Hi there. Hope all is well! Before I get into what a perfect day trip to Nantucket could look like, I have an anniversary to celebrate. It has been about one year (maybe a day short) since I launched Sunday’s Bread! Hopefully you have enjoyed the recipes and the few insights into chez SB. I realize I have a lot still to learn (photos in particular!). This is a journey so I look forward to sharing more and getting better at it!
Ok, so onward to today’s post – I have been wanting to share how to visit Nantucket just for the day. A couple of weeks ago the girls and I had the most perfect day on Nantucket. Today I will be sharing what a perfect day trip to Nantucket could look like. Yes you can go just for the day!
Why go for a day trip to Nantucket?
I adore Nantucket and have been visiting since I was a young child. We would cruise the coast on our boat and stop in to explore ports around New England. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard were my two favorite stops (all of those cute shops and ice cream:).
Then I went back to Nantucket in college. I had many friends who worked there for the summer or had family homes (where I was lucky to stay). Right out of college, when working in Boston, I would take off on Friday night from Boston, drive to Hyannis. I would catch the ferry in time to meet my friends out at a club called the Chicken Box. Very fond and fun memories.
So, I could not wait to show this darling island to the girls. We had visited when they were babies. So little that I recall remembering I was worried that the double stroller would not fit on the ferry. They do not remember any of that visit. We also visited the Vineyard a few years ago – my youngest loved Edgartown. So it was time to try the other island, Nantucket, which is only 11 miles away.
A day trip is perfect too. First, you can see how the weather will be. Nantucket is famous for its fog and frankly as much as I love it, it is very expensive. There is some risk of getting there on a not so great day weather-wise. We booked our ferry two days prior.
How do you get to Nantucket?
We were coming from Cape Cod after visiting some friends in Orleans. Orleans is about 45 minutes from Hyannis which is where I always pick up the high speed ferry. The high speed ferry will take one hour to get to Nantucket. As mentioned above, this is also doable from the Boston area.
We made reservations for the high speed Hy Line. As we were a couple of days out we could not park there as the ferry lot was full. If you are leaving early, as we were (8:30 a.m.) this is not an issue. There are numerous parking lots where you can park all day. We paid $35 and were about a block away from the ferry. I had packed some muffins but we grabbed coffee at the café right next to where you board. They have a selection of breakfast items to go, or you can sit for a larger meal if you have the time.
It was a gorgeous summer morning so sitting next to the docks sipping coffee was a great way to get started. On board, we sit up top to get the view and fresh air. I love the view of Nantucket from the ferry as you approach the island.
Where to go once on island
Nantucket town has a few primary streets lined with shops and places to dine. The harbor docks also have dozens of lovely boutiques. Our aim was to shop and eat so we set off and started browsing. Here are some of my favorite stores:
Murray’s Toggery Murray’s is the home to the famous Nantucket Reds, faded pinkish, red chinos for men and women. JFK famously wore them as he played golf and sailed. They have been around forever and anyone who has spent anytime on boats or near yacht clubs knows them well. Murray’s has far more than just the famous pants though. I purchased a beautiful cashmere wrap in hot pink (the girls’ suggestion), and we browsed lots of brands. The look tends to be preppy with some outdoorsy clothing too. All very fitting for Nantucket.
Pawsitivity We just discovered this adorable shop which sells beautifully made pet collars and leashes. The owner was so helpful and we enjoyed chatting with him (they also have a store in Vail…not too bad!).
Ack 4170 We headed here for sweatshirts and to browse some beautiful jewelry. I love following them on Facebook too.
Stop N Shop Hah yes the local Stop N Shop was a favorite as we could easily pick up bottles of water, kombucha and snacks. As we were only there for the day we did not want to even carry water bottles. Stop N Shop also has restrooms (the visitor center does too) so we stopped in a few times during the day.
If you have not visited the Nantucket Whaling Museum I highly recommend it. Nantucket’s history is vibrant and the whaling industry (as sad as that is to me now) brought wealth. Many of the gorgeous historic homes date back to those times. You will need to make a reservation to visit (not sure if this is due to Covid or not). The museum has a notable scrimshaw collection. Many exhibits convey what it was like to be part of the whaling industry.
If you would like to see more of the island, you can also rent bikes. We opted not to do this as summertime is also high traffic time (stressful when biking). There is also a shuttle that goes all around Nantucket. We decided we would try that another time.
Where to eat on Nantucket when visiting for the day
There are many fine dining and casual eateries on Nantucket. A personal favorite has always been the Straight Wharf where I love the bluefish pate – soooo good. For us though our trip was short so we did not want to spend too much time dining. Instead we headed to Provisions which has been on Nantucket since I was a college student.
The Turkey Terrific sandwich is one of the best sandwiches I have eaten. It is “Thanksgiving on a sandwich,” as my daughter described it. Super fresh bread, yummy stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey of course. They also have a delicious baked tofu sandwich which I ordered. Tip: If you are buying to eat on the ferry, leave plenty of time! Provisions is very popular so there was a wait and we saw two people have to leave without their food.
Right around 4 we stopped at the Juice Bar, another institution for some of the best ice cream ever. Feeling a bit full from lunch, we had a raspberry sorbet. The sorbet tasted like fresh picked raspberries. Post lunch we walked around town looking at some of the notable homes such as the Jared Coffin House. I love antiques and old homes so this was a delightful way to spend the afternoon.
Where to eat in Hyannis after a perfect day trip to Nantucket
We took the 6 o’clock ferry back to Hyannis. 10 to 6 was just the right amount of time. Mr. SB was waiting for us with our lab as the ferry pulled into Hyannis. He is a huge fan of whole belly fried clams (and I am too!).
There are two clam shack restaurants in Hyannis, Baxters and Spanky’s. We have eaten at both post Nantucket ferry (both are excellent for fresh seafood). Spanky’s was dog friendly so we opted to eat there. We ate outside and watched the sun set. It was delicious and a perfect ending to the perfect day trip on Nantucket.