Nantucket, MA is an island rich with history, fresh seafood and scenic ocean views. Perhaps you know of the Island from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” or its annual and internationally renowned sailboat race, Figawi. Authentically historic, there’s a feeling of nostalgia in the Island’s breeze, and its 18th century roots are shown off in the shops nestled close together with hand-painted signs clanking above the entryways, tiny alleys cluttered with shoppers, and chunky cobblestone walking paths.
With the help of our friend Abby Capalbo, we’ve assembled a quick and easy guide for those planning a day or weekend trip to the ACK (a local nickname derived from the Nantucket Airport’s call letters).
WHAT TO PACK:
Nantucket has a dress code all its own – preppy, relaxed and beachy. Double-check that you’ve packed plenty of items to protect you from long days in the sun. This includes a hat to shield your face, and a full bottle of sunscreen.
Then, stuff your suitcase with all the essentials for small island exploration: a camera to capture the lighthouses, wharf, beaches, and cobblestoned streets; comfy shoes to walk and bike; and, believe it or not, a wrap to cover up when it gets cold along the water. Since the island is often fog-bound, the chances of getting chilly – even in the hot summer months – are high. They don’t call Nantucket “The Grey Lady” for nothing!
HOW TO TRAVEL:
Those visiting the island should ride as the locals do – on two wheels! Rent a beach cruiser for the day to get a true sense of the island. There are over 30 miles of bike paths, all of which offer a unique way to explore.
WHERE TO GO:
Whatever your goal, there are plenty of must-sees and delicious eats to indulge in during your time in Nantucket. First stop: the art galleries located near the harbor and Old South Wharf. Visit to see amazing collections of landscapes and coastal scenes by local artists.
Next, wander back in time with a trip to the Whaling Museum, located in the original candle-making factory in Nantucket. The museum is over 80 years old and currently includes an exhibit on the legend behind Moby Dick. Back in its prime, Nantucket was once the hub for the whaling industry and has maintained the look and feel of this time period since the industry declined in the 1850s.
Once you’ve had your fill of history, pop into the Club Car for a drink to refuel and perhaps even a tapa while you’re at it. This Nantucket staple is in a refurbished railway car, featuring California Cuisine and a menu full of your seafood favorites.
Close your day with a stop at Bodega on Candle Street for light shopping of all the housewares you can imagine – candles, table settings, throws, you name it.
There’s a reason people fall in love with the ACK. Above all, our recommendation is to make it your next day trip and experience the charm firsthand.