If social media over Memorial Day Weekend was any indication, Nantucket has fully rebounded from the pandemic. When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts lifted its remaining Covid restrictions at midnight on May 29th, I noticed a few friends on the Grey Lady posting similar Instagram stories as the clock struck twelve: strangers cheering and hugging on the streets; bar-goers at The Chicken Box removing their masks and dancing with glee; and such unbridled merriment that you’d think it was New Years Eve. Memorial Day always signals the start of the summer on the East Coast, but this year it felt especially poignant.
As an island thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket has long felt like a special escape for families, couples, and visitors who cherish its pristine beaches and New England charm. Last summer was a bit of a wash, however, with many of the island’s small businesses struggling to find seasonal workers and stay afloat. Many one percenters took to their second (or third, or fourth) homes on the island to ride out the worst of the pandemic. By no measure was it a banner year for tourism on the rock.
That being said, this summer is shaping up to be one of Nantucket’s most exciting in recent memory, thanks to a new hotel and a smattering of new businesses across the island. Here are just a few that are stirring buzz amongst visitors and locals alike.
The Hotel: Faraway
Boston-based developer Blue Flag Partners debuts its newest hotel project this summer — the sumptuous, intriguing Faraway, located in Town at 11 India Street in the center of the action. Part Parisian salon, part Nantucket sea captain’s home, this boutique property combines eclectic design references for an aesthetic that the island has never seen before, but feels totally right. The hotel’s indoor-outdoor restaurant and lounge, Sister Ship, is certainly going to be the hot meeting place of the summer.
The Snack: Green Market
Town is finally getting the marketplace it deserves. Lifelong islander Tessa Cressman just opened a fully-local prepared foods and lifestyle shop — the only place on island where you can get a made-to-order breakfast sandwich and iced coffee, a one-of-a-kind Nell Van Vorst ceramic souvenir, and clean beauty products from brands like Osea and Tammy Fender, all in one place. In keeping with her promise of offering local goods whenever possible, Cressman will sell cut flowers from her personal garden — and dried flower arrangements when flowers aren’t in season.
The Transport: Sandy Pedals
In order to alleviate car traffic on island this summer, Nantucket has approved its very first bike share program, so you can get from Town to the airport or the beach with ease. With over fifty stations on the island and costing just five cents a minute, Sandy Pedals presents an efficient, economic way to get from Point A to Point B while avoiding clunky, costly daily bike rentals.
The Scene: Stoke ACK
Sharks notwithstanding, Nantucket actually has a pretty vibrant surf culture — and this new surf shop and café is the island’s best place to pick up a board, grab a flat white, and chat with the locals about where the best swell (and fewest Great Whites) can be found. Montauk-based design firm Studio MTK designed this gorgeous space.
The Reset: Lavender Farm Wellness
This wellness hub has long been the island’s preferred destination for massages, yoga, and all things functional medicine. This summer, however, Lavender Farm launches its own iOS app, which founder Brandon Jellison nicknames “the OpenTable of wellness.” Anyone on island can use it to book on-demand wellness services — private yoga lessons, massages, reiki treatments, health food chefs, and so forth — to be enjoyed either at Lavender Farm’s premises in Town, from the comfort of their own hotel room or summer rental, or even directly to the beach.
The Classic: The Club Car
It’s hard to think of a more iconic restaurant in Town than the infamous Club Car, built in an original train car from the defunct Nantucket Railroad. People love the bar here for its live piano music and late night party scene, but this should be the summer you come for dinner, and not just drinks — the owners just hired a new chef.
The Souvenir: Bodega Nantucket
This beloved home goods shop has a loyal following for its selection of pillows, art, hostess gifts, and contemporary baskets. Stop by this summer to check out a range of collaborations from buzz-worthy interior designers and to get the latest local gossip from owner Stephanie Sproule.
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