Nantucket has so many great beaches, fabulous restaurants, cool shops and fun things to do, that there are whole books filled with information about all of them. Here are some our our favorites and what we consider “insider info” that may help you make the most of your time here.
Nantucket is home to nineteen beaches, each with a different specialty and personality. Here are five of our favorites.
- Jetties Beach – When our children were young, Jetties was the perfect beach for our family. Jetties has lifeguards, changing rooms, a playground, volleyball nets, and even swimming lessons for children age 6 and up. Jetties also has a full service restaurant and take-out food service (order the Caprese Salad – it has fresh Bartlett’s Farm tomatoes) and a windsurfing, sailboat, and kayak lesson/rental center.
- Nobadeer – Now that our kids are older, they frequent Nobadeer beach. Nobadeer has no facilities, no lifeguards and has heavy surf, so most beachgoers are in the 18-30 age range. It is a very popular surfing beach.
- Surfside – One of the most popular beaches on Nantucket, Surfside is only a short bike ride or bus ride away from 8 Bluebird. This beach has moderate to heavy surf, depending on the day. Several lifeguards are on duty during regular beach hours. Surfside has a food stand with yummy burgers and fries, but the line is usually long and the water bottles are expensive, so we bring our own waters.
- Dionis – If you’re looking to relax on a quiet beach, then Dionis is the place for you. It is sheltered by dunes, so the water is always calm and very safe for kids. It is also a great place to pick up seashells.
- Madaket – Finally on the far western end of the island is Madaket. Bike path accessible and home to our favorite Millie’s Restaurant, Madaket hosts the most beautiful sunsets on the island. Spend a day at Madaket, eat dinner at Millie’s, and watch the sunset afterwards – and you have the perfect day!
Nantucket offers multiple forms of transportation that make it easy to live without a car. Almost anywhere on Nantucket is accessible by bike, bus, or taxi.
- WAVE Buses – WAVE bus stops are marked by wood poles with two blue stripes on them. If you are looking to catch a bus, make sure you are close to the pole and clearly visible from the street. If you are catching a bus after dark, bring a flashlight to wave the bus down. Bus trips cost $2 each time you get on. Buses do not give change. Instead, they give change cards valid to pay for another trip on the WAVE. If, for example, you pay with a $5 bill for a trip into town, you will receive a $3 change card. You can also buy daily, weekly, or monthly passes on the bus. See the Greenhound building in town (10 Washington Street) for more information.The closest bus stop to 8 Bluebird is the Goldfinch stop on Old South Road. If you walk out of the front door, take a right and then take a left on Goldfinch, you’ll see the pole and bench next to the bike path. The Airport Ferry bus comes every 20 minutes and goes into town until 6 PM. You can take this bus to the Fairgrounds Road stop and then board the Surfside bus from there to get to Surfside Beach. Sconset via Old South Road comes every hour and runs until 11:15 PM. To catch the outbound bus to Sconset, stand on the side of Old South opposite to where the bus stop is.For a system map, schedules & stops, fares & passes, and more information, visit the WAVE website at www.nrtawave.com.
- Bicycles – Bikes are a great way to get around Nantucket. The island is lined with bike paths and most restaurants and beaches provide bike racks. There are many great companies to rent from. We highly recommend Island Bike Company (www.islandbike.com). Island Bike Co. is just up the road from 8 Bluebird and will drop off and pick up bikes right at the front door.
- Taxis – Though a bit pricey, taxis are a convenient way to get around the island if bikes or buses aren’t going to work. There are 30+ taxi companies on Nantucket. We’ve used Milestone Taxi [(508)-325-5511] many times and find them to be reliable. Milestone provides bike racks, vans for large parties, and early morning calls as well.
Nantucket is full of fantastic restaurants to meet your every desire. For Breakfast, try Met on Main (www.metonmain.com), and make sure to get the pancakes, or Black Eyed Susan’s (www.black-eyedsusans.com) for a slightly less expensive option. For Lunch, Lola Burger (www.lolaburger.com) is conveniently located only one mile from 8 Bluebird, or go into town and eat at Dune (www.dunenantucket.com). Dune’s Kale Caesar Salad and the Shrimp Tacos are two of our favorites.
