Nantucket Getaway

Before summer comes to an end, join me for a visit to the idyllic island of  Nantucket. Less than thirty miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the picture perfect island, with lighthouses guarding its shores and beaches edged with sand dunes and sea oats, has an unmistakable New England charm that has attracted artists, writers and thousands of summer visitors for years.

Brandt Point Lighthouse
Brandt Point Lighthouse, The Second Oldest Lighthouse In America

After arriving on the island, either by plane or ferry, take a walking tour down the cobbled streets of downtown and you see evidence of its importance during the late 18th and early 19th century, when its whaling port made it one of the wealthiest communities in America. Brick mansions and grand homes clad in white clapboard, many with widow’s walks perched high on their rooftops, were built for the wealthy sea captains who prospered during the bygone era of whaling. Today, some of those historic buildings are lovely inns, B & B’s and popular restaurants.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slideshow.

Downtown is filled with mixture of trendy high end boutiques, art galleries and antique shops that cater to the wealthy who have summer homes on the island and more affordable clothing, gift and souvenir shops that are popular with the summer crowds that visit the island. One store you shouldn’t miss is Murray’s Toggery Shop which locals think of as Nantucket’s department store but is especially known for  selling “Nantucket red” trousers.

Walk over to wharfs and you will find more boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants as well as the ferry terminal. Docked at the wharfs, you see mega yachts of the rich and famous, sailing boats of all sizes, working fishing boats as well as boats for charter and rental. During the course of the summer, sailboat races with small day sailors such as the Rainbow Fleet or large multi masted America’s Cup boats are held in the nearby waters.

After enjoying all there is to see and do in the downtown area, be sure to take time to visit other parts of the island. Just three and a half miles from downtown, the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum honors the islanders who risked their own lives to save the victims from over 700  shipwrecks in the surrounding waters. The most memorable exhibit is about the tragedy and the rescue of victims from the Andrea Doria. In 1956, the Italian ocean liner, collided with the Swedish ocean liner, Stockholm and sank 45 miles south of Nantucket.

Siasconset or ‘Sconset” as the locals say, is an old fishing village where fisherman’s tiny houses have now been turned into charming little cottages. Stop at Claudette’s for an excellent sandwich then head over to the seaside edge of town for a stroll along the “Bluff Walk” to enjoy wonderful sea views and the impressive bluffs. The high bluffs are slowly being eroded away by fierce storms that ravage the shoreline at certain times of the year. Some of the cliff side homes have become so close to the edge that they will soon need to be moved or lost to the sea.  This is also the area of the island where you can see the Sankaty Head Lighthouse which has been moved three times because of the shoreline erosion.

Besides the natural beauty of the island, one of the things I enjoy while visiting Nantucket, and I believe most people will, are the wonderful homes. It doesn’t matter whether they are a multi-million dollar new house or a small older cottage, all the island homes have an architectural style that is controlled by strict preservation codes. Covered in weathered gray cedar shingles, doors and windows trimmed in white, they are all special in their own way as far as I’m concerned.

With the moist, cool ocean air of summer, gardens tend to thrive on the island and add to the beauty of each home, no matter its size. While some of the large homes are hidden behind huge privet hedges for privacy, many of the cottages are surrounded by white wooden fences, which during summer, are covered with hundreds of pink rose blossoms and honeysuckle. It is nice to be able to walk by slowly and enjoy the sweet smells as you admire the profusion of perennial flowerbeds surrounding the homes.


After our move from New England last September, I didn’t think I would be returning this year but was delighted when good friends, who’ve had a home on Nantucket for years, invited us back for another visit. Being on the island once again was a special treat.

The Beaches Are Edged With Sand Dunes And Sea Oats
The Beaches Are Edged With Sand Dunes And Sea Oats

The rugged beauty of its cliffs constantly pounded by the cold waters of the Atlantic, charming gray shingled cottages with their lush flower gardens, the sweet smell of roses and honeysuckle, all memories that I won’t soon forget. I must thank our dear friends…a week full of laughter, cooking together and reminiscing about our friendships for oh so many years was absolutely wonderful.

If you get a chance to visit the delightful island of Nantucket, even if only for a couple of romantic days, I know you will love its wonderful New England charm. Tell me, have you ever been to the island and if so what made it special to you?




