Nantucket… the Grey Lady… #ACK… Whatever you call this island thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod, a trip here will change you. Known for cobblestone streets, elegant shopping, and surf-raked beaches, Nantucket Island is a unique place that should be on your bucket list.
I could not spend the summer on Cape Cod without exploring this famous destination. From Woods Hole, my friend and I drove an hour on a weekday to Hyannis to catch the 8 am high speed ferry (passenger tickets are $50 Monday-Thursday, $77 otherwise).
Parking in Hyannis is offered offsite at multiple locations ($15 parking fee per calendar day) with a free shuttle to the ferry dock. You can pay more to park across the street in private lots, if there is room left.
Nantucket Main Street
The cobble stone Main Street is lined with high end boutiques, beautiful flower displays, old school street lamps and expensive restaurants. Many of the shoppers were tricked out in high prep – nantucket red shorts, pants with whales, pink sweaters and blue blazers — great fun people watching. The streets are lined with antique Cape Cod style saltbox houses left over from Moby Dick’s era, back when Nantucket was a metropolis of whaling fortunes. For history geeks, be sure to add the Old Whaling Museum to your itinerary.
An old friend with #ACK cred recommended the Handlebar Cafe which was easy to find, made a sweet cup of Joe and offered healthy breakfast options at a reasonable price. Got to love their Instagram feed too!
Near the coffee shop, we hopped on the Nantucket WAVE. This local bus system runs regularly to all the island hot spots. We decided to explore Surfside Beach on the south side of the island, a fifteen minute bus ride from the center of town ($1.25/person). Surfside Beach is a great place for a long stroll searching for shells, sand dollars and Nantucket blue sea glass.
We soaked our share of sun, took a dip in the salty Atlantic then decided to head back to town for a cold one at the Cisco Brewery. On the free shuttle service which departs from Federal Street every 20 minutes, the brewery driver gives you fun facts including his tongue -in-cheek warning to watch out for loose kids, saying “…this is the time of year where a lot of families come out and pretend they have never even had children…” He did a great job welcoming us to the Cisco vibe.
Enjoying our flight of beer samples, the bartender taught us a dice game, adding a playful touch to the beer tasting experience. We attempted to roll high and lost, but someone was bound to get lucky and win a pile of nickels!
Even if you are not a huge beer drinker, there are also wine tastings, the Triple Eight distillery and some great ciders on draft. With live music, food trucks and a super fun atmosphere, it was hard for us to leave authentic Cisco Brewery.
The fast ferry home gave us time to reflect on our trip to Nantucket Island. The Grey Lady is a place of extraordinary physical beauty, great people watching and lots of fun destinations. Another amazing day trip from my perch this summer at the Woods Hole Inn.