Visiting + Eating on Nantucket: Part 2

Nantucket shrubs + oceanIf you enjoyed the first post from my trip to Nantucket, hopefully you’ll enjoy this one too! Since this was a fairly short trip, just three days, the second day was our only full day.

We planned to take a tour of the island, but first we needed something to eat. We went to Provisions to get something quick. The location was near where the tour bus would be picking us up. Also, I had read some good things about the place. I had a breakfast sandwich without the bacon and some coffee.

ProvisionsMy mom had the turkey terrific sandwich. We both enjoyed our food. Note that the turkey sandwich was super overstuffed and was basically Thanksgiving. It was huge!!

The tour was really fun and we learned so much about Nantucket! Here’s some trivia for you. Do you know where the red star logo for Macy’s came from?

Until this tour, I always thought of New York when I thought of Macy’s, but it actually began in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Rowland Hussey Macy was born on Nantucket and was a whaler in his youth, when he had a red star tattooed on his hand. The rest is history!

After our tour, we walked around. One of the places mentioned on the tour was Aunt Leah’s Fudge. We were told that you can sample their many varieties of fudge for free. So when we saw it, we decided to go in. It was some of the most amazing fudge that I’ve ever had. You can order online too.

The place is really tiny and there were always a ton of people in there sampling the flavors. So it’s cramped and you want to get out, but the fudge is so good you want to keep tasting everything! Quite the dilemma! We ended up getting some fudge to take home. They sell food besides fudge as well. fudgeI got some Nantucket Beach Plum Jelly, that I haven’t had a chance to try yet. Also I still have some Nantucket Cranberry Tea to try. According to the package, it’s made especially for Aunt Leah’s Fudge, so I don’t think you can get this tea anywhere else. I’ll have to pair these two and blog about it at some point.

yellow chairs

We saw many little shops and stores, but there is one store that was my favorite called Isobel & Cleo. The colorful scene above is how it looks to the left of the entrance to their store.

Oh, first I should mention that like many of the other little specialty shops, this place smelled amazing. They must all have similar scented candles burning. The smell is so warm and inviting that you don’t want to leave!

isobel & cleo signWhen we walked into Isobel & Cleo, also found on Etsy, we saw a young woman at the front counter knitting colorful chunky yarn with huge knitting needles. She said they had several other people on the premises doing knitting as well. Talk about handmade! You can see them making the merchandise! Below is a description from their website.

isobel and cleo began with a desire to perpetuate the endangered ideas of true elegance and long lasting luxury in bespoke hand made garments. We wish to preserve the intimacy, tradition, and quality that is the essence of a hand knitted garment. We use the finest luxury yarns from Scotland, England, Japan, Australia, Italy, and the US.

She finished the piece as we were there. It might have been a hat. I loved everything about this store!

As you can imagine, handmade luxury commands a high price far beyond my reach, so it reignited my desire to start knitting. I say this every fall, but maybe by the end of winter, I will have knitted something that really like and can use. We’ll see.candy + scarves

Isobel & Cleo also carries candy, oils and all sorts of other little pretty things. It’s a fun place to look around even if you can’t buy anything.

After walking around, we went back to our hotel and decided what we would do for dinner. My mother wanted some fried clams and found what we thought would be a good place. I can’t remember the name of it, but we had the hotel driver bring us.

When we arrived, we seemed to be at the end of an alley on the water. It was dark and nobody was around. I asked him to stay for a bit as I went in to look around. It was basically a seafood shack and retail store, but was not a restaurant as it was advertised. They had minimal outdoor seating on a small porch. Since it was dark, not a scenic view and was getting cold, we decided not to stay. I’m so glad our driver didn’t leave us there!

We asked if he knew of another place nearby with good seafood. He said that he had worked at The Nantucket Lobster Trap. A place owned by his friend’s father. So he dropped us off and in we went.

It had the feel of an old pub with lots of wood everywhere. The feeling of a place for men returning from the sea to go and have beer and watch TV. That was not the feeling we were looking for and we started to regret our decision. But our waitress was really nice and we just wanted to relax and eat. So we stayed. And I’m glad we did.

clam chowder

The Nantucket Lobster Trap does not have the ambiance that I prefer, but the food and service more than make up for it. I highly recommend this place! The bread basket was underwhelming in comparison to Brant Point Grill. But the seafood was outstanding! Delicious and very large portions! Man sized portions I would say.

The clam chowder might have been the best I’ve ever had. My mom had the fried clams that she wanted and she loved them! I had some too and was quite pleased. We had some other things as well, but I don’t remember everything right now. Also, we had dessert, which was another pleasant surprise. As I think about our time there, we kept getting more pleasantly surprised with each thing that was brought out. That is a good meal.

So that’s the end of our trip. It was a good time and we’ll both have plenty of wonderful memories for years to come!

