24 Sep 2013

Change Of Pace on Nantucket

The fresh and funny author Alexandra Potter writes in her entertaining The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather, “My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.”  As I drove out Polpis Road recently, I was forced to stop and wait for the “pedestrian” in the photo to cross the road. Mr. Turtle was taking a page from Ms. Potter’s book as he casually sashayed across the road…enjoying his “somewhere.”  As I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel, he shot me a glance over his shell that said, “Slow down sister…it’s September and I’m in no big hurry.”

It’s shocking how quickly it happens – this change of pace on Nantucket.  Our bustling little island, that just weeks ago was operating at maximum capacity and a frenetic speed, has adjusted its tempo and recalibrated its attitude. There’s a noticeable difference in the “urgency” all over the island, but I notice it especially at intersections and the rotary where July and August had all of us impatient and pushy and now finds most of us relaxed, even cordial, as we gladly let a car or two pull in front of us recognizing their destination is just as important as ours. Schools are back in session, the harbor is beginning to empty and there is parking for one and all at the Stop and Shop. Even Mother Nature has weighed in on the dramatic shift as temps fell into the 50’s last week prompting all of us to reach for our sweaters and check the status of the wood pile.

The “shoulder season” on Nantucket, particularly the fall, is one of my favorite times on the island. With all her summer guests departed, the Grey Lady offers an invitation to those of us left behind to pull up a bench or a porch swing and just bask in the beauty…the fresh salt air…the calm…that is at the very core of all things wonderful about Nantucket. As the leaves begin to drop and the colors change moment by moment, it’s the perfect time to take long walks at Tuppancy Links or Sanford Farm, a bike ride from Cisco to ‘Sconset and back again or meet up with those friends you’ve been too busy to see all summer for a cold drink at Cisco Brewery or a fall cook together around your own kitchen counter.

September is the ideal time for guests to visit Nantucket…either for the first time or a return trip. The island tells a different story and shares a different side of herself during this quiet time of year. It’s a great time to show up with no itinerary at all and plan to simply fill the days enjoying the quiet, exploring the scenery and letting the island refresh you. If you’re looking for a change of pace this fall, take some advice from Alexandra Potter and come enjoy just “being” on Nantucket.

Slow Down.

Shellie Dunlap

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