From dawn to dusk, here’s how to spend one day in Nantucket. If your private air plane is in the shop, you might want to arrive by Hy-Line Cruises, where children travel free and you can arrive quickly to get your day started. The boats are clean and comfortable and the boarding process goes extremely smoothly even during peak summer travel.
Once you de-board, prepare to be surrounded by a swell of fellow tourists as you funnel out of the docking area and into the town. You can start the morning with the Whaling Museum, but be prepared to shell out about $20 for adults. Otherwise, head on out to the lighthouse, which is free. It’s a bit of a hike from the Whaling Museum to the lighthouse, but if the weather is pleasant the journey is half the fun.
Then dust the sand off your feet and walk back towards the town for a look through some of the most amazing antique stores. Love old books? Don’t be surprised to find first edition James Bond series novels or original Wizard of Oz series prints with perfect binding. Many of these stores are housed in historical buildings as well, so be sure to read the cornerstones or ask the shop keepers about its history. When we asked about their favorite items, many shop keepers were happy to show us items we never would have noticed on our own. You’ll also find quintessential New England style pieces at the Eric Holch Gallery.
Unless you plan to spend $35 for one hand towel, you probably won’t purchase anything along Main Street, but you should still pop in anyway. If you enjoy Pottery Barn, you’ll have died and gone to heaven as you pour over the “real” items that inspire what’s in their catalogue. Hunting for old maps or photographs of old ships? Even the local bookstores display original prints dating back to the late 1800s.
For lunch, you can either stay along Main Street, head back towards the docks, or gather up a picnic to take to the beach. There are several restaurants offering al fresco dining near the water, but surprisingly, none are actually on the water – only the million dollar yachts get that precious view. We love the calamari and clam chowder, even though it was hot outside.
If you lunch near the docks, you’ll be right near the bike rentals. And, now, unlike in the morning when you first arrived, there won’t be a flurry of crowds. (If you happen to be staying in town, some of the bike rental shops will deliver the bikes to your door!) Love long rides? Sconset offers up to 19 miles of wide paved paths and is probably the most popular choice. Prefer something short and flat? Try Surfside Beach. A mere 23.5 miles of sand and sun.
For your return trip, choose the slower boat ferry so you can soak up those last few rays of sun on their upper class deck. This ticket will also get you a cheese and cracker tray and a lively bartender. Oh and don’t forget to grab a couple scoops of Nantucket ice cream before you leave!