a taste of nantucket
Amongst other trends in the travel industry, 'bleisure' travel is said to be on the rise. This concept of tacking on personal travel to a business trip is one that millennials (such as myself) are certainly not shying away from. My most recent foray with bliesure travel was an opportunistic jaunt to Nantucket prior to a work event in Boston.
My friend Hillary was actually the one who suggested the destination, and despite that our time there was short, this little island left a big impact. Something about the aura of the "The Little Grey Lady" washed calm over me from the second we landed. In fact, the serene tone was set by a fellow passenger who reminded my seatmate (who was very eager to gather her bag and deplane), "No rush, we're on Nantucket time now."
When deciding where to book our one night-stopover stay, just a handful of options were available. There are only fourteen hotels [ranked by TripAdvisor] on ACK. And since we were only booking about a month in advance (short notice for the height of tourist season in this hotspot), choices were limited. Fortunately, we were able to set up a reservation at 76 Main which exceeded all of our expectations.
Hotel Management company, Lark Hotels, creates an inviting atmosphere for guests at this charming + understatedly chic property in the middle of town.
If you're looking for a boutique stay with a design-forward approach, you'll love Lark's properties throughout New England and California.
The phenomenal reviews for 76 Main that I'd perused prior to booking were all spot on, beginning with exceptional customer service. From my 9am arrival ― my JetBlue flight had me on the island by 8:30am! ― I was welcomed with open arms. The front desk invited me to make myself at home while our room was being prepared, even encouraging me to enjoy the lovely breakfast spread in the kitchen.
After a morning spent meandering through the quaint downtown area, we'd worked up an appetite. I tend to overstress about where to eat (particularly when I have limited time to experience the cuisine of a destination), but the calm aura of ACK helped me follow my instincts on this one. We passed by a few restaurants to see where we could find optimal patio seating and a sunny spot at Queequegs was calling our name! It turned out to be just the ticket.
The lobster cobb was just as fresh (and delectable) as it looks.
We started with a cocktail, but before our entrées even arrived, somehow we'd ordered a bottle of rosé to the table. I must say, there are few better ways to start a vacay than with a crisp glass (or two...or three...) of vino under the sun with a good friend! Hillary and I used to work together when I lived in Buffalo, and despite keeping in touch as best we could over the past year, we had so much to catch up on.
With a healthy afternoon buzz under our belts, we headed to the bike shop down the street. What better way to get to infamous Cisco Brewers than on a set of rented wheels? I have to say, when I think back on the trip, the laughs we shared while navigating the 2-miles out to the beer garden are the some of the most impressionable. Between us constantly being on the wrong side of the cobblestone streets in the center of town and me trying to Instagram Story it without falling off my bike, it made for quite a show to passersby.
Unfortunately, I didn't take many decent photos while enjoying the scene at Cisco, but practically any Nantucket guide will cover what I've missed. This place doesn't just sell beer, but also has an incredible wine selection, including the frozen merlot we started with; you truly can't go wrong with a wine slushie after a bike ride! We ended up meeting the sweetest people at our table (there are dozens of shared picnic tables amongst the various vendors and tents) and it was in those moments where I decided I'd be back to the island sooner rather than later.
arriving to the beach after getting a few miles under my belt took my breath away, literally.
I've always loved exploring a new destination with an early morning run. So, when I saw that my NYC Marathon training plan had me slotted for a 5-miler while I'd be on the island, a run to the nearest beach was a no-brainer. It turned out that Surfside was about 3-miles from 76 Main, which worked perfectly! I arrived to see exactly what I'd envisioned, but better. SO. MUCH. BETTER.
When I first descended from the parking lot to the dunes, there were only a handful of people on the beach. So, I paused my Strava app and went to sit in the sand. It was one of those instances where the strongest sense of gratitude washes over you; I couldn't have been more thankful to be exactly where I was in that moment. As much as experiencing the solitude of the beach on my own was special, I felt compelled to share it with someone. Luckily, I caught my mom on FaceTime just before she left for work!
It was tough to get motivated to run the back into town, but I knew Hillary was waiting back at the hotel to officially start our day. So, I managed to head back to the pavement, only to see that I was crossing paths with the start of lifeguards' shift (9am on the dot). Having been a lifeguard throughout high school and early college, I loved seeing them all descend in their uniforms, ready for a day of keeping beachgoers safe. Jeez, I miss that job!
Hillary and I had lots of laughs on our girls getaway
The rest of our time spent on the island was at the chill pace ACK requires from visitors. We went to the sandwich shop, Something Natural, on the NYT's recommendation via "36 Hours in Nantucket," followed by an afternoon of booking reading on Steps Beach. Of course, I also had to taste the homemade ice cream at the [misleadingly named] infamous downtown storefront, The Juice Shop.
Had we been on the island for a more extended period of time, I would have loved to go out for a sailing trip. Famed blogger duo Julia Engel and Carly were serendipitously on Nantucket at the same time, and they certainly set out to sea. Seeing their gorgeous photos on the water as well as the house rental they set up in ‘Sconset has me wanting to run back for a week-long stay next summer!