17 Jun 2014

Nantucket Bound

In his Billboard hit “The Downeaster ‘Alexa,” Billy Joel reminds us of the magnetic pull of our little island as he sings “I have charted a course to the Vineyard, but tonight I am Nantucket bound.” With the summer season now upon us, thousands of friends, family and first time visitors are experiencing the euphoria that comes with packing surfboards and swimwear, loading the SUV and charting the course for Nantucket.

Upon their arrival here, summer residents and visitors will settle in to their homes or guest accommodations and enthusiastically embrace the Nantucket summer. There will be new restaurants to sample like The Nautilus Nantucket on Cambridge Street and Nantucket Prime on Broad Street, new shops to peruse like CJ Laing on Centre Street and Follain on South Beach Street. For some families, a Nantucket summer means beach picnics, Madaket sunsets, leisurely bike rides to ‘Sconset and clambakes galore. For others, it simply means quieter days away from the burdens and pressures of everyday life where they can relish the opportunity to slip down to the seashore and feel the sand between their toes, the wind at their backs and the summer sunshine on their faces.

For most of us who live here year round, being “Nantucket bound” has a different meaning in the summer…we are tied to the island, committed to giving it all we’ve got for the busy season. There are some who relate to Billy Joel’s lyrics about a struggling fisherman in a deeply personal way. In recent weeks, Ruth and Bill Blount, the owners of the “Ruthie B” (the last remaining offshore commercial fishing boat out of Nantucket) discovered what it truly means to be “Nantucket bound”…landlocked as it were…when they were unable to launch their boat for the summer fishing season. Unexpected costs to haul their boat for an insurance survey and additional expenses meant they could not begin fishing this season. Nantucket and its residents responded the way they always do when its people are in crises…they rallied. A Kickstarter Campaign was formed, supporters like Marshall Thompson from The Jetties Restaurant helped organize a benefit concert and within weeks a good portion (but not all) of the needed funds have been raised in hopes that the Ruthie B will set sail and Nantucket will continue to be supplied with fresh local fish.

In whatever way you are “Nantucket Bound” this summer – exuberantly loading the kids and the car preparing to head for the island or one of the many local people preparing your business or homes to delight guests and friends, you can be sure Nantucket has another magical experience in store for all of us. Dust off the picnic baskets, untangle the kite strings and get all your dining reservations secured. When you find yourself at one of the many island restaurants who pride themselves in serving the freshest cuisine, give the local “catch of the day” a try…it’s likely to have just come off the Ruthie B.

Chart your course.

Shellie Dunlap

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