Welcome to Nantucket
The tulips have popped and so have the pink preppy collars – it’s summertime in ACK…Nantucket is a magical island and a place that I love to share with friends & family. Recently, I hosted a group of five gals for a “ladies only weekend” honoring our best friend and bride-to-be. To kick-off the weekend with a very warm and ladylike welcome, I prepared gorgeous Nantucket Gift Bags with the help of some incredible local vendors. A special thank you to Kylie at ACKgiftbags for her enthusiastic help in designing and providing customized tags for each of the totes. Inside the gift bags, I placed a few of the bride’s “favorite things” (chocolates, soaps, popcorn, hello kitty beach towels) along with monogram beach hats and customized water bottles. There is nothing better than arriving to a destination with all the essentials waiting for you in a beautiful tote!
Cupcakes & Champagne
Along with the welcome totes awaiting, there was champagne and cupcakes served in the kitchen immediately upon arrival. Have you tried the Nantucket Bakeshop? They specialize in cupcakes, cakes, breakfast pastries and treats for any occasion. Check out these sprinkled bright cupcakes below – they are always a crowd pleaser. The bride-to-be was of course dressed in her finest white tutu paired with a Lilly Pulitzer blouse, a gold Kate Spade belt and strappy sandals – is she fabulous or what? She is an international stylist and has done featured work for the Trunk Club – make sure to check her out if your current wardrobe is absolutely hopeless – you can find her @styledwithHOPE. We can’t wait to see her dressed in bridal blush on the big wedding day.
For a true ladies only ACK weekend you need the proper beach essentials: Lilly Pulitzer designed paddle boards, beach towels, and of course – the limited edition rolling cooler cart! It fits up to 12 chilled bottles of your favorite champagne or rosé wines! For fun customized Lilly gifts and party essentials – shop at Swoozies online for great finds!
Lunch with the crew at Cru
After opening our gifts and indulging in a bit of champagne + cupcakes, we dressed in our “Lilly Best” and headed to lunch at one of Nantucket’s finest – CRU. The perfect spot to take in a lively (and fashionable) ambience with a view of sailboats and yachts… all to the backdrop of mouthwatering raw bar items and overloaded lobster rolls. The coordinating hats, although a bit silly, were a total hit throughout downtown. For dessert the bride surprised us with glamorous sunglass cases designed by Jonathan Adler filled with heart shaped shades to rock all weekend long.
Comfy Clam Bake
After a long afternoon lunch filled with cocktails, laughs and lobster rolls, we ventured back home and relaxed on the patio for a cozy summer evening. In the comfort of pajamas and yoga pants, we shared our greatest stories and played a few games. For dinner, I prepared the gals a delicious Clam Bake courtesy of Sayle’s Seafood. What better way to kick-off summer than some lobsters and corn on the cob?
Juice Bar Ending
For the perfect ending to the perfect evening, follow my lady lead – treat yourself to something sweet at the legendary Juice Bar. Homemade waffle cones, cookies and ice cream galore fill the walls of this Nantucket landmark. With over 50 specialty flavors featuring local delights (i.e. chocolate covered cranberries), you can’t go wrong with any choice you make! And don’t worry, that traitorous line outside the premises at all hours of the day is totally worth the wait! Lick up lady, the ice cream melts fast because of the warmth of the freshly made waffle cone.
Wake-up in ACK
We started our next morning off with one of my favorite exercises on island — a lengthy and scenic walk across Sanford Farm. Not many tourists know about this hidden gem, but Sanford Farm is located along the Madaket bike path. You can ride a bike, drive your car and park, or jog up to the farm from town. Once you get there, you enter a renown space of preserved land stretching all the way down to beaches along the southern shore of ACK. Take in the view of Hummock Pond and the gorgeous Cisco beaches. There are various paths ranging in distance: 3, 5 and 8 mile loops are clearly designated by signs throughout the farmland.
After working up an appetite, swing on by the Downyflake and grab those steaming hot sugary doughnuts! Also not too far way from this great hiking and walking spot, is the island’s one and only brewery – Cisco Brewery. Visit Cisco Brewery for live music, raw bar and obviously delicious draft beers!
