18 Oct 2016

Color Full Nantucket

In her 2006 bestseller “The Ice Queen,” author Alice Hoffman‘s nameless main character is struck by lightning and loses the ability to see the color red. Later, when lamenting the time spent sweating the small things in life, she ruminates about how much she’d missed along the way. “How could I have been so stupid to ignore everything I’d had in my life? The color red alone was worth kingdoms,” the character concludes. There’s no place like Nantucket Island to make us appreciate all the colors of the rainbow…but many days it seems that red is the Grey Lady’s favorite color.
Nantucket is fifty shades of red this time of year. The foliage is sporting a smattering of crimson hues all along Milestone and Polpis Roads and out into the moors. The evening sky is an ever changing…and jaw dropping I might add…exhibition of magenta, burgundy and carnelian. The most dramatic and widespread display of the color of love this time of year is in the cranberry bogs. Last weekend’s Cranberry Festival, hosted by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, showcased multiple acres of floating berries and predictions that over 2 million of these sweet and sour little rascals will be harvested this season.
Nantucket people so love the color red that Murray’s Toggery Shop on Main Street actually trademarked the now world famous Nantucket Red attire. You just haven’t fully committed to the Grey Lady until your closet is sporting a Nantucket Red sweatshirt, baseball cap or those much talked about Nantucket Red pants. And lest you think the world doesn’t know our style secrets, think again. My husband was with a group of friends on a driving range in Big Sky, Montana in July proudly donning his Nantucket Red shorts. Within minutes a gentleman approached him and said, “you must be from Nantucket.” When Dan replied he was and how did the gentleman know – the gentleman responded, “we don’t wear pink pants in Big Sky.” Well, we’ve been wearing “pink pants” on Nantucket for decades – and proudly too I might add.
Red isn’t the only color that makes this beautiful island shine. From the brilliant hunter green privet hedges, to the ecru sand beaches, to the miles of steel blue ocean as far as the eye can see…Nantucket reminds us how vibrant life is. Our friends, Scott Widmeyer and Alan Yount created an adult coloring book this spring titled “A Walk Around Nantucket.” They invite us all to pick up our colored pencils and colorize the landmarks of the island we love. Amazon and the local bookstores keep selling out of this beautiful book because everyone wants to be a part of depicting the stunning essence of the island in full color.
If you haven’t made plans to enjoy the dramatic hues of Nantucket this fall, book your trip now. If you’re lucky enough to live here year-round, grab your camera, a sketchpad or your “A Walk Around Nantucket” coloring book and capture the autumn beauty of the island for the memory books. As Alice Hoffman says, “the color of red alone is worth kingdoms.”
Red alert.


Shellie Dunlap 
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