Looking for an unforgettable vacation? Head to magical Nantucket, a small island 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Travel blogger Sher She Goes shares the secrets behind this charming getaway.
Although commonly considered a destination reserved for New England’s elite, Nantucket Island is at once sophisticated but welcoming, secluded yet accessible. Everyone from families to couples to solo travelers can enjoy what this New England paradise has to offer. Read on to unlock its secrets.
Enjoy Cape Cod hospitality
Spend any amount of time in Massachusetts in summer and, inevitably, you’ll hear talk of “heading to the Cape” or “going down the Cape.” Lying south of New Hampshire and Maine yet still in the heart of New England is Cape Cod, the Massachusetts vacation destination known for its friendly locals and keen sense of New England hospitality.
Cape Cod’s most popular destination is probably Martha’s Vineyard, a large island in the southwestern section of Cape Cod dotted with lighthouses, stunning beaches and cliffs, and steeped in rich history as a former whaling hub. But the part of Cape Cod I most enjoyed was Nantucket. Because it’s only accessible by airplane or ferry, the secluded the island is an incredibly private place to unwind and recharge!
Bike a New England paradise
While you could pay to have your car shipped to the island via ferry at a very steep rate, bicycle is a much preferred method of transportation in Nantucket. Nearly every hotel offers bike rentals to its guests, and, if you’re just taking a day trip, there are plenty of bicycle companies throughout the island offering rentals at attractive rates. Once you’ve got your ride, feel free to hit up all the beaches, shops and lighthouses Nantucket has to offer. There are bicycle stands everywhere, and very few (if any) restricted areas, so keep calm and ride on!
Scope the gorgeous sights of Siasconset
For one of the most beautiful places on an already beautiful island, venture to Siasconset, a village on Nantucket Island’s far eastern shore. Originally settled as a fishing village in the 17th century, Siasconset began gaining fame in the late 20th century as it became a second home for celebrities such as George Fawcett, William DeWolf Hopper and Margalo Gillmore. Today, Siasconset, or “Sconset” as locals affectionately call the village, is known for its spacious homes adorned with plenty of cedar, pastel colors and gorgeously-manicured landscapes. Whether you’re looking for a family portrait or that next hot Instagram shot, definitely don’t leave Nantucket without seeing what Siasconset has to offer!
Gaze at incredible lighthouses
Lighthouses are practically an official symbol of New England and Nantucket Island doesn’t disappoint. While the island boasts only three lighthouses, each is uniquely evocative of New England charm. First there is Brant Point Lighthouse, which lies in north-central Nantucket Island. What this lighthouse lacks in stature (at 26 feet tall, it is the island’s shortest) it makes up for in its understated beauty and picturesque walkway.
Next there is the 70-foot Great Point Lighthouse, which, lying on the far northeastern tip of Nantucket Island, is by far the most remote of the island’s lighthouses. The all-white lighthouse is rather bland itself, but the windswept marshes and utter seclusion make Great Point a sight to behold.
Finally, there is the Sankaty Head Light, a 70-foot lighthouse situated just a 30-minute walk north of Siasconset. With its quintessentially New England red-and-white stripes, the Sankaty Head and its unique look should definitely top your lighthouse-hunting list!
Go back in time at the Whaling Museum
Up until the 18th century, whaling was one of New England’s—and the world’s—most daring, demanding, dangerous and lucrative industries. New England was the center of this wildly profitable (and controversial) industry and today the Nantucket Whaling Museum is the island’s testament to this complex past.
Open every day from late May through New Year’s Eve, the Nantucket Whaling Museum, which was renovated and expanded in 2005, covers every angle of the New England whaling trade, from the commercial to the historic to even the scientific (yes, there are whale skeletons!). It has twice been accredited by the American Association of Museums, an honor that is bestowed on less than 5% of all museums in America!
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