Truly magical, mystical and other worldly, Nantucket is known as the “faraway” island. Wondering what all the fuss was about, we planned a last minute splurgy getaway to check out the sites and bites… Here’s a few highlights from what proved to be a quintessential all-American East Coast summer vacation!
Our dear friend and amazing Michelin starred chef Neil Ferguson has recently taken over ownership of the lovely American Seasons restaurant, so we made sure this was the cornerstone of our pilgrimage to ACK.
Food options on the island are incredible given the picky and discerning regulars such as the likes of Maria Shriver – who is much prettier and quite petite in person when we passed by her on the cobblestone street in town.
Oysters and Raw Bar:
Cru – super chic, splurgy and evidently quite the scene. Oysters and clam chowder were seriously the best we’ve ever had. So much so that we went back for lunch on our last day to do a round 2 visit. Worth the splurge and it’s dreamy to watch the sailboats and yachts parallel park in the busy harbor. Another great spot for raw bar was Cisco Brewery. Live music, hand crafted beers and a plastic plate full of oysters and crab claws was an amazing way to spend a few hours post beach.
Smoked Bluefish Pate:
Toppers – we ordered the bluefish pate not knowing it was an island specialty. What a treat to pair with something crisp and light from their amazing wine list. I mean, there’s half a page dedicated just to Château d’Yquem! Happy sigh… We took advantage of the one rainy pouring day to have a destination posh lunch which did not disappoint.
Farm to Table:
American Seasons – obviously we are bias due to Chef Ferguson, but the vibe here is so warm and cozy – no wonder it’s an island favorite. Earthy and rustic. Highlights include the pillowy and melt in your mouth gnocchi with chanterelles, and the rich and buttery sockeye salmon. Upon arrival we ponied up to the bar and ordered a round of Sunny’s Old Fashioned, which paired well with the golden puff pastry and pear appetizer. Buzzy, sophisticated atmosphere. On the walk back to the White Elephant we were coated in a blanket of stars and got to see the meteor shower! Truly memorable.
We made a last minute reservation post-Pops concert at Oran Mor Bistro, where we had the most incredible roasted chicken, prepared sous vide. We were completely blown away! So juicy! So flavorful! Standing ovation! Oran Mor is located in a historic home with wonderful combination of old world, friendly ghost vibe. Another unexpected hit was the summer corn bisque from Dune. We pretty much had to stop ourselves from licking the bowls. Seriously, this was crack soup.
Provisions – prior to saddling up the tandem bike, we stopped by here to pick up an Italian (sandwich that is – amazing), Cape Cod chips and waters to pack for our ride out to Cisco Beach. There are several other great spots for picnic items (Something Natural was a recommendation) which we’ll be sure to try next time.
Boston Pops Outdoor Concert at Jetties Beach – supposedly this is THE event of the summer social calendar. Despite the ‘no glass’ policy on the website, just about every single group had bottles of vino and beers with full on living room style set ups. The sunset here was literally show stopping, as the orchestra stopped mid-tune to let everyone get their requisite #nantucketsunset photos in.
Whaling Museum – unintentionally we arrived just in time for the 45 minute “movie” which was actually more of a touristy introduction to Nantucket. Slight yawn, but the fascinating things to see here are the sailing captain log books and the Nantucket history time line. Oh, and the huge whale skeleton overhead dreaming of Moby Dick.
Beaches – a weekend doesn’t give enough time to venture to all of them, but we managed to bike out to dreamy Cisco Beach (favorite) and Jetties Beach (geared towards families given the calm / shallow water) which were both picturesque and relaxing.
Mostly due to the last minute nature of the trip and lack of availability elsewhere, we “had” to splurge at the White Elephant Hotel, which is perfectly located two minutes from the center of town. Planned in advance it appears that there are plenty of lodging options for every budget and style, both land and sea. High marks go to White Elephant Hotel’s impeccable service, chic décor and friendly vibe. Who can resist the 4pm daily Port and cheese in the library and popcorn delivery service in inclement weather? Simply fabulous.
Given the ease of getting there from NYC, we’re already popping our collars, throwing on our Lily dresses and planning our next visit back to the faraway island…