Life has been a whirlwind for the last six months. With a move from one end of Manhattan to deepest Brooklyn, the two-year anniversary of my beloved Mom’s death and the launch of a whole new business, coupled with the usual craziness that is Life for a succesful lifestyle blogger, I was working seven days a week and beginning to feel burnt out. On one particularly mad day in July, I was juggling work on three screens and in the middle of a business call, when the words flashed across my mind “God I need a vacation.” And just like that twenty minutes later, I received an email inviting me to review The Summer House Cottages, (17 Ocean Ave Siasconset, MA (508) 257-4577 – thesummerhouse.com) a wonderfully quaint and cozy, set of rose covered cottages in Siasconset, just outside of downtown Nantucket. Despite my initial resistance to leave work behind, I went with what was obviously both God’s plan and answer. And I can’t begin to express how thankful I am, that I did! I have never been more relaxed on a vacation and I am now in totally in Love with both the cottages and Nantucket!
WHERE TO STAY Just steps from the beach, The Summer House Cottages in Siasconset (17 Ocean Ave Siasconset, MA 02564 (508) 257-4577 – thesummerhouse.com) is THE place to stay while visiting Nantucket. There are 21 cottages, which each hold their own charm. I stayed in the owner’s favorite and mine, The Cutter. Featuring skylights in both the bedroom and bathroom, a luxurious king sized bed, and a sunken jacuzzi bathtub, I have never stayed in a nicer place. (Do not go by the pictures on their site – I have better ones posted here). Light and airy with walls of white and homey knick-knacks throughout, this is the best room in Nantucket. I would love to snap this up for a whole month next time! Oh and a Hugh Jackman lookalike, as a companion, would also be nice since this is one romantic little getaway. Open yearly from May to October,the cottages are perfect for a wedding party or honeymoon and also make a great place for yearly family getaways. Book early to ensure a spot and DO plan to stay for at least ten days. My biggest regret is that I didn’t have more time to stay.
In terms of service, don’t expect snappy right this minute type of urgency, as the staff is slightly laid back. However, for me, this adds to the charm of these cottages. Rather than the sterile feeling of luxury hotels, staying here feels like going to visit your loving relatives. I fell instantly in Love with Danielle and Peter, a long married couple, who were my gracious hosts. Getting to know them was one of the best parts of the trip and I look forward to catching up with them on my next visit.
TO DO: Nantucket is not an action sports type of vacation. Rather it is a place to lay on the beach, stroll through the town, shop, eat great foods, and completely unwind. I highly recommend bringing anything that relaxes you, like meditation tapes, to further add to your experience. Definitely rent a bike, so you can zip around and check out the historic lighthouses. Make sure to stop by the Whaling Museum in Nantucket for an fascinating educational afternoon. There is also a really cool old movie house in Nantucket, that features the latest cinematic offerings.
Breakfast: The Summer House offers continental breakfast with your room. Sit out on the porch for a refreshing wake-up meal.
Lunch: Hit the Beachside Bistro (17 Ocean Ave, Siasconset, MA, (508) 257-4542) which is full of fun vacationers that you can bond with. I LOVE the Lobster Roll and the Burgers are ace. And,as it is often hard to find something interesting to drink for us teetoalers. it was totally awesome that they carry Bucklers, my favorite non-alcoholic beer. There is also an adorable sandwich spot in the center of Siasconset, just a five minute walk from the cottages. I highly recommend the meatloaf sandwich.
Dinner: Todd English‘s world renowned and award-winning, Summer House is unbeatable. I ate there two nights and every single thing on the menu is a culinary delight. Definitely have the Caesar salad and for dessert do the . Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with anything that you are feeling like from this delicious and extensive menu. Although you do have to properly dress for dinner here, the ambience is candlelit and laidback . Light entertainment is provided each evening by a piano player, who performs all your favorite Light FM type tracks. On the first evening I dined there, I was blessed to witness a sing-along between the resident artist and Carly Simon’s daughter, Sally and her friends, that was just amazing! It’s that kind of cool place, everybody just mixes and mingles without pretense. On my second night, the owner Peter introduced me to a new favorite ice cream flavor – Crantucket. This is an absolute must for dessert.
If you are in Nantucket, hit the Fig at 29 Fair. (The Summer House 29 Fair St Nantucket, MA 02554 (508) 228-7800 thesummerhouse.com/29) Also, a Todd English restaurant and located in the 300-year old sister inn to the Summer House Cottages, it is a cozy little spot with a world-class menu. The manager was a real sweetheart and provided me with a tasting menu, so again I recommend having just about anything you are in the mood for there.
Snacks: Downtime Nantucket has a ton of places for quick snacks. My two favorites were:
The Juice Bar (44 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA – (508) 332-4949) – Crazy good ice cream in homemade waffle cups or cones.
Nantucket Pastry Shop (10 Broad St., Nantucket, MA – (508) 325-0282) – The Empanadas were incredible and make a tasty lunch alternative.
How To Get There:
For a person, who experiences very bad motion sickness, the very thought of an hour and ten on a small plane brought palpitations and worry for days before the trip. And when I saw if, I’ll admit, I panicked a bit. The plane only seats about 8 to 9 people. That’s EIGHT to NINE PEOPLE. You – the passenger – are right in the same teeny tiny space as the pilot! To make matters worse, in my case, the pilot snapped when I tried to move seats to the place where the kind staff told me to sit to reduce chances of illness. But that said, I strongly recommend that you overcome your fears and give Cape Air a try, as it is a once-in-a-Lifetime experience! On a clear day – the only day I suggest you do this – it is smooth flying and offers incredible views of both the ocean and the terrain. Cape Air runs a shuttle from 38th and 8th in the city and depending on how many people are flying out on your flight, you might even get a private car. I had private cars both coming and going with drivers so friendly, that I wished that I could hire them to chauffer me around every day.
Once you arrive in Nantucket, call Canty Cab (508-228-2888) for a car to your accommodations. I had a really great driver named Eileen, who was so wonderful I requested her again when I had to return to the airport. There is also a bus that will ferry you from ‘Sconset to Downtown Nantucket that leaves every half hour.
Since shopping is my favorite activity, Nantucket offered a lot of little spots to check out. Here are my favorites:
1. Serenella – (9B S Beach St., Nantucket, MA (508) 228-3400)
The best fashion spot in Nantucket with pieces from high-end designers.
2. 3 Girls and A Dog– (15 Center St., Nantucket, MA (508) 228-1562)
Cute branded tees and caps. Definitely get one of their branded caps. I live in mine now and get asked about it everywhere I go.
3. Skirting Around– (2 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA (508) 325-0022)
Adorable dresses from this with a sister stores in Connecticut and Boston. I loved the bright summery prints.
4. Whale Museum Gift Shop – (PO Box 1016, Nantucket, MA (508) 228-1894)
Pickup fun gifts for the kids like the and .
5. Kidding Around – (2 Broad St., Nantucket, MA (508) 228-7952)
Shop for the tots at this fun children’s store.
6. The Sunken Ship General Store– (12 Broad St., Nantucket, MA (508) 228-9226)
Tons and tons of souvenirs at great prices, The best tees.
Expenditure: With meals running at least $100 per person, Nantucket is not a bargain vacay. However, there are some ways to cut costs. Save your meal money for dinners at The Summer House or the Fig and do smaller lunches. And take the convienent bus to and from Nantucket instead of a taxi.