There are some that say Nantucket has lost its charm and it is nothing but a label to wear by the nouveau riche. Well, while I do think it can increase in numbers to a crazy amount in the summer months, I still think it has kept its beauty and charm with its grey wooden houses, beautiful sandy beaches, bike trails and lighthouses. Now a designated National Historic District, Nantucket offers those of us desperate for a break a sublime retreat that makes you feel like you are miles away from any city center.
Last weekend I joined some friends so that we could celebrate my friend’s mum’s 70th birthday. As it was also my own birthday, it gave me a great excuse to ignore it and enjoy the festivities for someone else. Five older ladies who were a riotous time plus four younger women descended off the boat onto the island for a great weekend.
There are a few ways to get to Nantucket, my preference is to drive to Hyannis, which on this early Saturday morning was an easy 1.5 hours’ drive from Boston. I had already pre-paid for three days of parking at the Hy-Line Ferry, which I highly recommend everyone does. We got on the Grey Lady high speed ferry and arrived in Nantucket exactly one hour later. A round trip ticket costs $77.
My friend had booked a house with Harborview rentals as a treat for her mum and her friends. Our two-floor, four bedroomed house sat right on the beach and had morning views of the water, which could bring a tear to any overworked person’s eye. Even though I was awoken by intensely bright sunlight streaming into my room at 5.30am, I didn’t mind at all. I got up made coffee, wrapped myself in a blanket and allowed the scenery to take my work and getting a year older stresses away. I would absolutely use Harborview again for a trip. I love the fact that it was walking distance to the main town.
Dining was plentiful and occasionally over indulgent. As soon as we arrived, Lucy and I didn’t even drop our bags off at the house. Instead we met Jaimee and Marge, our two other friends at the ferry drop off and started our weekend of eating at Cru Oyster Bar. Just sitting outside on a glorious 70 degree day was enough for me to say this place is great, but with a plate of briny oysters, crispy salads, fresh made cocktails and attentive service it was made perfect.
For the big birthday celebration we dined at Galley Beach, which had just opened that night for the season. This place is simply gorgeous and has a menu price point not for the faint-hearted. Cocktails alone are $19 each. After being seated in a semi-private nook cozy enough for eight ladies, we were spoiled with crab cake, grilled octopus, halibut with saffron potatoes and wagyu beef. My only nitpick is that they should have a few reasonably priced, good bottles of wine. There are many out there, which wouldn’t affect their high-end status. That said, everything was excellent, especially our outstanding waiter, Fernando.
By Sunday Jaimee’s husband and son had arrived. All of the friends had left and we were stuck for somewhere to go as some places had still not opened for the season. With it also being their 5th wedding anniversary we decided on another celebratory night and booked a table at the incredible TOPPERS at The Wauwinet. Along with having the champagne ready for us which I had ordered ahead of time, they had handwritten cards both for Jaimee and her husband and myself from the chef asking us to enjoy the evening. The menu while also pricey is inspirational and worthy of its praise. Jaimee’s butter poached lobster with tagliatelle was just fantastic. My halibut was beautifully presented and tasted just as good. TOPPERS is truly one of the best restaurants I think I have ever been to.
For a little more casual eating, we stopped by Bartlett Farm’s and picked up lobster rolls, pulled pork sandwiches and bean salad to complement our Nantucket wines at Cisco Brewers. This is a great wholefoods type place to pick up fresh foods for a picnic.
We spent our days freely walking around the historic district of downtown Nantucket enjoying all of the little shops and buying trinkets and Nantucket sweatshirts we didn’t necessary need. Its just what you do 🙂
We drove over to Cisco Brewers, which offers tours of the brewery and enjoyable beer and wine tastings as well as fun daily events and live music. I will be writing a full review of Cisco, specifically Nantucket Wines soon but for now I will say I was surprised by how good the wines are. We did a great wine tasting with a favorite for me being the Left Hand Red, which has a bit of a story behind the label. Sat outside at a picnic table enjoying a Left Hand Red and a lobster roll from Bartlett Farms made for a very happy afternoon.
There is so much more to do on Nantucket and I am looking forward to another visit soon. Perhaps I will even rent a bike and try out their trails.