12 Mar 2019

Treasure Island

In his 1989 hit single, “Treasure Island” from the album titled “More To This Life,” Steven Curtis Chapman eloquently describes the effects the treasures of an island have on our soul. “The moon’s waving the world goodbye,” Chapman croons. “The morning sun smiles and lights the sky. I hear the waves crashing into shore; The world’s an ocean waiting at my door.” On Nantucket, the world is indeed an ocean waiting outside every door.
A couple weeks ago was school vacation week and Nantucket became a deserted island – literally. Surfboards, snowshoes, skis and dog kennels were piled high at the ferry docks and the airports. Families, friends and entire neighborhoods headed for the exit signs to America. My husband and I always take our winter break the week prior to school vacation because the “deserted island” week is actually one of our favorites of the year. Along with a handful of other locals, we love having the island all to ourselves.
We spent some time in Florida this month…same ocean, different winter climate. Like the starry-eyed school families, we were excited to be away for a bit to warm our bones and recharge our batteries. But upon returning home, especially to the oh so quiet Grey Lady, we were reminded how fortunate we are to live in a place that is literally surrounded by water and filled with so many hidden treasures. With the world, as Chapman concluded, an ocean waiting outside our door.
The ocean keeps us humble as we consider our smallness, but it also invigorates us, calms us and reassures us that even on a tiny island we’re in a safe harbor with countless undiscovered blessings all around us. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation hosted an island wide Scavenger Hunt for all the locals who “missed the boat” on a winter break this year. It was a self-guided treasure hunt of sorts to their various properties. Young and old, curious explorers were directed from Head of the Plains to Squam Swamp, from Tupancy Links to the Salt Marshes. Each holding its own story, history and charm.
There is no end to the countless hidden gems on Nantucket. They are here all year, tucked away in obscure enclaves in Madaket, Pocomo and even Mid-Island, but also on full display at the beaches, bogs and grasslands. During this winter season, the magic that the island holds…the treasure that makes her so valuable…is more visible and more accessible than any other time. Don’t wait until summer to come experience the spirit of the island. Take a tour with the NCF or design your own scavenger hunt. You’re guaranteed to discover some new Nantucket treasure.
Go hunting.    
Shellie Dunlap  
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