30 Oct 2018

Nantucket’s Shoulder Season

The precocious young Anne Shirley from the famed novel Anne of Green Gables, wisely concluded, “I love living in a world where there are Octobers.” Those of us who call Nantucket home could not agree more. For the majority of our friends and guests, summer is where it’s at on Nantucket. But for the rest of us, the true magic the Grey Lady serves up happens in the off-season…and more specifically in October.
It oftentimes feels like our senses are playing tricks on us. The same foliage that was bright green and lush just a hot minute ago, suddenly is a rainbow of warm hues of amber, copper and rust. Those southern breezes now have a cool bite to them in the early morning hours. The aroma of grilled burgers and fresh caught sea bass wafting over from the neighbor’s yard has been replaced with the smell of wood smoke billowing from their fireplace. We blinked and October arrived with 31 days of thoughtful gifts…and a reminder to savor every one.
The skies are always beautiful when you’re 30 miles out to sea, but Nantucket skies in the fall are simply astounding. In one calendar week, we had a sunrise that illuminated the sky with a thousand different colors and designs as daylight cast its glow over the island. Then, just days later, in the midst of what looked to be a dreary rain event highlighted by dark storm clouds, a double rainbow appeared that stretched from Smith’s Point to Sconset and left its arc in the sky long enough for dozens of locals to capture and share it on social media. The night skies are no less impressive as billions of stars drape themselves over the island each evening and leave us spellbound.
It isn’t just the island beauty that makes the shoulder season so special. Many of the restaurants are still open with fabulous fall menu items…and most importantly no reservations required! We stopped by American Seasons a couple weeks ago and were treated to a candlelit table in the window on a cool rainy evening. We chatted with local friends seated nearby, enjoyed the special three course meal featuring the slow roasted pork shoulder and then took a stroll up Center Street where the only sound to be heard was the leaves rustling in the trees as they wiggled loose from the branches.
October is almost over, but there is plenty of the “shoulder season” left to enjoy on Nantucket. Come for a long weekend where the Nantucket Hotel and many of the Inns offer great off-season rates. Bring along your family or friends and book a rental home where owners are often happy to offer long weekend opportunities. Grab a good book from Mitchell’s or Bookworks to enjoy in front of a crackling fire. Hike through the beautiful colors adorning Sanford Farm. And plan a long leisurely dinner at The Proprietors, Fifty-Six Union or American Seasons where you’ll be treated to their fabulous autumn specials and almost guaranteed to catch up with some locals doing the same.
Well seasoned.
Shellie Dunlap  
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