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.