Nantucket Day trip

Island of Nantucket, some 30 miles off the Southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a popular summer destination (when its population grows to 80,000).   Over the years, we have come to love our 3-season day trips to  Martha’s Vineyard (another island off the coast of Cape Cod), but we have a lot of catching up to do with Nantucket day trips.  (We typically do our day trips during our stays on Cape Cod; day trips from Boston are possible but would make for very long days)

Planning Your Day Trip to Nantucket:  While there are several neighborhoods to explore on a longer visit, Nantucket is centered around one town and is easy to enjoy on relaxing day trip. Things are looking pretty the minute you get off the boat and once you leave the port area, you find yourself in the middle of town. You could spend your entire day walking within a couple of miles of the port – shopping, sipping cocktails, relaxing on the beach by the lighthouse and admiring historic architecture on cobblestone streets.

Here is a 40 second short video account of our day.

Getting There  Boating to the island is always half the fun for me.  For this trip we chose the (speed 1-hr ferry) Hy Line cruises from Hyannis on Cape Cod – they run the most number of ferries each day (up to 9 each way in the summer).  If you need to bring your car- you would have to book a regular Steamship Authority ferry (from Hyannis) which takes over 2 hrs each way (they also run speed passenger-only ferries but currently offer fewer ferries).

We took 11:20  am ferry to Nantucket from Hyannis for our day trip and 7:05 ferry back: we had a relaxing day in downtown Nantucket – but in a hindsight we could have taken a later ferry as well to explore some of the side streets in the downtown.

This is how we spent our day trip in downtown Nantucket with our extended family group of 7 adults and teens.

We arrived in a Nantucket port area and walked forward right onto Main Street.  We spent some time looking for a cute coffee shop to have our “second cups” of espresso but other than to go option from Island Coffee Roasters on Broad street we could not find any.  This was the only “hiccup” on our plan which we quickly corrected during the second stop of our Nantucket Day Trip – at White Elephant Hotel.   (While we were looking for coffee we walked onto the Street Art Market off  South Water Street and passed Nantucket  Whaling Museum on Broad Street which we visited on our prior trip).

As we were heading to our planned destination of Brant Point Lighthouse, we noticed a beautiful waterfront White Elephant hotel and decided to have drinks with water views on their terrace adjacent to Children’s Beach.  It was my favorite part of the day!

Terrace of While Elephant Hotel, Nantucket

After a leisurely break we continued on to the Brant Point Lighthouse (built in 1746 and still in operation) for some photos and relaxation on the beach.

Brant Light House, Nantucket

Back in town we enjoyed late lunch on another water front location- Charlie Noble  (I liked tasty and innovative seafood choices at this unassuming looking restaurant)before exploring some shopping options on cobblestone Main Street, S. Water Street and Easy Street.  The stores tend to be on a pricier side but there is a bookstore and some galleries and ice cream stops to enjoy.

Terrace of Charlie Noble Restaurant

At this point our family group  split up to have some ” quiet” time in smaller groups.  I enjoyed a solo walk on Main Street towards the civil war memorial Obelisk, admiring beautiful historic architecture.  Whole island of Nantucket is  a National Historic Landmark with some of the finest examples of 18th and 19th century architecture in the country.  Nantucket Historic Association’s (NHA) Hadwen House (on 96 Main Street) is a Greek Revival Mansion (built 1846) – that is also a Museum; check out opening hours on NHA’s website.

Hadwen House Museum, Nantucket

There are several side streets off of Main Street (Center and Federal Street to name just two) that looked inviting to get lost on but we did not get to them on this trip.  (There is also Old North Wharf adorned with  hydrangeas and water front cottages- for next time).

Main Street Nantucket

We finished the day with ice-cream cones and shakes at the benches near Juice Bar (Broad St.)

We will be back!

Leaving Nantucket on Hy Line fast ferry

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