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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

121 thoughts on “Nantucket Getaway

  1. Fantastic place, a great getaway and a fabulous place for an end of summer break. We shall be heading off to our own island tomorrow, we are off to the Ile de Ré, one of the stunning Atlantic islands half an hour from where we live. I guess once you love Islands there is no getting them out of your system!

    1. Hi Susan, Nantucket really is a wonderful place to enjoy before the summer ends. I think you are right, once you have a love affair with islands you always want to visit them. Have a get time at Ile de Ré.

    1. Hi Betsy, I agree with you about Sconset and the roses. They were on the wain all over the island this time of the year but were still beautiful.

  2. I have had the fortunate experience of being in Nantucket a few times. The first time we stayed at the holiday Inn with its swinging old fashioned sign, Loved it all. That was over 30 years ago. I’m sure it has changed. Very few mansions at that time. Quaint blue/grey wooden summer homes blended into the scenery. You rented a bike to ride around and bought the artists pencil sketches that were brilliantly done. I still have them on my wall.

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment Darlene, I do hope you get a chance to visit sometime. It really is wonderful getting together with long time friends…it is such a comfortable and enjoyable time. 🙂

  3. We also have friends who live on Nantucket. We have been many times and will return next summer. I love the daffodil festival on Main St. in the spring with the cars, dogs and people decked out in their spring finery. Love taking the slow ferry to the island.

    1. Hi Penny, Summer in Nantucket is wonderful, isn’t it. Actually most anytime of the year is and who can’t help but love it during the daffodil season and festival.

    1. I appreciate your kind words Kay, thank you. I do hope you get a chance to visit New England and Nantucket sometime, I know you would love it.

  4. Terrific pictures! I’ve never been to Nantucket, and have always wondered whether I should make the effort. You’ve answered the question: Absolutely yes! Really neat post — thanks.

    1. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the photos John and that they might convince you to visit Nantucket. I’m sure you would enjoy the experience. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you for you kind words Fatima, we really did enjoy going back. Nantucket is a special place made all the nicer by spending time there with our friends.

  5. Nantucket looks really beautiful. The beaches made me think of pre-Columbian Basque fishermen, sailing across the Atlantic for cod and then drying it on the beaches, so that it would survive the journey back to Spain.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, The island is as beautiful…I walked everyday with my camera taking in all the beauty. After visiting the Shipwreck museum, you have a renewed respect for sailors. I can’t imagine the hardship those men went through to bring home cod from so far away.

      1. Apparently nobody knew where the basques went to catch their cod and they didn’t let on because they didn’t want competition. It really is quite amazing to think of sailors crossing the Atlantic in tiny fishing boats.

  6. Yes, we were there about ten years ago. We rented bikes and rode for miles and miles. It’s a great place to getaway, and in fact, our son and his family are there right now enjoying some relaxation time. Lovely photos, Karen. that beachside home would probably be my dream house. 🙂

    1. Hi Sylvia, I hope your son and his family are enjoying themselves as much as we did…the weather was perfect. I agree with you about the beachside home, it has such character. Thank you for your nice compliment about the photos, I’m glad you enjoyed them.

    1. Thank you Judy, it was nice to enjoy some of the delightfully cooler weather and no humidity that New England is known for. 🙂 Do try to get to Nantucket some year. We used to drive to Hyannis and then it is just a short flight or ferry ride across.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I’m happy that you enjoyed this little tour and my photos. If you ever plan a trip to New England, you might consider a couple of days on the island.

  7. Wow! Thanks for sharing your pictures! It brings back so many memories! I used to live there and some of my best memories in my life were ACK! I could really use a dose of Nantucket now!

    1. Hi Heather, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and that they brought back nice memories of your time spent living in Nantucket. Those must have been good times.

  8. I visited Nantucket many years ago while I spent an entire, glorious, summer in New England! Your fabulous photos remind me of my trip and how grand different parts of America can be.

    1. Hi Debora, I appreciate your nice compliment about my photos of Nantucket. I’m happy to know that they brought back nice memories from your visit to New England and the island.

    1. Thank you so much Kiki, for your lovely compliment…it is very much appreciated. Perhaps you will get a chance to visit Nantucket someday.

