A stop at The Juice Bar for the best ice cream on the island
Read Day One on Nantucket.
Read Day Two on Nantucket.
I woke up in my bed at The White Elephant on the third (and final) day on Nantucket feeling like it was Christmas morning. I was on the afternoon ferry back to Hyannis and there so many things still yet to do on the itinerary. I laced up my running shoes, went for a run along the beach, showered and got ready for the day. Then I headed into town.
the whale ornament from The Hub now lives on my desk
Come with me!
9am The Hub (31 Main Street, 508 325 0200)
The Hub is a well known meeting spot on Nantucket. It's also where you pick up newspapers, greeting cards or mermaids made out of seashells. Here I grabbed an iced coffee, a bagel and a small whale ornament for my desk and sat on a bench on Main St. just people watching. I love mornings in a beach town. Locals and tourists alike glow with that bit of a tan you get just from being on an island in the summer.
9:30am Mitchell's Book Corner (54 Main Street, 508 228 1080)
There is a bookstore called Mitchell's that is a local icon. You'll find it right across the street from The Hub. Sure it has new books and smart staff to help you choose the perfect beach read but walk up stairs and you'll find yourself in the Nantucket Reading Room. Here you can find Nantucket themed books from non-fiction to history and cookbooks. There are also a trove of books written by local authors like Elin Hildebrand ("The Island") and Nathaniel Philbrick ("In the Heart of the Sea"). If you're lucky you just might be able to get an autographed copy.
I picked up a gift for a friend who love Philbrick and placed an advanced order for Hilderbrand's new book due out this summer. (Note: I asked the staff if it would be possible for Nathaniel Philbrick to autograph the book for my friend since Nathaniel lives on the island and sure enough he did autograph it a few days later when he was in the store and they shipped it right to my friend. Another reason to love bookstores like Mitchell's.)
10:30 Inside the Graveyards Tour (Meet outside the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce)
I know this may not seem like a traditional beach town activity but to be honest, this was one of the most touching activities of the trip. Boarding a van driven by Elliot, we stopped at three of the most historic cemeteries on the island. As we walked through the graveyards, Robin, the tour guide, gave us a history of the location as well as some of the more renowned people now residing there. In the hush of the morning with just the birds singing I stepped softly in these resting places. I stopped at a grave for a child who died in the 1700's and read the marker. I closed my eyes and said a prayer for Emmalina.
1:00pm Lunch at Arno's (41 Main Street, 508 228 7001)
The funny thing about life is that the universe will put people in your path for a reason. I believe this. During our graveyard tour, I found Elliot (our driver) so interesting that I asked him if he would have lunch with me and so we had lunch together at Arno's. This interesting character has lived on Nantucket his entire life (with the exception of travels around the world.) He, this grandfather, is one of the happiest and most content people I've ever met.
As we ate (one of the best fish sandwiches I have ever had) I listened as Elliot spoke about island life and his family and the importance of pursuing what's important to you. I wondered if part of my reason for traveling to Nantucket was to meet Elliot and learn from him. You follow your dreams, you care for others, you go for it. It was a very good lunch.
With my ferry leaving just after 4pm, I had about an hour to shop. Nantucket has the requisite candy shops (Nantucket Chocolatier, One Cambridge Street), art galleries and t-shirt shops but I wanted to take something home that was small and would remind me daily of my trip. I stopped into Nantucket Natural Oils (12 Straight Wharf, 800 223 8660) and over the course of 30 minutes I inhaled the scents of Nantucket. As we dabbed the natural custom-made oils on my pulse points I settled on one that instantly made me happy. It was called Nantucket Dunes. I am wearing it right now and I am reminded of sunshine, salt air, morning runs on the beach and the glow I felt just being on the island.
I stopped into The Sunken Ship for a new Nantucket sweatshirt and quickly ran back to The White Elephant to meet the driver who would take me back to the ferry dock with the bags.
4:35 Ferry to Hyannis
I boarded the ferry back to Hyannis and headed for a seat on the upper outside deck. I was leaving what was a magical trip. They say that what you remember is how something made you feel. You can see the Grand Canyon and appreciate the vastness but you will remember standing there with your toes so close to the edge that in that moment you felt small, and you wondered how all of this came to be. As I watched the edges of Nantucket disappear what I remembered was how I felt when I was on this little island 30 miles off the coast of Nantucket. I felt happy and settled. My heart soared as I ran along the beach. Isn't that exactly how a place should make you feel?
An hour later I stepped off the boat. In my bag I had a sweatshirt and perfume but in my heart I had...joy.