In his 1981 hit single, “Island,” Jimmy Buffett describes a yearning for an island that only those of us who live on or frequent an island can truly relate to. He sings of seeing the island in the distance and in his dreams. He expresses a longing for the “heart and soul accompaniment” that comes with being one with an island. And he also perfectly depicts with his word pictures the frustration that can come with being unable to enter a port as the elusive island remains just out of reach.
Boy was I thinking about Buffett’s words a few weeks ago as my husband and I tried to make our way back to Nantucket. What was intended to be a quick 3-day trip to visit friends “in America” as we islanders like to call it…became a 6-day travel snarl that seemed more like Lambchop’s “Song That Never Ends” instead of a soothing island ballad. Of this type of adventure Buffett croons, “And I tried to sail in but your wind and waters tore my sails and broke my oars.” The oars didn’t come off the boats, but the wind and waves sure did wreak havoc on island travel for a few days.
This is a common phenomenon on Nantucket in the winter. We’re accustomed to some wild and unpredictable weather days. And, I must confess, when I have nowhere to be, there’s nothing I love more than a good ole ‘Nor-easter. It’s fascinating to witness the strength and resilience of the island as Mother Nature whips up a temper tantrum and storms in with a vengeance roiling up the waves and blowing rain and snow sideways. The Grey Lady just takes it in stride and when it passes there is typically nothing more than a few missing shingles and downed tree limbs to indicate there had been a regular brawl just hours before.
However, when you have somewhere to be…or more importantly are trying to return home to the island…the weather fits are not so fun. An interesting thing happens as we find ourselves “trapped on the other side.” We begin (like Buffett) really longing for our island. With each cancelled boat, we miss her more. We make the most of it. Gather with other Nantucketer’s who know the drill (and the best rooms) at the Double Tree, Courtyard and Hyannis Harbor Hotel and always appreciate the island rate. We take advantage of time to chat with local friends in the same boat (or not, as it were!) as we savor the raw bar at the Naked Oyster or fresh baguettes at Pain D’Avignon and share a toast to island life.
If you’re traveling to the island this winter, be sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly. But, by all means come! Nantucket is at her most magical this time of year. She’s stripped bare of the summer foliage, exposing the sheer beauty and soul of the island. Long walks, crackling fires, great restaurants, good books and absolute rejuvenation are in store for you! And if the seas are a little rough on the ride over, well that too is part of the Nantucket Experience.
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