    1. Hi Laura, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and appreciate your nice compliment. Nantucket made for a delightful getaway…it is beautiful and the weather was pleasantly cool compared to Florida.

  9. Beautiful photos, Karen! I was there 10 years ago, and your wonderful post makes me want to go back! I loved seeing the Rose Cottage in Nantucket and have a framed print of it.

    1. Hi Margaret, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post and photos, thank you. Nantucket is so charming, it always makes you want to return. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment about my photos Debra, that is very kind of you. Yes, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island have a very similar look, I’m sure you enjoyed your visit to both.

    1. Hi Norma, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed my little tour, thank you. You picked one of my favorite photos…loved the garden gate with the two benches inside. It really was a lovely home.

  10. Never been there but feel like I’ve had a little visit now. I even showed my husband. It certainly is a beautiful place. You captured some great shots!

    1. Hi Lise, Nantucket really is a lovely place to visit. If you get a chance to go, do take time to see to the whaling museum…it is very interesting.

  11. Sadly have not been much north of NY: so this is a very welcome introduction to an area which I only know by name!

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post Eha, thank you. I know that many of my readers live far away and thought they might be interested in seeing a little of a place they might only have read about.

  12. I have never been to the island, but I am very happy you got to visit it again for a week of fun, food, and sightseeing after your move to Florida! The photos, of course, are outstanding and really show the beauty of the area.

    1. Thank you for your nice thoughts, Kathryn and your compliment about my photos. It was nice to visit the island again and we did really enjoyed spending time with our friends.

  13. I’d love to have a little vacation on Nantucket. I’ve read so much about it and your pictures have inspired me more. We’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard. What is the proximity?


  14. it’s a long distance from California, but I must admit it’s always held a lot of appeal to me. The island definitely has a very distinctive style that seems recognizable even though I’ve never been. I am so glad you had the chance to visit again this year!

    1. Hi Debra, Yes there is quite a distance between our two coasts when it comes to traveling. We did enjoy going back this year…visiting our friends and enjoying the fine weather made it extra special. Thank you for your lovely thought.

  15. Closest I have been is Cape Cod, and I loved our holiday there at a friend’s cottage. Nantucket looks beautiful. How wonderful you were able to visit sooner than you expected.

    1. Hi Gallivanta, Nantucket and the Cape have a similar feel, I’m sure you had a lovely holiday there. I was nice to be back in an area that I love, especially sending quality time with dear friends.

    1. Hi Joanne, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed this post, thank you. October is the perfect time to visit Nantucket. The weather is nice, the prices are down and it is less crowded. Enjoy!

    1. I’m happy that you enjoyed the little tour of Nantucket Fae and appreciate you nice compliment. It is definitely a good place to add to your bucket list.

  16. The Cape is gorgeous this time of year. You have depicted it perfectly, Karen. Don’t you miss living in New England? I miss it, but not quite enough to move back!
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Marigene, I feel exactly like you do…I miss beautiful New England but not enough to face the harsh winters again. It is nice t know that I can go back for a visit though. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post, thank you.

  17. Oh how gorgeous does it look and your photos are so lovely too. i hope one day I get to visit but in the meantime I always wondered what it would look like. kind of another world isn’t it?

    1. Hi Tania, There is a sweet charm about Nantucket that I love, especially the gray weathered and rose covered cottages. I do hope you get a chance to visit the island someday as well as other parts of New England.

  18. I have lived in California my whole life and Nantucket has never even entered my consciousness since the days when I would read the children’s stories about Obadiah the Quaker boy who lived there in another century. Yours are the first scenes I have ever seen of modern-day Nantucket, and your travelogue is delightful and just long enough for someone who is unlikely to ever visit. I don’t know how I stumbled over here, but I’m glad I did. Thank you!!

    1. Hi GretchenJoanna, Thank you for taking the time to visit and your lovely compliment. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed my little tour of Nantucket. 🙂

    1. Hi Beth and Kristy, I’m in total agreement with you about the quaint charm of Nantucket and the island’s lovely homes. Thank you for visiting and your nice comment.