Shopping Around Town
Aside from beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and historic charm, Nantucket boasts some of the best boutique shopping in the country. Here you can find anything from luxury jewelry, boho chic grabs, souvenir essentials to preppy statement pieces. Stroll down Main, to Centre Street and all the way down to small shops along the wharf – you will find a great variety of items to browse and buy! Here is a list of Ladyhattan’s top shopping boutiques and destinations in downtown:
- Incredible, sophisticated and fun women’s clothing boutique owned by a Nantucket icon who changes the windowfront design every evening for a fresh and inspiring look (love you, Karen) – Eye of the Needle
- Check-out the nautical, Nantucket themed store layout of this classic prepster’s paradise (fun fact: Ladyhattan had her first sales job here at the ripe age of 18) – Ralph Lauren
- Grab your surf and beach gear here, and if you have little ones, make sure to take them to the secret “penny candy shop” in the back – Force Five Water Sports
- Luxury hand woven gifts (they even allow visitors to see their upstairs production space if you ask nicely) – Nantucket Looms
- A treasure box of old and new accessories, jewelry and clothing collected during the off-season by world traveling owners – Vis a Vis
- The perfect place for seasonal home décor items and gifts – Best of the Beach
- Did you forget your undies or perhaps desire a new nightgown, visit the Island’s only lingerie shop – Ladybird
- A lady always needs new hats – check out the hat creations inside the shop of – Peter Beaton
- A kindle can never replace the true joy found in a hardcover book full of paper pages. Grab a good summer read at this charming bookstore located on Main – Mitchell’s Book Corner
- A vintage clothing and home décor boutique run by a pack of fabulous sisters – go meet the girls of Milly & Grace for yourself – Milly & Grace
- Can’t leave the island without the ACK t-shirt to prove it or share as a gift for your loved ones – Annie and the Tee’s
- Grab a copy of the Newspaper in the center meeting point of town and coincidently a great spot to sight a famous politician (ran into John Kerry and Vice President Biden inside this shop) – The Hub
- If you find yourself exhausted form all that shopping, take a coffee or milkshake break at the old fashioned town pharmacy (you can sit at the classic soda counter and go back to 1955) – Congdon’s Pharmacy
Dinner & Dancing
People often ask me for dinner recommendations in Nantucket and I consistently respond with “Le Langeudoc“. Located on a quiet side street in downtown, this restaurant offers seating on the outdoor patio or tables both upstairs (more formal) and downstairs (a bit casual) inside a historic home. The menu offers a great selection of signature dishes featuring local delights such as their Barlett Farm tomatoes (seasonal) with burrata cheese or Nantucket Bay Scallops. There are even a few French infused items to taste, including a cheese soufflé dish (photographed below) and classic steak frites. All meals are provided with exquisite service and fresh home-made French bread along with an extensive selection of imported wines. What is also great about the “bar area” is that they offer a bistro menu with options suited for a less adventurous palate (everyone loves the Languedoc burger served on an English muffin).
After dinner you must of course hit the town and experience some Nantucket nightlife. Whatever age you are, you can never be too old to dance a song or two at the Chicken Box! With great live bands and entertainment, the Chicken Box is always a packed house! For a more relaxing cocktail, head to a less rowdy bar such at The Pearl, Grey Lady, the Galley Beach Bar or the Club Car.
A Madaket Sunset with Margaritas by Millies
Outside of town there are many distinct places and neighborhoods within the island: Sconset, Cisco, Madaket, Tom Nevers, Jetties, Brant Point, Surfside, Pocomo, Great Point, and the list goes on… One of my favorite places to watch a good sunset is on the far west end of the island – Madaket. This is a sleepy part of the island with beautiful beach homes, scenary and solitude. There are no grocery stores, rows of restaurants or street lights anywhere in sight. The only restaurant located here, and go-to hotspot, is called Millie’s. It is the one and only restaurant/bar in this neck of the woods. Although it’s a bit of a hike from downtown (about a 20 minute car ride), it’s worth the trek! Enjoy a vibrant blood orange sunset, a lively environment with musical entertainment, strong margaritas and spicy house-made tacos. Even if you have a car on island, I highly recommend taking a taxi out to Millie’s so you can enjoy a margarita and not fret over the difficult drive home in the dark. I always call my go-to taxi company – Toppy’s Taxi for a quick and easy pick-up! The ride out to Madaket is about $20-30 by taxi. The restaurant is typically packed so expect a wait. If you have some time to kill, just walk about 100 yards toward the beach and you will reach the sounds of crashing waves, the smell of salty air and a sunset like no other! One final reason to love Millie’s restaurant: they even filled up our giant pink “bride” cup with oversized margaritas on the house! Thank you, Millie’s!
Saying Goodbye and Returning to 2015
Whether you leave by ferry boat, sailboat, cape air or your private jet, saying “goodbye” to the magic of Nantucket is never easy. When you haven’t seen a Starbucks chain in days, find yourself surrounded by cobblestone streets and finally get used to driving a car without stoplights, it’s pretty easy to feel like you have been transported back to the days of the early 1800s. Nantucket has this power over us all – the power to take us back and help us forget the millennial world filled with superficialities. For more travel tips and advice about Nantucket, stay posted for more Ladyhattan features about on-island experiences!