Elsewhere in town, two existing hotels are debuting a new concept: standalone, three-bedroom rental options that will allow guests the privacy of a home but the convenience and service of staying at the hotel. Faraway Nantucket is opening “16.5 Federal,” around the corner from the main premises and spitting distance from the hotel’s sceney outdoor restaurant and lounge Sister Ship; Greydon House is also opening “52 Union,” located a few blocks south of the main hotel but offering unobstructed water views and a private backyard.
And if you’ve been to Nantucket before, you’ve probably heard of the island’s most iconic working novelist, Elin Hildebrand: Her new novel The Hotel Nantucket, is based loosely on longstanding, family-owned favorite The Nantucket Hotel, which will offer a Beach Read Suite inspired by the works of Hildebrand and filled with all of her books—supplied by local purveyor Mitchell’s Book Corner, no less.
Arts and culture
Nantucket continues to be a crossroads for arts, culture, and history—and the Nantucket Historical Association is up for a landmark summer of events. Whether it’s your first time to the island or your fiftieth, pencil in some time for a visit to “Island People,” a portraiture exhibition highlighting a range of famous and lesser-known Nantucketers throughout history—including the sailors, whalers, innkeepers, and members of the island’s 19th-century Black community who shaped the island’s history. From Memorial Day, the Historical Association will display “Asian Treasures from the Billings Collection,” a range of Asian artifacts collected by David and Beverly Hall Billings, longstanding Nantucketers, lifelong travelers, and collectors of Asian art. It’s the first time many of these pieces have been displayed publicly.
In July, the lawns of the Old Mill historic windmill, on the outskirts of town, will display Washington’s Tent, an immersive, full-scale replica of a Revolutionary War encampment, in partnership with the Museum of the American Revolution. On August 10th, the Historical Association invites all who are interested to a Mishoon Harbor Launch Event at Children’s Beach, where Darius Coombs from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will launch a canoe that’s been traditionally hand-carved.
Returning events and festivals
This summer marks the first time since the pandemic started that some of the island’s favorite events and festivals will make their glorious comebacks. First up is the beloved Nantucket Food & Wine Festival from May 18 to 22, with such participating luminaries as Argentine winemaking legends Susana Balbo and Laura Catena; Italy’s reigning sparkling wine king, Maurizio Zanella of Franciacorta’s Ca’ del Bosco; iconic James-Beard recognized Boston chefs Lydia Shire (Scampo) and Cassie Piuma (Sarma); rising Boston wine star Jack Zindler (Talulla); and more. If you’re a foodie and/or oenophile, this festival is the place to be.
If design and decor is more your speed, check out Nantucket by Design: This year’s events August 3 to 6 events include keynote and panel discussions, cocktail parties, an auction, floral design talks, and special preview access to the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show. And if you’re a bookworm interested in rubbing elbows with the likes of mystery novelist Louise Penny, National Book Award winner Tiya Miles, or actress Sharon Stone, check out the Nantucket Book Festival in June.
The island’s tradition of plein air (or outdoor) painting will be on full display at the Plein Air Festival on June 14 to 20. The festival encourages all painters to head outdoors and capture the island’s natural beauty. Admission is free, and guests are encouraged to observe artists from a respectful distance; any artists so inclined are welcome to submit their work to a juried competition. This event, perhaps above all the others, is a reminder that despite the traffic, despite the encroaching billionaires and private equity investors, and despite all the salty locals telling you otherwise, this island is still a haven—for the nature lovers, creatives, and everyone who comes here in search of quiet moments of serenity.