18 Sep 2018

Nantucket Staycation

Henry David Thoreau beautifully summarized the mysterious transition of our frenetic summer pace into the shockingly quieter fall days. “Summer,” he concluded, “passes into autumn in some unimaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf.” September tiptoes into Nantucket and is greeted by the locals as an old friend. Those of us who live and work here are weary from the 24/7 grind of the summer season and grateful for the Grey Lady’s invitation to slow down, exhale and enjoy some quality time with her.
Thoreau understood that summer itself was not to be discounted, but, instead, bottled up to be savored all season. “One must maintain a little bit of summer,” Thoreau reckoned, “even in the midst of winter.” Summer…especially on Nantucket…offers all of us (locals, summer residents and first-time visitors) the magic and continuous celebration that takes place with family and friends on beaches, bike paths, restaurants and back lawns. We want to relish the moments, but as locals we long for the luxury of time. Time to pause, sit down on the shore, put our toes in the sand and embrace the beauty of the place we call home.
Many of us looked on in awe (and admittedly a little envy) as our summer friends and family got tan, rested and notably restored as the balmy beach days and starlit evenings worked their magic. We knew that soon enough, it would be our turn to settle in and “staycation” on our island paradise. September is not only one of the most beautiful months on Nantucket, but perhaps the most sacred. For those lucky few who didn’t have to race to a boat or plane on a Saturday in August, September is the time we relinquish our cares, struggles and busy work schedules and let the island do what she does best – renew us.
The switch from busy tourist town to the slow-paced quiet season is almost startling. In the course of a week, as August wound down, my morning bike ride to the beach saw multitudes of fellow riders and beachcomber’s sharing the paths and the sand transition to literally no one…not a single soul…on Cisco beach in the early morning hours of the first September week. I like people…I really do. I take pleasure in filling our social calendar to capacity all summer. But, I am completely in awe of what happens to the human psyche when you spend a little time alone on the shores of this island.
For the opportunity to sit quietly on the sand and read a book, take a long nap or linger unhurried at one of the local restaurants, there’s no better place than Nantucket in the shoulder season. The Nantucket Hotel has great off-season rates and packages for visitors to pop over for a long weekend and island residents to “staycation.” Fall Restaurant Week, beginning September 24, gives all of us the chance to take full advantage of the island’s many five-star eatery’s. Cisco Brewery will continue drawing large crowds to enjoy their libations and live music and for those who want to continue their summer zen, the Yoga Room has classes year-round. We’ll gladly heed Thoreau’s advice and maintain a little bit of summer and we’ll do it right here at home.
Stay put.
Shellie Dunlap
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