The Grey Lady remains a stalwart summertime resort where New England tradition pervades, even amidst constant influxes of great wealth (Nantucket real estate is said to be the priciest in the country). Not much changes on the island, and that’s what appeals to the visitors and second home–owners who choose the salty isle 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod over such other regional destinations as the Hamptons or Newport. Nevertheless, excellent dining, shopping, hotels and jetset transportation are available and every season, a small handful of new spots open. Here are our top four things to get excited about this summer.
Broad Street is buzzing with news.
This centrally located town street (the ferry practically lets passengers out on it), is in midst of a true Renaissance. First there was the chic boutique property 21 Broad, which opened with a new look in 2014 and continues to draw cool couples and friends traveling together who appreciate the fresh, updated rooms, the central location and the barrage of homemade snacks throughout the day.
A few doors down, the biggest news this summer will be the opening of Greydon House (greydonhouse.com), a hotel and restaurant that will transform a reek Revival building from 1850s into the island’s most innovative property. The project was entrusted to acclaimed design firm Roman and Williams who drew inspiration from Nantucket history but are also putting their own high-end touches on interiors, including hand-painted Portuguese tiles lining the showers, gorgeous lacquered accent walls and rich color and original art throughout. With just 20 rooms and a restaurant run by Charlie Palmer’s former sous chef, Greydon House will surely be one of the most coveted reservations when it opens in August.
And it’s in good company on this exciting street: across the way, the brand-new Culinary Institute has opened the lovely Corner Table Café on the ground floor of their three-story building that honors all things cuisine related. Classes are held at the Institute almost every night followed by dinners to enjoy the bounties of the course. The café serves excellent salads, sandwiches, coffee drinks and sweet treats.
A short walk towards Centre Street, Nantucket Bookworks has opened a summer juice counter in the back.
Pop ups are back – better than ever.
Old South Wharf is always a good spot for summery finds, but this season, look out for three pop-ups in particular: the Hamptons’ Joey Wölffer has brought her chic Styleliner to the Nantucket shore (thestyleliner.com). The shop launched by the co-owner of Bridgehampton’s Wölffer Estate Vineyard showcases an eclectic array of fashion and accessories, including her own handbag designs. A few doors down The Skinny Dip is lined with everything from cool blazers and light-weight scarves to beach- and deck-chairs by Serena and Lily (skinnydipnantucket.com). For cosmetics, lotions and potions, don’t miss the minimalist Beauty Counter, a seasonal outpost of the Santa Monica favorite where you can also pick up a great line of sun protection (beautycounter.com/pop-up-nantucket).
Trusted staples are still innovating.
The White Elephant
For the past few seasons, the White Elephant Hotel has offered its guests cruises around the island on their gorgeous fleet of Barton & Gray Hinckley boats, and this year they announce their custom-designed White Elephant Hinckley. Cruises can last from one hour to a full day, and guests can choose to visit Martha’s Vineyard. Meanwhile, the gorgeous, modern accommodations at the White Elephant Village (including the White Elephant Residences and Inn) continue to look fresh and vibrant.
A beloved institution, Island Kitchen fully renovated their restaurant over the winter and has added new outdoor seating. Favorites from their lunch menu includes turkey, avocado and thyme sandwiches and chicken salad with grapes and almonds, ideal for a beach picnic.
Nantucket Grown Food Festival
The White Elephant will host the inaugural Nantucket Grown Food Festival from Oct. 14-16. Celebrating local farmers and food producers, the event will offer guests glimpses into the homegrown industry, tastings, demonstrations and workshops.
It’s easier than ever to get there.
By Private Air
Tradewind Aviation, the charter airline we love for getting around the Caribbean, offers flights to Nantucket airport from Westchester and Teterboro airports. Due to increased demand and popularity, the airline has increased the fleet by 30% for 2016 season. The easy, 45-minute flight takes place in comfortable Pilatus eight-seaters and passengers get to bypass security and airports entirely: check-in is done from a homey feeling lounge on both ends. www.flytradewind.com
Indagare partner Fly Blade offers direct flights to Nantucket from Manhattan, Westchester and Boston. (Travelers leaving from Manhattan must first take a Fly Blade helicopter from the East Side to get to the charters, which depart from Westchester).The provider uses cushy Pilatus planes and is opening a private terminal and lounge at Nantucket airport this summer.
By Commercial Air
American Airlines has started flights to Nantucket from LaGuardia and both Cape Air and JetBlue have increased their direct flights to the island from Boston (Cape Air) and JFK (JetBlue).
A new Hyline ferry nearly twice the size of their other boats has launched and is a sleeker boating experience. Seastreak, a newcomer in the ferry space, departs from East 35th Street in New York City (on Fridays) as well as New Bedford, Massachusetts (seven days per week), bypassing traffic.