    1. Hi Kiran, I do believe that you would enjoy Nantucket. We certainly enjoyed the nice weather compared to Florida…no humidity and pleasant temperatures. 😀

    1. Hi Lorraine, You just can’t believe all the beautiful homes on the island…one prettier than the next. I try not to get lots of people in my photos but their are crowds on Nantucket in the summer.

  19. I have been to Martha’s Vineyard, but not Nantucket. It’s on my list for sure. Your post is a beautiful tribute to a fabulas vacation destination. Lovely photos too.

  20. Thank you for your kind words Eva, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. I do hope you get a chance to visit Nantucket. Even though it is only 37 miles away from the Vineyard, it has a different feel because the island is so much smaller.

  21. Looks like a wonderful time to be had on Nantucket! Would love to visit there one day. Your photos remind me on Mackinac Island, MI. We were there in 2014 during the lilac festival and it was lovely with the streets filled with horse drawn carriages, beautiful old cottages with an old world feel.

  22. Karen, Your photos are gorgeous and are making me yearn for a quick trip over in the fall! We’ve been there many times and have fond memories of days on the beach and bike rides through the beautiful streets, and ferry rides where we were shivering late at night! We’ve even been stuck there twice due to severe weather that halted the air traffic! It’s such a wonderful place and the architecture, the sea air, and the plantings all make it so special. And there’s an ice cream shop not far from the ferry that makes the most delicious peppermint stick ice cream! I enjoyed your post so much. Linda

  23. What fun, Karen. Love the photos. We adore house tours…often go to Savannah and Charleston for theirs…and while I’ve stayed often on Nantucket, have never been to a house tour there. Or their Christmas walk…which I’d love to do.

  24. LOVELY post, as usually!!! ❤ we spent 2 days there several years ago… guess what: our daughter and her American hubby who live in San Francisco have been in Nantucket since last weekend to spend a few days with his folks… small world! 🙂
    * * *
    my very best, thanx for dropping by my playground and lots of inspiration…

  25. Oh Karen, I was so frustrated – after writing a response about this beautiful island, my finger hit some button or other & poof! gone!!!

    Although we haven’t been a quite a few years other than for a day trip here or there, we used to go every August back in the 70’s/80’s. We used to stay at the Cliff Lodge, up the hill from downtown and when we first started going there it was $18/night for a very nice room with bath. The prices seem to have gone up a bit since then 🙂

    I don’t think there’s any more beautiful vacation spot that has it all – fine dining, gorgeous beaches (we used to bike from downtown to Surfside every day then stop at the Jared Coffin House for drinks outside on the way back).

    I think it is a shame though that the island has become so overpriced & a lot more crowded with the high speed ferry. Before that, it really wasn’t the sort of place to take a day trip. Ah, progress. All I know is that we’d walk by the real estate office downtown every morning on the way to breakfast & look at the pictures of homes for sale in the window. I still remember saying to my husband “look at that gorgeous house on the beach! I’d love to live there all summer but who in the world can afford to pay $125,000?” Can you imagine having a house on the ocean in Nantucket for $125,000? And that was one of the larger, more expensive homes.

  26. What a wonderful part of the US! And most of all, a fascinating post with beautiful photographs. It’s such a pleasure to travel with your blog…

  27. What an awesome post Karen!! Beautiful places every direction you look. And that was so generous of your friend to let you share her home!! Loved the dining room the most– and the was the whole house reflected the place it is located. So glad you got to enjoy such an incredible place! love seeing it!

  28. How nice for you, Karen, to return for a visit to New England at the home of a friend on the beautiful island of Nantucket! We share this experience when we go back for a visit to NY and stay at a dear friend’s house during our visit. We always have a good time together and the visit seems to pass too quickly.

  29. Nantucket has a charm unlike any other, and is truly a romantic paradise. Your pics brought back many lovely memories!

  30. Karen, Although we go to the Cape quite often we haven’t gone over to Nantucket for a few years! When we lived in NYC (pre-kids who are now in their 20s!) we used to fly up to Nantucket for the weekend, and we found ourselves stuck there more than once due to the weather which would prevent the small planes from flying out. We loved it there, and later enjoyed taking the ferry across for day trips, huddling with the kids to keep them warm on the freezing ocean after a day in the sun. Such happy memories–thank you for reminding me. I think we must go back soon. Your photos are fabulous. Linda

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