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Nantucket, MA
Weekend Vacation Getaway

Destination Overview

"THERE ONCE WAS A MAN FROM NANTUCKET"....

About 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts sits the magical island of Nantucket, unmatched in its beauty and ability to relax even the most ardent Type A personality. Once the whaling capital of the world, Nantucket is 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide and has a charm like few other places; cobblestone streets and gas lamps, quaint lanes of cedar shingled cottages and homes surrounded by white fences and adorned with window boxes of colorful flowers. Roses and hydrangeas are everywhere and there are miles of pristine beaches to enjoy. Lighthouses and cliffs, ponds and moors, cranberry bogs and fields of wildflowers make the island the perfect romantic hideaway. Visitors and islanders alike are passionate about their island. As a sign says, "God made Martha's Vineyard, but he lives on Nantucket."

Click picture to enlargeSo peaceful in the morningWharf Cottages at duskRoses abound all about town

Nantucket’s year round population of 10,000 swells to 50,000-60,000 at the height of the season and both air and water temperatures average in the mid-70’s in summer. The locals are obsessed with preserving the historical integrity of the island and building and renovation codes are strictly enforced. 40% of the island can never be built upon. There are no fast food outlets, no national chains (except 2 food stores), no neon signs, no garish architecture and no traffic lights.

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Click picture to enlargeCobblestone streets... Don't you just love 'em?Daffodil FestivalAn idyllic stroll

Making Your Travel Plans

To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Getting There

You can fly from Boston or Hyannis to Nantucket anytime, and during the season from other airports like Newark. See Flights to Nantucket. Most take the ferry from Hyannis, MA. Both the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line Cruises have a regular and a fast ferry. The regular ferry takes about two hours, the fast, one hour. Steamship can also take your car over, but you need reservations well in advance, particularly in-season.

I prefer to take the regular ferry, it helps to unwind for the trip. There is a snack bar and bar aboard, ample seating both inside and outside and the top deck is ideal for soaking in the sun and curling up with your first book of the vacation. Get to Hyannis a little early and enjoy lunch at Baxter’s Fish and Chips, right on the water, next to the Steamship Authority dock.

Nantucket is also accessible by private boat with some of the finest marina and mooring facilities on the East Coast, for boats of any size.

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When To Go

May/June and September/October are the perfect months in Nantucket, the weather is balmy, there is less congestion and little trouble getting a restaurant reservation. Leave July and August to the tourists. April hosts the charming Daffodil Festival, May the Wine Festival and December has the Christmas Stroll.

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Getting Around

You do not need a car on Nantucket as much of the activity is centered around the town and everything is within walking distance. Shuttle service is available and very reliable for going to other parts of the island or you could rent a bike or moped from Young’s for a day or week. Cars and jeeps are also available for rental. We found Nantucket Windmill (800-228-1227) to have the best prices for jeeps. 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed on some beaches, so, even if for a day, a jeep rental can be fun.

I like to take my car when staying more than a few days, it allows me to explore the island, drive to my favorite beach and after about three days is less expensive (ferry is @$400 round trip) than renting on the island ($125+ per day)

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Accommodations/Dining

There’s no longer any need to roll the dice on where you stay or to settle and stay at a “safe” national chain. BestWeekends Travel Advance Team takes the worry out of where to stay when you go away.

The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team does all the work for you. We research each destination by scouring the guidebooks, articles, blogs, reviews and rating systems. Then we visit the destination and stay in the properties. Finally, we talk to the locals to be sure we didn’t miss anything. The result: we post on our site only the best of what we experienced. You can book with confidence knowing that “we’ve been there” and that no one pays us for a review. Inside see our Featured Properties.

When you are away on vacation, there’s few things worse than a bad dining experience. We agree, so we follow the same process for identifying restaurants as we do for accommodations, but with an extra step. We believe that the best dining experience has the strongest combination of food, ambiance and service. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but the best food in the world just doesn’t taste as good in a poor setting and the best setting with poor service just doesn’t cut it for us. The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team only presents those restaurants that meet our strict criteria. Mangia….enjoy See our Favorite Restaurants.

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Things To Do

If you have come to relax and read a book, 82 miles of beaches will do the trick, some secluded, some more populated, all beautiful. Want to be more active? There is plenty to do. For golfers Nantucket boasts two wonderful links type courses; for tennis players, courts at many hotels/inns and for bikers, miles of bike paths crisscrossing the island. You can rent powerboats and sail boats and charter a fishing boat or simply enjoy a ride while someone else does the work. There are museums and tours extolling the rich history of the island and when all else fails there is shopping in the dozens of quaint and unique shops in town. For collectors or just browsers, there are wonderful art galleries and antique stores. Full list of Things To Do.

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BestWeekend' s Exclusives

After selecting our favorite places to stay and eat, we sat down and made a list of all the other things that would save you time and make your stay more enjoyable. The result is “Special Things” and “Good To Know, Good To Go,” BestWeekend's Exclusives.

Special Things identifies unique, fun and romantic things for couples to do together in a particular destination. Good to Know is our list of the “best” of everything from breakfast to burgers, cocktails to after dinner fun and much, much more. Why stumble around trying to find the “best”….we’ve already done it for you!

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Don't Miss

  • Early morning at Surfside Beach
  • A Turkey Terrific sandwich from Provisions
  • View from the First Congregational Church
  • A day at Miacomet Beach
  • Lunch by the harbor
  • A jeep ride among the dunes at Great Point
  • Dinner at Topper's
  • Show tunes at the Club Car

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News and Resources

Want to get the inside scoop on the island before you get there? here's the local newspapers: Inquirer and Mirror, Wicked Local Nantucket and Yesterday's Island. You can also access the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce and Nantucket's On-Line Guide.

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