July 24, 2011

#55 Nantucket


The traditional ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket is a little over 2 hours one way, so I spent a lot of time on a boat this day. I had purchased ferry tickets to both Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard the day before, and had asked specifically about the tours offered on each island. It was important to me to be able to set up a tour because I wouldn't have my own transportation, and wanted to make sure I saw more than just the area around the port. They told me there were definitely tours on the days I would be there and I'd need to purchase them at their offices at the port.

When I landed in Nantucket I went in bought a ticket and then dutifully waited at the appointed spot for the tour operator to get there. I went back into the office twice to make sure I was in the right spot (the tour time had come and gone) by the third time I asked, and they just shrugged their shoulders and said, "He must be running late." At that, I called information and got the number for the tour company, when I called them it was a recording saying tours left at 11:45 and 2:15 daily, departing from the "welcome center" and gave an address somewhere in town. Not the port. So I walked through town, map-less, trying to find the address.

When I finally found the Welcome Center I went in and the lady working there told me that on Friday the tour company only offers one tour and it left about an hour ago. I just completely lost it. I was hot, tired, lost, frustrated, etc. So, I did what any good Taylor does and started to cry. The WC lady was very sympathetic, gave me a box of tissues, some options for sight seeing in town - all the time saying she was so sorry. I knew she was and that it wasn't her fault, and that the day could still be salvaged, but ... default to tears. She also gave me some food options and suggested I go get something to eat and then come back...maybe there would be a 2:15 tour today, and if not, I could go from there.

I went to an old-fashioned drug store with a lunch counter, ate a sandwich and gathered myself. I also got a map at the WC so I did a little walking around town. About 2:00 I headed back to the WC and shortly thereafter the tour van pulled up. I walked across the street to the stop, waited while people got off and then got on. The tour company, it turns out, is basically just a little old man with a van. He told me that he does only have one tour on Fridays, but that since the Steamship Authority had sold me a ticket we'd still go. DAY SAVED! I got, not only, my tour, but a personalized one to boot! The little, old man (I forgot his name, and feel awful!) had to be in his 70s and he was born and raised, lived his whole life, on Nantucket. It was fascinating to talk to him.

This hotel was originally built during a big tourist boom, but when the owner went bankrupt it was still unfinished. Turns out he only had money to complete the outside shell. It was sold on the condition that the new owner would complete the interior, and -oh by the way- stairs would need to be built as well before you could access the property.


I got a quick education on how houses were built and what they meant, half house, quarter house, full house, etc. You can tell the old homes from the new construction by how thick the window frames are on the old homes.

This windmill is still in use today. Depending on wind conditions you can rig a half sheet (2 sails on opposite arms) or full sheet (all four sails on all arms). You cannot, however, rig three sheets or the windmill won't work, it'll just wobble uncontrollably, rudderless. So, if you're three sheets to the wind, you are unable to function properly!

My guide loved showing me these little cottages covered in flowers. I think he pointed out every single one on the island! Almost all the homes on Nantucket are covered in these same shake shingles. You can always tell when someone in the neighborhood has done some remodeling because they start out almost yellow. It takes about 18 months, depending on the weather, for them to become fully weathered to this gray color.

This cottage sits on School Lane (the location of the island's first school) and the cottage is named Recess. I would really love to live in a house with a name at some point in my life.

There's a light house out there, the guide promised! It was another really foggy day. The airport had just announced that it was closed until further notice. Nobody could take off or land in these conditions.

Organic cranberry bog. Still with blooms and green cranberries.


Green cranberries and cranberry blossoms.

Freshwater pond

Back in town