06 Sep 2016

Wheels UP On Nantucket

Jimmy Buffett muses in his 1978 hit single “Son of a Son of a Sailor” that he goes “out on the sea for adventure.” He paints a beautiful word picture as he describes “hauling the sheet as he rides on the wind that his forefathers harnessed before him.” As the summer days…and the tides…ebb and flow on Nantucket, many a traveler takes to the water for sheer enjoyment and adventure. But there comes that day…typically near Labor Day weekend…when the mass exodus begins as anchors get pulled up for good, boats set sail for home or get hauled ashore for winter storage.
My husband and I, with Coco the chubby dog in tow, love to spend our Sunday afternoon’s cruising the harbor in our little inflatable dinghy. It’s been fascinating to see the many different recreational “water toys” in the harbor this season. In addition to the returning and always impressive luxury mega-yachts, we’ve been captivated by the ongoing parade of wooden schooners, skiffs, catboats and fishing boats. The harbor has also been brimming with multi-colored sailboards, kayaks and paddleboards.
The newest and most unique watercraft to join the Nantucket flotilla…and the one creating a social media sensation…is the car/boat hybrid in the photo. These boat owners are riding in style and giving new meaning to the Steamship Authority’s valet “drive on” service. They simply head to the boat launch, flip a switch and drive into the water. I’m not sure what their range or top speed capabilities are, but I secretly would love to hop a ride to Hyannis or Martha’s Vineyard in the coolest convertible on the island!
Regardless of your craft of choice, because we live on an island, when the summer draws to a close there’s only two ways off of here – plane or boat. The lines are long and so are the faces at the airport and boat docks this time of year. I find myself bemoaning all the things left undone this summer…family and friends who didn’t make it for a visit, favorite beaches that still don’t have my footprints and the dreaded “closed for the season” signs popping up everywhere. But then, I look at the photo gallery on my cell phone and realize how much life and love got squeezed into this amazing Nantucket summer. Birthdays, engagements and milestone achievements celebrated. Friendships (old, new and forever) fostered at numerous dinner parties, beach picnics and firepit gatherings. Forever memories created with Nantucket as both the backdrop and the center of it all…doing what she does best, uniting us in our love for the island and for each other.
As the season winds down and anchors (or wheels!) get pulled up, take time to reminisce and give thanks for the many ways summer…and Nantucket…have impacted your family. Whatever your mode of transportation for departure (or if you’re lucky enough to remain on island) you can be assured that the Grey Lady will always be waiting with open arms. As Jimmy concludes, “where it all ends I can’t fathom my friends…but the seas in my veins and my tradition remains.”
All aboard

Shellie Dunlap

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