28 Jan 2014

Snowbound on Nantucket Island

The Free Dictionary defines “snowbound” as “confined to one place by heavy falls or drifts of snow.” I wonder if the folks in the FD think- tank had a tiny little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in mind when they inserted the word “confined” into their definition? There is no question, the rapid fire winter storms that have brought Nantucket one deluge of snow, wind and bitter cold after the next these past few weeks have had us all feeling a bit confined even while being captivated by the sheer beauty of our island all dressed up in her winter white.

On the worst day of storm Janus last week, as notices came across the news ticker and social media sites announcing all boats and planes were cancelled, many businesses and restaurants had closed and the town officials were admonishing residents to stay off the slippery snow and ice covered roads, I confess I felt a bit like a school kid again.  Delighted to have a “snow day,” I welcomed the opportunity to put a large pot of soup on the stove, grab a good book, throw another log on the fire and embrace Mother Nature’s fury.

There is something seductively eerie…and at once serene…about realizing you are huddled together with 10,000 or so other friends and neighbors watching it snow sideways and listening to the wind rattle the rooftops.  There is assurance that comes in knowing that once the storm subsides, the community will rally to help confirm everyone is safe and cared for. The island spirit shines bright on the sunniest summer day, but it is perhaps at its brightest during these stormy winter days as neighbor helps neighbor to ensure driveways are cleared, sidewalks are shoveled, frozen pipes are thawed and residents can quickly resume their daily activities.

When the blizzard winds finally calmed and the flakes stopped falling, it was amazing to see how the island had been transformed. The sand dunes at Cisco Beach were blanketed in billowing snowdrifts, hydrangeas that color splash the island in bright blue all summer sported frosty tufts of white, trails and paths filled with joggers and bicycles most of the year provided a great passage for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Our little island known as a premiere summer beach destination was transfigured into a spectacular winter wonderland.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to hit the pause button on life…time to escape from the hectic pace of the daily grind…and are looking for a place that’s as tranquil in the winter as it is bustling in the summer…look no further than Nantucket Island. Bring along some warm boots for long walks along the icy creeks, your favorite mug for piping hot cocoa and a camera to capture it all for the memory books. Come let the island refresh you!

Chill out.

Shellie Dunlap

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