languedoc Bistro: A fantastic French-infl ected restaurant in town with outstanding seafood choices infl uenced by the fresh ingredients of Nantucket and New England. The pan-roasted lobster is out of this world, likewise the soft-shell crab in sauce Provençal and the seared day boat scallops with eggplant and roasted pepper relish. lelanguedoc.com
Óran Mór: This bistro, decorated with old-time nautical accents, features fresher-than-fresh offerings, delectably prepared in a setting reminiscent of a historic Nantucket home. oranmorbistro.com
Where to Shop
Shopping in Nantucket used to mean no chain stores, but now there are boutiques by big names like Ralph Lauren, Shreve, Crump & Low and Jack Wills. A good tip: Head to Murray’s to satisfy your preppy quotient with its famous “Nantucket Red” shorts, pants, skirts or caps.