10 Mar 2015

Ice Land On Nantucket

Photo Courtesy of Barry Cohen from Marine Home Services

Nantucket is accustomed to receiving notoriety for its beautiful beaches, historic architecture and palatial oceanfront estates, but it was Old Man Winter who served up an unexpected and unprecedented PR campaign for our little island in recent weeks. First it was Juno’s one-two punch that left Nantucket powerless and flooded. Most recently it’s been stories of our icy harbor and “slurpee” waves that have the newsfeeds buzzing. Jonathan Nimerfroh’s now world famous images of the frothy slush that’s crashing onto our beaches, remind us that Nantucket is a beautifully unique place to be – on the warmest August afternoon and on the coldest February morning.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said so well, “When skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed. ” As the frigid temps refused to climb these past few weeks, we all watched in awe as the Nantucket sound and harbor formed an icy crust that stretched all the way to Hyannis. Even while the world “iced over” around us, the island carried on. While it might not be with the “speed” Emerson suggested, there is forward motion and ongoing progress none the less. Even Old Man Winter can’t keep a good island down.

At once eerily mysterious and beautiful, the icy chunks (that have locals dubbing the island “Nanarctica”) have been mostly an annoyance and an inconvenience forcing multiple fast ferry cancellations and wreaking havoc on winter vacation travel. Thankfully the Steamship (with the assistance of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter) has been able to cut its way through the ice most days and offer both passage and provisions to the island. As a passenger on the slow boat last week, I have to say it’s a bizarre sensation heading home to our little island paradise surrounded by ice on all sides.

With March upon us, the winter weary people of Nantucket have all eyes on spring and summer. Yet, there is something about the intensity of this winter…the record breaking snow totals, ice accumulation and bone chilling temperatures…that has humbled us and reminded us that even in (especially in?) the toughest days we are so fortunate to have the generous spirit of our Nantucket friends and neighbors. I have witnessed and heard about countless random acts of kindness this winter – people offering rides to strangers, meals being delivered to those unable to get out, assistance being offered with snow removal. My colleagues and I arrived to our office after a recent snowstorm to discover all our sidewalks being shoveled by Bertram Fowler, a local island painter. When offered compensation, he refused saying it was his pleasure to do something kind for us. One of thousands of shining examples of why this island stays strong in the face of adversity.

Even if you too are winter weary and looking toward summer, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the amazing icy phenomenon that has Nantucket in its grip for just little while longer. Hop on the Steamship and pretend you’re on an Arctic Cruise, bundle up and stroll along the beautiful beaches while the slush comes ashore, then stop by The Bean or The Handlebar CafĂ© for a piping hot latte to take the chill off. Soon enough, it will be sun and surf time, but until then join us in embracing Nantucket’s winter wonderland.

On the rocks.

Shellie Dunlap
0 - Shellie Dunlap - A Nantucket Experience

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