Not so long ago, Toad&Co Ambassador Gretchen Powers spent a weekend on Cape Cod’s Nantucket Island. Between cobbled stone streets and historic lighthouses, Gretchen found an island filled with picturesque landscapes and classic East Coast eats. Here’s her run down on all things Nantucket.
Nantucket, the timeless star of many classic summer beach reads, is an idyllic island of quaint homes, windy beaches, and summer love. Or so I’ve read. This small island, about 30 miles by ferry south of Cape Cod, MA, has a year-round population of roughly 10,000. This seemingly quiet destination can swell to nearly 50,000 souls during the summer months, so timing is everything for a trip to the fabled Nantucket. My partner, Kaleigh, and I were lucky enough to sneak out to the island just as the trees were blooming and before the summer crowds arrived. We were in search of a bit of adventure coupled with some tasty food and drink. I was secretly nervous that my dreams of the island wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
On the morning of our first day on Nantucket, Kaleigh and I woke up to the peaceful sounds of raindrops on our tin roof. The weather report showed a break in the rain later in the day and as soon as I saw a sliver of sunshine I turned to Kaleigh and said, “We are going to bike out to Brant Point Lighthouse and we’re going now!” While we enjoyed walking the cute, cobbled streets and sipping beers at Cisco under umbrellas, we were thrilled to shed our rain gear and get out for a bicycle-powered adventure.
We scurried down to the main strip of bike rental shops, snagging two robin’s egg blue cruisers from Joe at the Nantucket Bike Shop and we were off! We pedaled past dozens of cute houses en route to the lighthouse and made record time (I’m sure). Just as we rolled up to the lighthouse we were able to see a ferry coming into the harbor – so perfectly East Coast! Brant Point Light was built in 1746 and sits right at the mouth of the harbor where all the big boats come in. It turned out to be one of the best vantage points for checking out the dozens of boats entering the harbor.
As we explored the grounds of the historic lighthouse, we could see the next batch of clouds coming in from the distance. Regardless, we still took the long way back, past the Coast Guard Station and through neighborhoods full of late-18th century-style cedar-shingled houses. They were perfectly picturesque with ivy running up trellises and brown, weathered shingles that spoke of a storied past. We bounced across the cobbled streets, returning to the bike shop just as the first drops of rain were pitter-pattering around us.
After exploring Nantucket, I was so happy to find that the island lived up to my expectations. The best thing about Nantucket, aside from the beautiful beaches, authentic historical architecture, and the friendly people, is just how bike-able the island is. Though the rain put a bit of a damper on our full biking potential, most major roads have paved bike paths alongside so you can safely bike from corner to corner of the island. If you’re looking for an adventure worthy of a summer beach read or want to take a step back in time, Nantucket is not to be missed. There’s no doubt we’ll be back soon to enjoy more of the good company, bike paths and white sandy beaches.
East coast style may be just as iconic as east coast light houses. Blend in with the locals in poppy colors, polka dots and stripes. Stay cool lightweight, organic cotton, and quick drying fabrics. Add a lobster bib for a finishing touch! Check out our picks for a one-bag weekend on the cape.