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25 Oct 2011

Nantucket Indian Summer

Nantucket Indian Summer

Nantucket is stretching its arms, exhaling a slow steady breath and preparing to kick its feet up after a jam-packed summer of gracious hospitality. One by one the leaves are turning from green to red, orange and yellow. Temperatures are cooling, the crowds are thinning and it’s a bit easier finding a place to park. From my window I see sweaters and scarves replacing the beach wear and flip-flop attire of a few short weeks ago.

I love every season on Nantucket, but after just celebrating one year as a full time resident, I can say that this time of year – Nantucket Indian Summer – is my all time favorite. There’s something special about watching the island ever so slowly wind itself down as the hustle and bustle lessens. Even as the pace slows, the beauty of the island seems to take on a new vibrancy. The sky and ocean are an indescribable color of blue. The warm colors of the marsh grass and the transforming foliage of the trees provide a soothing backdrop for the brisk fall days.

I just returned yesterday from a few days off island. As the ferry pulled around Brant Point I couldn’t help but instantly notice the stark contrast to where I’d just been. Although the cities I spent time in had their own brand of beauty and charm, they were busy metropolises. I spent several hours in heavy traffic – cars honking and cutting each other off with impatience. I stood in countless lines while traveling, rode in crowded buses and elevators and with the exception of the group of friends I was with, recognized exactly no one in the shops and restaurants I visited.

During this segue into the Nantucket quiet season, the only honking I hear as we enter the harbor is another ferry tooting its horn announcing its departure…bidding Nantucket a friendly but brief farewell. There are no lines to stand in, no crowded buses to ride and in every single shop or restaurant I enter I see a friendly face and receive a warm greeting.

The colors may be changing and temps may be dropping, but the island hospitality is still in full bloom. There are numerous activities on the Nantucket fall calendar. Visitors can attend concerts, lectures or a theater production. There are garden and cranberry bog tours, gallery openings and birding festivals. Take a long walk through color splashed conservation paths then stop by the Rose & Crown for a hot toddy and live karaoke. If you’re on the island this coming weekend, you can join the Halloween fun at several restaurants and get caught up in the ghoulish festivities during the annual Nantucket Halloween parade on Monday, October 31.

If you’re needing an opportunity to slip away from the busy-ness of life this fall, make plans to come spend a few days (or weeks) in Nantucket. Bring your walking shoes, a camera and a good book. Plan to spend some time sitting on a bench watching the afternoon sunlight dance across the harbor. Take a bike ride out to Quaise or North Pasture and soak in the multihued scenery. Come let the island refresh you.  

Fall back.

Shellie Dunlap

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