ESCAPE TO NANTUCKET
When you come down with a severe case of I-need-to-really-get-away wanderlust, there’s no better remedy than an island escape. With a finite number of activitiesnot to mention square milesan island offers limited distractions as well as a distinctly unique take on modern life. You won’t find a coffee chain on every corner, people wear bathing suits instead of power suits, and rush hour refers to the time of day when the fishing vessels return to port. Being on an island encourages you to savor simple pleasures like taking a barefoot stroll along a deserted beach, losing yourself in a great book, and dining on the freshest “catch of the day.”
Your most difficult decision, really, is which island to pick. Or maybe it isn’t so difficult.
One of the most enchanting and enjoyable islandsNantucketdoesn’t require a change of currency and is a quick flight from New York or Boston, or a fun wind-in-your-hair ferry ride from the mainland. This Massachusetts island might not have swaying palm trees and nightly luaus, but Nantucket does have nearly 100 miles of coastline, picturesque dunes, andlest you think it’s got too much Yankee practicalitya surprisingly vibrant nightlife. The island can sometimes get lost in the shadow of its popular sister, Martha’s Vineyard, but while the masses knock elbows on the Vineyard, you can enjoy island delights and breathing room on Nantucket.
The island is about 50 miles in size, and nearly half of that is conservation land. You can bring your car or rent one once you arrive, but you certainly don’t have to (and you might not want to if you’re traveling during the height of summer, when finding a parking spot can be something of a nightmare). The island has terrific public transit and a series of paved trails that make rented bicycles and mopeds a fun and convenient alternative. Nantucket Town is the island’s only urban expression; with a bustling port and equally bustling Main Street, this is the place to be when you’re feeling social. As you make your way along its cobblestones streets, passing tony boutiques and 18th-century buildings, you’ll probably have the sense it’s just as likely you’ll pass Giorgio Armani as Herman Melville. Here, a luxurious yet casual island style is intertwined with a long and fabled history, and it’s not often that you experience one without the other.
The quiet northeast corner of the island is the mirror opposite of Nantucket Town and is home to a most luxe resort, The Wauwinet. This serene lodging is a member of Relais & Chateaux and has an ideal location, an idyllic setting, and white glove service. It’s home to Spa by the Sea, its luxe spa that offers several signature treatments, like the Atlantic Seaweed Wrap, featuring local and sea-inspired ingredients, and TOPPER’S, its internationally acclaimed five-star restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, like Butter Basted Nantucket Lobster, in a sophisticated yet very relaxed and casual setting.
The Wauwinet also has a bevy of special offerings that will surprise and delight you. After greeting each new day in your cocoon of a guest room or cottage, take your pick from 100 or so activities, most of them complimentary and all of them fun. Enjoy yoga on one of two private beaches, go surfcasting or kayaking, learn how to make cranberry cocktails, go lobstering, or do nothing more strenuous than taking an aromatherapy nap in the Chef’s Herb Garden.
Even if you have no inclination to leave the resort, The Wauwinet makes it easy for you to get to Nantucket Town with a boat ride on The Wauwinet Lady, on-the-hour jitney service, and bicycle rentals. Try to plan time to hit the links at the year round, public golf course, Miacomet Golf Club (as a guest of Wauwinet, you have a guaranteed tee time), shop for the most exquisite heirloom blankets, rugs, and shawls at Island Weaves, take in an amazing sunset at Madaket (located on the western coast), and end the day with a literal taste of Nantucket at Isle Drink or dance the night away to live music at The Chicken Box.
When you leave Nantucket and return home to the real world, it might just seem strange to pass a coffee chain on every corner, see people wearing power suits, and find yourself stuck in rush hour trafficand that’s just the kind of agreeable change in perspective an exceptional island vacation will give you.