When the words “I’m taking an island vacation” are announced, a vision ensues — one filled with an assortment of palm trees, tiki torches and tropical tall glasses overflowing with the coconut froth of piña coladas, coupled with the beat of steel drums upon entrance. The island I reference in this story, however, is adorned with oak trees, and the drinks are anything but tropical, but of sophisticated elegance in wine and martinis. The welcome sound of steel drums is replaced with the vibratory sound of luggage wheels I drag along cobblestone streets.
Less than a two-hour car ride away, the ferry to Nantucket awaits. From Hyannis, one hour on the Hy-Line will land you on this island of choice for a few days of rest and relaxation. For Ben and me, the timing was right, thanks to social media photos; we had a good idea of what flora would be in bloom by the images posted. And that’s all I needed to see.
We opted to take the Hy-Line ferry since passage from Cape Cod to Nantucket was only an hour, but if you want more time to relax and let your busy life slowly fade like waves in the distance, there is always the choice to hop on the Steamship Authority ferry.
As soon as the ferry docked, we descended the stairs onto the boardwalk, where our complimentary shuttle took us to The Nantucket Hotel via a mini tour of the downtown area. As we turned onto Easton Street, there was no denial as to which building would be our weekend home. Built in 1891, The Nantucket Hotel stood in front of us in all its grandeur. The combination of soft green clapboards, classic natural weathered shingles, and white trim complemented the hotel’s two vintage vehicles parked in the driveway. Once inside, I noted the décor was a masterful blend of vintage items, fun, yet elegant fabrics, and modern touches such as the metal steampunk whale art behind the reception desk.
A visual pause, introduction to the concierge, distribution of room keys, and we were ready to explore our suite. Again, I take in the design of the space — a habit developed from having been in the interior design and event planning field for over 20 years. I thrive on visual presentation and ambiance, and surmise that I am standing in what was once an attic but now a two-room suite, complete with mini-fridge, microwave, and a Murphy bed for additional guests. From our windows, a birds-eye view led to historic homes with rooftops with cupolas and weathervanes and the ocean, which seemingly hugs this beloved island.
During the off-season, many shops and restaurants may be closed, but the Breeze Bar and Café, just off the lobby of the hotel, offers a continental breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a Sunday brunch. Our plan was to keep an easy pace, spending one morning, afternoon, and evening meal at the hotel, and then stroll downtown to dine and enjoy libations with the local island residents.
A spa treatment during my stay was an option, but we opted for a morning workout in the impressive gym, complete with free weights, circuit training machines, and treadmills. Complimentary iPads were available, pre-loaded with Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu — perfect for long walks on the treadmill.
If treadmills are not your forté, the hotel offers several maps of suggested streets for long walks and bike rides. We started to follow one of the suggested walks, but soon became distracted by other streets that caught our eyes. Yes, we were “misplaced” once, but it worked out for us since we wanted to follow the coast and this is exactly where we ended up to view beautiful summer homes standing proud, as if patiently awaiting the arrival of families. I could envision people smiling as they rode by on their bicycles, complete with baskets in front, stopping for cookouts at a neighbor’s home where they would partake in games of croquet. A glimpse in the backyards reveals the vessel of choice, whether sail or motorboats in all shapes and sizes that dot the coastline, white sails catching the wind off in the distance.
The harsh winter of New England is a but a distant memory with the warm weather upon us, but knowing The Nantucket Resort is the only year-round resort on the island, we know we’ll be back soon, for another quick island getaway.