Located 30 miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world during the 1800s, a bustling international port whose wealth and sophistication belied its size. As well it should, the small island—it measures 3 1/2 by 14 miles at its widest point—is proud of its history and takes great measures to ensure that its historical appeal is preserved. The island’s only town, Nantucket Town, is a National Landmark Historic District containing 800-plus pre-1840 structures. Trendy boutiques, high-caliber galleries, and inventive gourmet restaurants line the cobblestone streets. (The road was paved in 1837 with cobblestones, brought here from Gloucester, where they had been stockpiled after serving as ballast to stabilize ships’ cargoes. The cobblestones enabled heavy, oil-laden carts to move up from the wharves without sinking in the mud.) Aside from downtown, essentially Nantucket is all beach, a boomerang-shaped sand spit consisting of detritus left by a glacier that receded millennia ago. The island encompasses more than 100 miles of sandy shoreline, all of it open, as a matter of local pride, to absolutely everyone. From town, where the ferries disembark, quiet residential roads fan out to points around the island; Siasconset (Sconset) lies eight miles to the east, Surfside three miles to the south, and Madaket six miles west of town.
SAVE THE DATE
Nantucket Film Festival
Boston Pops on Nantucket
Sept. 26-Oct. 2:
Fall Nantucket Restaurant Week
Nantucket Christmas Stroll
The 9-by-23-mile-long island of Martha’s Vineyard is both larger and, at seven miles out to sea, closer to the Cape Cod mainland than Nantucket. The island also has a more laid back vibe than its counterpart. Famous for its streets of brightly painted Victorian gingerbread cottages in the town of Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard comprises six different communities, each with its own charm. Located at the northern tip is Vineyard Haven, a picturesque, turn-of-the-century community with upscale boutiques and no alcohol. Edgartown, which occupies the southeastern corner, is a former wealthy whaling port heavily salted with the old, stately homes of ships’ captains and now a center of yachting. To the west, Chilmark and West Tisbury are largely residential and farming communities; those who really like to get away—and who appreciate great sunsets—head for the famous color-streaked cliffs of Aquinnah, on the island’s western edge. With 125 miles of shoreline, the Vineyard has beaches of all kinds: rocky, wild ones along the Chilmark and Aquinnah coasts; the big waves of South Beach in Edgartown; the usually gentle, family-friendly beaches along Beach Road that borders Nantucket Sound between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown; and the small, pristine Vineyard Sound shoreline along Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury.
SAVE THE DATE
Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival
Grand Illumination Night
Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival
220 Ocean Street, Hyannis
High-speed ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard from Hyannis, the only mid-Cape departure point to both islands. At hylinecruises.com you can check out our schedules and rates, specials, download complimentary insider guides and make reservations. Download our FREE Hy-Line APP for schedules and rates, and the ease of making reservations on the go. Aboard our fleet, stay connected with FREE wifi and enjoy the convenience of a full-service snack bar offering freshly made food and featuring local beer, wine and spirits. We’re proud to be voted ‘Best Boat Line’ by the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror’s readers since 2004. 800-492-8082. hylinecruises.com
75 Falmouth Heights Rd, Falmouth.
The Fun Way to Martha’s Vineyard! Sail away on the Island Queen from Falmouth, Cape Cod and experience Martha’s Vineyard within 35-minutes. Convenient parking just 200 yards from the dock. Enjoy our enclosed lounge, outside decks, snack bar and friendly crew! Daily sailings from May to October. 2016 roundtrip fares are $20/adult, $10/child. Children 4 & under travel FREE! 508-548-4800. IslandQueen.com
Patriot Party Boats
227 Clinton Ave., Falmouth.
Family fun and adventure on Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds including sport fishing, deep sea fishing, sailing, charters, and sightseeing. Our greatest joy is to share the beauty and grandeur of the waters surrounding Cape Cod. Come fishing or cruising with us for one of the highpoints of your visit to Cape Cod. At Patriot Boats our goal is to improve the recreational lives of our customers and to achieve this we have captains and crew that will make your experience memorable. All Patriot Boats associates are committed to boating, and it is evident in everything we do. 800-734-0088 or 508-548-2626, patriotpartyboats.com
The Steamship Authority
Explore the wonders of the Islands with the Steamship. Martha’s Vineyard offers a beautiful escape with something for everyone. Nantucket is pure enchantment and enjoyment. Enjoy a daytrip to Nantucket and save on our high-speed ferry any Monday – Thursday; the fare is only $50 round-trip. With the lowest fares and frequent daily departures, the Steamship is the way to go offering on-board snack bars, free Wi-Fi, a mobile website and NEW online store.(508) 477-8600, steamshipauthority.com