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    Nantucket Island: we discover the picturesque whaling island

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    Martí Micolau

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    Quiet harbors, postcard-worthy cobbled streets, romantic cliffs, long stretches of sand, lonely lighthouses, a tumultuous windsurfing sea, elegant gardens, many historic houses and a piratical history linked to whaling. If even half of these ingredients appeal to you, Nantucket Island it is a destination for you. Let's discover together the most picturesque destination on the entire New England coast.


    • Come arrivare a Nantucket Island
    • Move to Nantucket Island
    • Main destinations: what to see and visit
      • Nantucket Town
      • Siasconset
      • Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
      • South shore beaches
    • Culinary tip: don't miss the clam chowder… in a minibus!
    • Tips for staying overnight on the island
    • Video on Nantucket Island
    • Route on the map
    • Other useful resources

    Come arrivare a Nantucket Island

    The small one Nantucket Island (272 km² in area) is located 50 km south of Cape Cod, and is part of the Nantucket Sound, a canal formed not only by the island of the same name, but also by the tourist destinations of Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. The most traditional way to reach it is by ferry. Departures are basically from 2 points:

    • Hyannis, on the southern shore of Cape Cod
    • Oak Bluffs, a village on the island of Martha's Vineyard

    For information on departures, costs and duration of the trip take a look at these 3 sites:

    • Hy Line Cruises
    • Freedom Cruise
    • Steamship Authority

    The only alternative is by plane, with flights departing from Boston, New York, Hyannis, New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard. You can search for a flight from these destinations (or from others if you are willing to change) at the link below:

    Flights to Nantucket  

    Move to Nantucket Island

    There is no point in renting a car on the island, the traffic is congested and you can get around very well by other means: first of all the bus, which connects the main points of the island (Nantucket Town, Siasconset, Madaket and the beaches). And if you want to move more freely, the best solution is to rent a bicycle.

    Main destinations: what to see and visit

    The island, as mentioned, is quite small, and you can enjoy a good part of it even in 1 day. Regular visitors are represented by a clientele at least well-off, but don't worry, you can walk among the beauties of Nantucket Island even without emptying your wallet. Here are the main stops not to be missed:

    Nantucket Town

    The village of Nantucket the ferry trip alone is worthwhile: thanks to its characteristic cobbled streets, the numerous historic buildings and ancient homes of sea captains, it is able to breathe a unique atmosphere, that of the era of whaling, which of this town it represented the real economic fulcrum.

    Until the first half of the nineteenth century in this small village there was the largest whaling fleet in the world, which had allowed the country to become the protagonist of important commercial transactions at international level; the traces of such an important past are still evident today and emerge almost everywhere.

    It is no coincidence that Nantucket is the only example in the States where an entire citizen has been named National Historic Monument. Strolling through the narrow streets of the town is already a pleasant experience in itself, but be sure to stop off at some particularly interesting sites:

    • Nantucket Whaling Museum (13 Broad Street): museum housed in an old candle factory; here you can find out all about the town's whaling past, admire a sperm whale skeleton of about fifteen meters and an old whaling ship.
    • First Congregational Church (62 Center Street): early eighteenth century church from which, climbing the bell tower, you can enjoy a remarkable panorama.
    • Jethro Coffin House (16 Sunset Hill): the oldest house in the city.
    • Old Mill (50 Prospect Street): the oldest still working windmill in the USA.
    • Hawden House (96 Main Street): home of an old whale merchant.
    • Nantucket Atheneum (1 India Street): the neoclassical building that houses the public library.


    Se Nantucket Town is a picturesque destination, Siasconset (renamed 'Sconset by the islanders) it is even more so, with its typical wooden houses with white fences, overflowing with flowers and flower-filled gardens. If you are cycling it will take you an hour to cover the distance from Nantucket, otherwise you can take advantage of the shuttle service.

    Once there, relax with a coffee in one of the bars in the town and then take a walk following this itinerary: look for the small street of Front Street east of ‘Sconset Market, continue towards Broadway and turn left onto Bluff Walk for a lovely walk overlooking the sea.

    Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge

    You can admire the rugged and wild beauty of the coast at Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, inhabited by deer, birds of prey and water birds. If you feel like a skilled explorer, you can venture into the paths between sand dunes, coastal groves, saltwater marshes and ponds. To organize a visit to this reserve, contact the official website.

    South shore beaches

    There are beautiful beaches in both Nantucket Town and Siasconset, but the best ones are in the South Shore area, near Cisco and Surfside. They are beaches suitable above all for young people and surfers, but they are also ideal for beautiful and endless walks along the seafront.

    Culinary tip: don't miss the clam chowder… in a minibus!

    The first inhabitants of the area were the Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe and it is from their language that derives not only the name of the island ("Nantucket" means "distant land") but also that of the delicious clams of the area ("quahogs" ), from which you get a soup (“Quahog Chowder”) which is an authentic specialty (ever heard of clam chowder?). As often happens, each restaurant has its own recipe; most versions contain milk and / or cream, potatoes, onions, and chopped quahogs. A particularly fun place to enjoy this soup is the Club Car (1 Main Street), encased in a real historic city bus.

    Tips for staying overnight on the island

    As mentioned, 1 day may be enough to breathe the essence of the island, but staying overnight on site and staying even longer you can explore it in its most hidden and remote meanders. Housing is quite expensive and tends to fill up quickly; the advice is to search and book well in advance. Take a look at the links below:

    Recommended hotel: Nantucket Inn

    Cerca albergo a Nantucket

    Video on Nantucket Island

    Sometimes words are not enough to describe the atmosphere of the places we would like to visit. In these cases, a good video can help ...

    Route on the map

    Other useful resources

    If you are thinking of embarking on a New England itinerary, I would like to point out some resources that may be useful for planning your trip.

    • Our guide on how to plan a tour of New England.
    • Our tips on Country Inn: the best Bed & Breakfasts in the region.
    • All you need to know about Acadia National Park, New England's most fascinating natural park.
    • Our advice on the city of Boston, a reference point for visiting the region.
    • Our section with all the recommended itineraries in New England.
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