AMPR’s Guide to the Grey Lady’s Best Kept Season
There’s no denying that Nantucket is the quintessential summer destination, but true insiders know that fall is when the island really shines. The population drops from 80,000 to 10,000 and lines dissipate at popular shops such as Juice Bar, the beloved ice cream shop that churns out a homemade Pumpkin Spice flavor only available in the fall. Beachcombers can spread out across the island’s 82 miles of coastline, and food-lovers rejoice at the arrival of autumnal treats such as fresh, local cranberries and Nantucket Bay Scallops.
Read on for more of AMPR’s top tips for making the most out of a fall weekend on Nantucket…
FESTIVALS + EVENTS
Bash at the Bog: The annual Cranberry Festival returns on October 6, celebrating the island’s 161-year history with cranberry farming. Hosted by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the event features organic berries from the island’s last two remaining commercial bogs. In addition to live cranberry harvesting, festivalgoers can embark on a guided tour of the grounds, or dive into kid-friendly activitiessuch as hayrides, sack races, tug-of-war, and a petting zoo. Admission is complimentary; parking is $20 per car.
The Extra Mile: Known as one of the most scenic races on the East Coast, the Nantucket Half Marathon returns this fall on October 7, 2018. As the route winds through sandy dirt roads, wooded trails, and ocean-front streets, runners will have the opportunity to explore areas of the island they may have never experienced before. Early registration is $65 through August 1, with standard registration available for $75 through September 15.
FALL ON THE WATERFRONT
Something to Shell-ebrate: One of the island’s most anticipated events, November 1 marks the official beginning of Nantucket Bay Scallop season. Nurtured by the cool waters of the Nantucket Sound and harvested from the island’s native inshore eelgrass, these prized mollusks are coveted for their mildly sweet flavor and smooth texture that many prefer to eat raw straight from the shell. Throughout the season, which ends in March, Nantucket Bay Scallops are featured across the island’s best seafood menus – including TOPPER’S and Brant Point Grill.
The Great Outdoors: As temperatures begin to cool, guests of The Wauwinet are treated to a seasonal selection of outdoor activities. Fishing enthusiasts can try their hand at surfcasting – the beloved tradition of casting off directly from the shores of the hotel’s private Atlantic beach – with complimentary lessons Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Those looking to get out on the water can board The Wauwinet Lady each Tuesday and Thursday with Captain Rob for a hands-on lobstering experience.
Give Thanks: Ideal for visiting families and island locals alike, White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill will host its annual Thanksgiving Buffet on November 22 from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. With views sweeping across the hotel’s great lawn and out on to the marina, the menu will feature traditional favorites such as turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing along with coastal highlights including clam chowder and a plentiful raw bar. Menus are priced at $85 for adults and $39 for children 4-12; children under 4 dine free.
Christmas Spirit: From November 30 – December 2, the 45th annual Christmas Stroll will transform downtown Nantucket into a winter wonderland with hundreds of seven-foot Christmas trees lining the streets and three full days of holiday merriment. Highlights from the weekend include costumed carolers performing throughout the island, live performances on the middle of Main Street, and festive treats on offer at local shops and boutiques. As no Christmas celebration would be complete with out a visit from Santa, kids from one to 92 will also line up outside the historic Jared Coffin House for the opportunity to chat with Kris Kringle himself.
Getting Here: Travelers from New York, Washington D.C., and Boston can still take advantage of seasonal Nantucket air service withnonstop flights still available through the end of October. As flights clock in at just about an hour, travelers can easily trade in the city for the seashore in no time at all.
Where to Stay: As the temperatures dip, so do the rates across Nantucket Island Resorts. Comprising five hotels on island, the collection includes options for families, pets, couples, and even those arriving by boat. The properties remain fully open through October with seasonal dates in November/December and one year-round hotel in the portfolio. As an added incentive, the Hot Dates, Cools Rates promotion provides savings of up to 20% for stays on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights.