Nantucket Insider Guide

Take a look at the magic of historic Nantucket with our guide to its secrets and charms.

Majestic Island

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Experience Nantucket Magic

Nantucket has a lingering magic that defies definition. On one hand, the small island is a carefree vacation destination with surf-lapped beaches, innovative restaurants, and upscale shops. On the other, Nantucket is home to 10,000 fiercely loyal residents who protect its historic homes, cottages, and lighthouses. Read on for our insider's guide to new restaurants and must-visit shops, plus the spots locals have been keeping secret for years.

Brick Bistro

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Enjoy Gourmet Goodness

Start your day at Brick Bistro at the Jared Coffin House. The daily brunch menu tempts taste buds with lobster or oyster Benedict; 508/325-5151 or brickbistro.com. 

For lunch, try Beachside Bistro, Nantucket's only restaurant overlooking the Atlantic; 508/257-4543 or thesummerhouse.com.

For dinner, head to Galley Beach restaurant on Cliffside Beach. Dining tables on the sand are a relaxed way to sample littleneck clam fettuccini with views of Nantucket Sound; 508/228-9641 or galleybeach.net.

Easy Riders Bicycles

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Stretch Your Legs

The island is known for its smooth designated bike paths, but on the southern half of the island there are great hiking trails through Sanford Farm, Ram Pasture, and the Woods conservation area. Look for the nesting ospreys that soar above Ram Pasture and Hummock
Pond; 508/228-2884 or nantucketconservation.org

Stop By An Indie Bookstore

Photo courtesy of Mitchell's Book Store

Stop by an Indie Bookstore

Wendy Schmidt--wife of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt--started ReMain Nantucket, a philanthropic organization working to strengthen the economic, environmental, and social vitality of downtown Nantucket. The organization recently purchased Mitchell's Book Corner on Main Street. "Now the bookstore is open year-round, and its building is ready for the next 100 years," says Melissa Philbrick, executive director of ReMain; 508/228-1080 or mitchellsbookcorner.com.

Pumpkin Pond Farm

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Fall for Flowers

Three family-owned farms provide a stunning selection of blooms and fresh provisions. Pumpkin Pond Farm is a certified organic farm and nursery; 508/332-4750 or pumpkinpondfarm.com. Moors End Farm is a 28-acre spread on Polpis Road run by the Slosek family. The farm stand is open daily selling sweet corn, tomatoes, and annuals; 508/228-2674. Bartlett's Farm has been in business since the 1800s, with a vast inventory of cut flowers; 508/228-9403 or bartlettsfarm.com.

Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

This beloved local institution is dedicated to the heroism of stalwart islanders who routinely braved all odds to rescue shipwrecked sailors. The location exhibits more than 5,000 locally found objects like surfboats, beach carts, and vintage photographs; 508/228-1885 or nantucketshipwreck.org.

White Elephant Hotel Residences

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Get Some Rest

The luxurious White Elephant hotel unveiled 25 new White Elephant Hotel Residences in 2009. Each unit features a small kitchen and a dining/living area with a gas fireplace; Rates start at $350; 800/445-6574 or whiteelephanthotelresidences.com. 

For sublime views, stay at the Crow's Nest studio loft, perched over Straight Wharf at The Cottages at the Boat Basin. Rates start at $175; 866/838-9253 or thecottagesnantucket.com. 

The upscale Wauwinet lures guests with individually designed rooms in the Main Inn and cottage rentals int he courtyard. Rates start at $575; 800/426-8718 or wauwinet.com.

Murray's Toggery Shop

Photographer: Reena Bammi

Shop for Bargains

Downtown Nantucket streets are lined with family-owned clothing stores and pricey boutiques--including the legendary Murray's Toggery Shop--home of the famous Nantucket Reds clothing line; 508/228-3584 or nantucketreds.com. Also find great deals at The Nantucket Cottage Hospital Thrift Shop: this treasure trove is the go-to place for gently used clothing, household goods, and art; 508/228-1125 or nantuckethospital.org.

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