Visiting + Eating on Nantucket: Part 1

Nantucket house through the fence

Last week I shared some pictures from my trip to Nantucket. Since then, I’ve had time to go through all the pictures. Because there are so many things I’d like to share with you, it will take two posts to fit in everything. Even with all the pictures I did take, I realized there were a lot of pictures that I did not take. I can tell that I’m in the moment and relaxing when I forget to take pictures. Especially of my meals! Sometimes it’s also bad lighting or I’m just too hungry!

My mother and I have gone on several trips together over the years. We’ve been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Miami. The last one was a short day trip to Block Island a couple of years ago. We’re thinking about Puerto Rico for the next one, so I guess we have an island theme going at this point!

mom on balcony + restaurant guideWhen my mom was a child, a close friend of the family had a house on Nantucket, so she and her brothers and sisters visited often. When my mother got married, 52 years ago, she and my father had their honeymoon there. That was my mother’s last time on the island. She said that it has changed quite a bit since then. More than half a century passing can do that!

Nantucket flowerboxSince my family has such a strong history with Nantucket, I might be assuming that everyone has heard of it. For those who haven’t, here’s a little background.

Nantucket is part of Massachusetts, but it’s an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod. The name is from the native Wampanoag tribe and means “The Faraway Land.” It’s a very small island, 14 miles long and 3 1/2 miles wide. Over 40% of it is conservation land with many public beaches. There are also some beautiful golf courses.

Even though we were still in the same state, because we were visiting an island, it felt like we were taking quite a trip! We had to drive south to Cape Cod, then take the ferry. There is a high-speed ferry, which for a bit more money will get you to Nantucket in an hour. We took the traditional ferry and it took a little over two hours. What’s interesting is that not long after getting on the ferry, you can see land.

nantucket lighthouseAfrican-Americans are very much part of the history of Nantucket. Enslaved Africans arrived on the island in the 1600s. In 1764, the first official count of the black population was 44 people. In 1773, Nantucket abolished slavery. Like many others on the island, African Americans worked “as tradespeople, laborers, sheep and livestock raisers, and later as whalers and mariners.”

Many may not be aware that the Museum of African American History has branches in Boston and Nantucket. You can take a tour of the Black Heritage Trail to learn more. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take it. White Elephant Hotel room

My mom and I arrived on the island in the late afternoon. We stayed at the White Elephant, which was just a quick ride from the ferry. I had emailed ahead when we would be arriving and a hotel driver was waiting for us as planned. The hotel is known for being quite luxurious and expensive. But if you visit off-season and look at each day online before booking your trip, you can get relatively low rates. When I was looking, some of the rates were more than five thousand dollars a night. Needless to say, our rate was nothing near that.

Our room was really comfortable and we had a nice balcony overlooking marshland. I love the White Elephant pillow! Too bad it wasn’t a parting gift. But they did give us bottles of water and granola bars as we left for the ferry ride home. Also, there is complimentary bottled water each day, among many other things. I wasted room in my overnight bag by packing slippers and a robe. They are provided by the hotel and I have to remember to never do that again!

walkway from hotel to restaurantMy mom and I spent some time talking about where we wanted to eat dinner and decided that we’d take it easy and eat at the hotel restaurant, Brant Point Grill. It was just a two-minute walk outside and around the corner. The quick walk was so pretty that I had to take some pictures! Looking back, I realize that I didn’t take pictures of the front of the hotel.

Brant Point Grill

We made an excellent choice! Brant Point Grill is definitely on my list of best restaurant experiences. By the way, this is Restaurant Week on Nantucket, so if you want to go today or this weekend, it’s a great time to visit.

The service was top-notch. The food was happiness and joy in my mouth. Large servings. So large that we didn’t have room for dessert. An amazing bread basket. I even got the recipe for one of the breads that I will be sharing with you soon!

My mom and I toasted my birthday with cocktails. I finally got to try Pimm’s! Yum!

The ambiance was perfect. Dimly lit with lots of flickering candles. Not great for taking pictures though, so I just got one grainy picture. As we were led by the hostess to the main room, I saw that we were at the back of the hotel on the water. There was a clear plastic covering, so the chill in the air was kept out, but we could see the lights, water and boats and hear the fog horns.

It was just getting dark as we arrived and we could see the final bit of daylight turn into the night. While we were walking, I could feel warmth from above. I looked up and saw orange heating lights. As someone who is always cold, this was just perfect for me.

Brant Point Grill is is a great place to take someone that you want to impress. A business dinner. An engagement. A surprise anything. It would be cool to take someone on a ferry and have them not know where they were going, then end up here for a wonderful meal. I loved this place!

After our meal, we went back to our room and watched some television before going to sleep. For Part 2, I’ll take you along for the rest of our trip.

*Updated 10/22/2014* Part 2 is up. Take a look here.