Plan The Perfect Weekend Getaway To Nantucket

Every New Englander knows summer weekends are best spent escaping to the most magical island in Massachusetts. The quaint village of Nantucket with its cobblestone streets, miles of pristine beaches and gray-shingled cottages set apart by lush colorful hydrangeas is less than 30 miles off Cape Cod.

The near 50-square-mile island was once the whaling capital of the world. Today, almost half of Nantucket’s untouched beauty is protected while the rest is coveted real estate for restaurants, boutique shops and luxury homes. There are direct flights here from Boston, New York and Washington, DC. Cape Air operates regular shuttle service from Hyannis and Boston (which is also their most in-demand route within their flight network); Jet Blue also offers quick nonstop flights from Boston and private charters can fly directly into Nantucket Airport. (Steamship Authority is the only way to take your car over while Hy-Line Cruises offers one-hour high speed ferries for passengers coming directly from the Cape).

Here’s a look at what to see, things to do and where to stay and eat when you are here:

Where to Stay:

The WauwinetPhoto Credit: The Wauwinet

The luxury Wauwinet‘s oceanfront retreat is one of the island’s most historic. Built in 1875, the hotel offers kayaks and paddle boards for a leisurely cruise along the coastline of Nantucket Bay. If you don’t have time for an overnight stay here, the a la carte and prix fixe menus at the on-site restaurant, TOPPER’S, are worth checking out.

White ElephantPhoto Credit: White Elephant

Whether you are looking to stay in a loft near town or a beautiful room on the pristine manicured property offering a waterfront view of Nantucket Harbor, the White Elephant is sure to deliver a luxe stay. The property offers complimentary morning coffee and pastries and an afternoon port wine and cheese hour along with beach shuttles and ferry pickups.

Cottages at Boat BasinPhoto Credit: Cottages at Boat Basin

Traveling with your four-legged family member is no problem at the Cottages at the Boat Basin. They not only allow pets, but roll out the red carpet for dogs here. Stay in one of the pet friendly loft style cottages (known as the Woof Cottages) at the dock of the bay that come complete with a full size kitchen, spacious living room and bedroom where everyone can feel right at home.

The Nantucket Hotel & ResortPhoto Credit: The Nantucket Hotel & Resort

There is no place better suited for a quintessential Nantucket stay than at The Nantucket Hotel. From weekly clambakes to nightly live music on the expansive porch, there is something for every age group to enjoy here. Book a stay in a traditional guest room or opt for a more special suite or cottage for the entire family. Keep an eye out all summer long for the pop-up beer garden on the porch, yoga events followed by beer tastings with Cisco Brewery and the latest fashion being sold at their on-site boutique.

What to Eat:

For brunch or dinner, we recommend checking out Brant Point Grill, which serves up everything from Atlantic halibut filet and a grilled two-pound New England lobster to a 16-ounce prime aged ribeye and potato gnocchi. During the warmer months, request a table on the patio for alfresco dining served up with an incredible view of the surrounding bay.

MET On MainPhoto Credit: MET On Main

One of our favorite lunch spots is MET On Main, best known for their enormous turkey clubs, chopped salads, crispy golden fish and chips, gooey mac and cheese and hearty Bolognese. If you come here for dinner, new this summer (running now through Labor Day), restaurateur Kathy Sidell‘s Back Bay seafood bar and sibling to MET (Saltie Girl) will be making an appearance on the island serving up fresh seafood, tinned fish and caviar.

Where to Go:

Take a stroll along the crushed clam shell lined Old South Wharf, shop the boutiques steps from the dock at Straight Wharf and stop for an afternoon cocktail at The Chicken Box. If you are looking for some adventure, rent a bike from Cook’s Cycles and pedal your way over to Bartlett’s Farm where you can shop for some fresh produce. (Nantucket is small enough that you can easily rent a bike and tour the entire island on a weekend visit).

Every May, the island hosts its annual Nantucket Food & Wine Festival, the ultimate event for foodies and oenophiles. To kick off the summer right, the Nantucket Film Festival is held each June and attracts some of the biggest names in Hollywood from Ben Stiller to Kristen Wiig.

Cisco BreweryPhoto Credit: Cisco Brewery

Near Bartlett’s Farm is Cisco Brewery, the island’s local beer maker, winery and distillery. Order up a flight for a sampling of the specialty beers on tap to go along with an order of freshly shucked oysters, Grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables and relax in the sun with some live music for a memorable escape.

Nantucket Whaling MuseumPhoto Credit: Nantucket Whaling Museum

Before you head off the island, you won’t want to miss checking out the historic exhibits on display at the Whaling Museum like the forty-six-foot-long whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. Stroll through the galleries and exhibit spaces featuring thousands of artifacts and art through your own leisurely tour of the museum.

OlivelaPhoto Credit: Olivela

Olivela opened its first boutique on Nantucket earlier this year. The pop-up has a curated summer collection from some haute designers including Dior, Stella McCartney, Fendi, Aquazzura and Giuseppe Zanottii. A portion of proceeds from the sale of every item will benefit one of Olivela’s charitable partners (Malala Fund, CARE and Too Young To Wed) to support the education of girls around the world.