12 Jan 2016

Change On Nantucket

In his 2013 bestseller, “The Best of Me,” Nicholas Sparks opines that “change isn’t always for the best.” While his story is one of two young people who re-discover teenage romance after 20 years, his premise of change not always being best applies to many life circumstances. With 2016 on the calendar and many of us determined to give it “the best of us”, it’s always good to consider what things should change and what things are best preserved.
Nantucket is constantly in a state of change. With new people arriving, new businesses opening and new homes being built, it’s tempting to let the famed lyrics of the late David Bowie rule the day. “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange!” At the same time, we’re incredibly fortunate to have multiple governing bodies that insist on creating and enforcing guidelines that force many things to stay the same. The HDC (Historic District Commission), Town Planning Board, Nantucket Preservation Trust, Conservation Commission and multiple others work tirelessly to ensure that the very fiber of our island is preserved.
It’s fun to watch some of the building projects unfold, especially in the Historic District. The Unitarian Meeting House is getting a major facelift, but no doubt will not look any different when it’s complete – only new and improved. The creation of the new Nantucket Culinary Center on Broad Street has been fascinating to witness. The exterior of the building has been beautifully restored to its original luster, while the interior features a large modern kitchen and dining facilities and a beautiful new café. A true example of “the best” of old and new Nantucket design.
While some find the design options and expansion possibilities limiting on Nantucket, it’s the restrictions and guidelines that allow the island to flourish while maintaining its charm and historic allure. Later in Sparks novel he says, “what the younger generation didn’t understand was that the grass was greenest where it’s watered.” As we welcome the next generation of Nantucketer’s (both those born and raised, as well as first time visitors) it’s good to remind them (and ourselves) that our forefathers spent decades designing and protecting the island. Our only job is to keep “watering” it to make it the best it can be.
With a New Year upon us, it’s a great time to explore all the possibilities 2016 offers and all the opportunities that Nantucket affords us. A tiny little island out to sea, steeped in the history and architecture of the island proprietors, yet brimming with cutting edge ideas and ingenuity. Take a cooking class at the new Nantucket Culinary Center, take a walk up Orange Street to admire the progress of the Unitarian Meeting House renovation or drive out to one of the large parcels of protected conservation land and be reminded why change isn’t always best.
Shellie Dunlap
Related Posts
  • 26 Feb 2013 Change on Nantucket I’m a creature of habit – sometimes to a fault. I held on to my outdated flip-phone long after my friends and family had hopped on the band wagon of smart phone people strictly because it was familiar and wasn’t smarter than me I rarely re-arrange my furniture prefer to frequent the same restaurants and... Continue Reading
  • 27 Aug 2013 Time For Change on Nantucket It’s been said “You don’t know what you don’t know but when you do know you have to do something about it.” When Darcy Creech founder and CEO of Peter Beaton Inc of Nantucket visited a child named Joyce in the tiny village of Olkolili Tanzania in 2010 she discovered something she did not know…Joyce... Continue Reading