Dinnertime is especially busy on Nantucket, so we recommend that you snag a reservation as early as possible. For dinner in town, try the classic and family-friendly Brotherhood of Thieves (www.brotherhoodofthieves.com) or The Lobster Trap (www.nantucketlobstertrap.com) if you’re craving seafood. The Lobster Trap offers valet parking, a helpful asset in the heart of town, and it’s nice to leave your car there for a few hours after dinner, although it is quite pricey ($20 to park plus tip). Lola 41 (www.lola41.com) has the best sushi on the island. Lola is extremely popular and reservations open at 4 PM on the day of the reservation, so to get a spot here, be prepared to wait outside Lola’s door at 4 PM sharp. A visit to Nantucket, however, isn’t complete without a trip to Millie’s (www.milliesnantucket.com) at Madaket Beach. A Nantucket staple, Millie’s boasts six different types of fish tacos and an impressive salad menu. If you didn’t bring a car or don’t want to drive all the way to Madaket, have no fear. Millie’s runs a free shuttle from the Visitor’s Center at 25 Federal Street. More information and times of departure can be found on the Millie’s website. If you can, eat dinner before the sun sets and walk over to Madaket Beach to see the most beautiful sunset on Nantucket.
Don’t feel like eating out? Fusaro’s Homemade Italian (www.fusarosrestaurant.com), located only a short bike ride away, has delicious carry out and some of the best pizza on the island.
Cooking at Home
One of our favorite things about 8 Bluebird is its large, eat-in kitchen that is perfect for family dinners. When we cook at home, there are a few stores we stop by the make sure we have everything we need for a delicious homemade meal.
For basic grocery needs and other household staples, head to the Stop & Shop on 31 Sparks Avenue. The Stop & Shop is open daily from 5 AM – 10 PM. To beat the crowds and long lines, try to go early in the morning or around closing time. If you’re looking for specialized, organic products, we love Annye’s Whole Foods (www.annyes.com), located on Amelia lane, short bike ride from 8 Bluebird. The best produce and fresh foods can be found at Bartlett’s Farm (www.bartlettsfarm.com) and Moors End Farm (www.moorsendfarm.com). Bartlett’s also makes fantastic pies.
Our favorite meat is at Cowboy’s Meat Market & Deli (www.cowboysmeatmarket.com), located near the Stop & Shop. Cowboy’s also sells wine, gourmet cheeses, and other snacks. The best fish on the island is at Nantucket Seafoods (www.nantucketseafood.net). Nantucket Seafoods is just up Old South very close to 8 Bluebird, and also carries a variety of snacks and spices.
To complete your meal, you can find the perfect wine at The Islander (www.theislandernantucket.com), also on Old South Road very close to 8 Bluebird.
No trip to Nantucket is complete without a day or two of shopping in town. Here are a few of our favorite stops:
- Milly & Grace (www.millyandgrace.com) is a vintage inspired clothing and home décor boutique on Washington Street. Think upscale Anthropologie, with feminine dresses, adorable stationary, and throw pillows perfect to decorate any room.
- Follain (www.shopfollain.com) is a hair, nail, and skincare store with products made entirely of healthy, natural, sustainable and effective ingredients. We have tested the products ourselves and absolutely love them – especially the Organic Java Jolt Scrub.
- Vineyard Vines (www.vineyardvines.com) is a Nantucket staple. Everybody needs a little pink whale!
- In The Pink (shop.inthepinkonline.com) is a Lilly Pulitzer signature store on South Water Street. It carries a huge amount of Lilly fashion as well as several other brands such as Trina Turk and Alice & Trixie. Each summer, In The Pink has a huge 48-hour clearance sale that brings crowds of preppy gals into the store. The sale’s date is kept a secret but happens every year around July and August, so if you’re passing the window, keep a lookout!
- Cold Noses (www.coldnoses.net) is Nantucket’s favorite pet store for your preppy pooch. It carries pet food as well as collars, leashes, food bowls, treats, and basically anything you might want or need for your best pal.