It’s hard to believe we are in the dead of winter here on Nantucket when the temps continue to be mild and precipitation light. People island-wide clamor to find activities they can enjoy outdoors. In recent weeks, the bike paths have been busy with cycling enthusiasts, joggers and the occasional roller-blader. Side streets outside downtown are a popular spot for power walkers. But some of the most desired destinations during these beautiful winter days are out of the way places where winding dirt paths and obscure trails lead to some of the islands best kept secrets. Although downtown is quiet during the off season, locals and visitors enjoy an opportunity to break from their weekly work routines and “go to the country” on the weekends in search of peace and solitude.
Even on this tiny body of sand, there are plenty of options for those seeking a little dose of country life. Last weekend my husband Dan and I, with Coco the white dog in tow, headed to Sanford Farm for a long walk, some quiet reflection and the opportunity to breath in giant gulps of oxygen. I love the topography and winding paths at the farm during every season, but there’s something special about experiencing it in the dead of winter. Stripped of its multi-colored hues and lush foliage, it beckons visitors to “come as you are” and celebrate the simplicity of the island in the off season.
As we navigated the trails, we spotted a variety of birds in the trees and bushes, an osprey nest perched high on a post and a couple of deer in the distance. We ran into friends, neighbors and a couple of colleagues at various junctures. But even with the few random encounters, it felt like we had the wide-open space mostly to ourselves. We stopped along the way to sit on a bench near the barn in Ram Pasture. My husband’s ears enjoyed a quiet sabbatical as we embraced a few golden moments of pure silence. No reason to rudely interrupt Mother Nature’s majestic display of beauty with casual conversation.
Nantucket sparkles in the summertime when everything is in full bloom, the stores and restaurants open and the streets bustling with enthusiastic visitors. But the Grey Lady is perhaps her most beautiful in the dead of winter. Stripped down to her bare bones, residents and visitors are able to glimpse the very soul of the island. Why not plan a trip now to come enjoy Nantucket in the off-season? Bring along some good books or a journal, rent a home with a fireplace and pencil in plenty of time to head to the “countryside” for long walks and quiet reflection as you enjoy life that’s a little bit country on Nantucket.
Take a hike.