11 Aug 2015

Nantucket Latitudes and Attitudes

Never one to mince words, Jimmy Buffet gets right to the point in his blockbuster hit from his 1977 album of the same name, “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” He reflects on the brevity of life as he considers taking off for a weekend to try and recall the whole year…and then wonders where it all disappeared. He concludes that as we change latitudes and attitudes “nothing remains quite the same,” and that “with all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”
I had the distinct pleasure a couple weeks ago to “change latitudes” for a few hours as I joined a group of girlfriends for a sunset harbor cruise. We didn’t venture far – just a few hundred yards off the Nantucket coastline – but we might as well have been sailing around the world. It was a gift to collectively exhale and embrace a rare summer opportunity to live in the moment free from the hustle bustle of everyday life. We heard stories about each others children, listened intently to the ongoing health struggles a couple of us were battling, reminisced about how quickly time had passed since we’d last been together and toasted in agreement how lucky we were to see the sun bid us farewell as it dipped into the Polpis Harbor. Mr. Buffet would be thrilled to know that the minor change in latitude was good for our attitudes as we found 100 things to laugh about, acknowledging that if we didn’t, we really might all go insane.
Nantucket may be a small body of sand many miles out to sea, but it offers multiple opportunities to “change your latitude” without going very far. If you don’t love the crashing waves and under-tow at Madaket, you can drive 10 minutes to the calm North Shore waters off Dionis. For those who aren’t fans of the hubbub of downtown, you can escape to Wauwinet or Pocomo where the only sound you’re likely to hear are the birds singing their good morning chorus. Even on the busiest summer August days, it’s amazing how a short walk or bike ride to some different part of the island puts a smile on our face and a spring in our step.
There is perhaps no better way to change latitude on Nantucket than by taking to the water. The beauty of the island’s downtown “skyline” dotted with church steeples and historic mansions takes our breath away as we enter the harbor. The acres of conservation land along Medouie Creek remind us to be grateful for our natural habitat and the guardians who seek to protect it. The unspoiled sliver of Coatue is a refuge on a summer day when the island is brimming with people and its beauty is a gift within the greater gift of the island itself.
If you love Nantucket, but are looking to change up your scenery a bit, schedule a day trip or sunset cruise with Captain Bruce Cowen on the beautiful 55′ Ack-Five Hinckley. You can go solo and rent your own sleek vessel from Island Boat Rental. If you prefer to see the island on land, schedule a 2-wheeled tour with Nantucket Bike Tours or join the Nantucket Historical Association for an informative guided nature hike. As Jimmy Buffet concludes, “There’s just too much to see…and I just can’t go wrong.”
Change your latitude
Shellie Dunlap
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