16 Jul 2019


The beloved Fred Rogers once said of his neighbors, “The underlying message of the Neighborhood is that if somebody cares about you, it’s possible that you’ll care about others. ‘You are special, and so is your neighbor’ – that part is essential: that you’re not the only special person in the world. The person you happen to be with at the moment is loved, too.” What a very simple message for our world today.
In his legendary red sweater, Sperrys Topsiders and sing song soothing voice, Mr. Rogers graciously invited us into his neighborhood for over three decades. His message of kindness, compassion and sharing resonated with young and old and he set the benchmark for what it means to be a good neighbor. Is it any wonder that Fred Rogers and his family made their way to Nantucket Island years ago and put down roots in a real-life magical neighborhood located 30 miles out to sea?
One of the many features of our tiny island that make it so desirable are the micro “neighborhoods” (island areas) that allow residents and guests to find common interests, passions and friendships. In Sconset, you’ll find multiple generations who’ve connected over tennis at the Casino or lemonade on their antique porch in the village. In Cisco (which now encompasses areas like Hummock Pond and Miacomet), families and friends share their love for surfing and a cold Whale’s Tale at Cisco Brewery. In Polpis, Quidnet or Eel Point you can find couples, families and long-time tenants who appreciate the unspoiled “country life” of being more remote, yet still know all the kids and dog names of neighbors on every side.
At our annual neighborhood “block party” in Austin Farms (in the Cisco area) this weekend, I was reminded of how Nantucket unites us, first as local neighbors, but more broadly as Nantucketers in general. Over the years we’ve had each other’s barefoot kids on our lawns, discovered family dogs in one another’s kitchens and stood at the ready if one of us has a need…or we’re just feeling generous. I’ve had neighbors show up unannounced on my doorstep with a fresh baked pie and another with newly caught Nantucket bluefish. I’ve had other neighbors trim my trees (unsolicited!) and clear the snow from my driveway. Many of those barefoot kids are grown now with kids of their own, but they too share the memories and understand the unbelievable and very rare opportunity to grow up in a place that afforded them an unspoiled childhood in a loving neighborhood.
Nantucket is so much more than just an island. It truly is one big neighborhood filled with people who still long for barefoot summer days for their kids and grandkids and believe in the magic and value of caring for others in their midst all year long. Whether you choose to put down roots in Madaket (like Mr. Rogers!) or Surfisde, Dionis or Brant Point, you can be sure there’s someone waiting right around the corner to pour you a glass of lemonade, invite you to share a seat on their porch and welcome you to the neighborhood.
Won’t you be mine?

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