Sara Campbell has been proud to called Nantucket home for over five summers, and in that time we’ve met the best people and shared some of the best memories in our store’s history. What originally drew us to the island was the sense of community, and community values, that is shared by all of its inhabitants. From the big Figawi race at the beginning of the “official” season, to the few purists who make the trek to the island in chilly November for big family Thanksgivings, there is a heart and character in Nantucket that can’t always be found in seasonal communities. We wanted to share some of our absolute favorite Nantucket highlights so that everyone can see this amazing island through our eyes. A combination of old and new is the theme we’ve tried to go with, that is very fitting to the island, as it has changed so much over time. Original business owners mix and mingle with newcomers trying to ‘make it’, and we’ve enjoyed so much seeing what new, exciting shops, restaurants, and things to do pop up each and every summer on Nantucket. So, don your Nantucket Reds, book your transportation to the island, and follow our steps to ensure the most perfect weekend on Nantucket. If you can’t make it by the end of the summer, fear not! The infamous Nantucket Stroll takes place every year during the first week of December. We’re so excited to take part this year, so come say hi then!
Taking an earlier ferry means beating the inevitable Cape traffic, or at the very least putting up a fight against it. An early-to-mid afternoon arrival means you get to take part in one of the Island’s favorite pastimes: Buck-a-shuck. At Jetties beach, from 3-6 pm in early Summer, and 3-5 pm in later summer, enjoy a full raw bar of clams, oysters, and shrimp for $1 a piece. Have the whole gang with you? Jetties is the best place for a big family dinner right on the beach!
South Beach Shops
Just East of Jetties beach is one of the best shopping streets on the island off of the Main St Stretch. South Beach Street is home to some of the best retail on the island, from our seasonal island Sara Campbell boutique to Follain, a natural skincare company a few doors down. If you are planning on renting bicycles for the duration of your stay (a great idea and one of the most convenient ways to get around on the island), you can stop by Cook’s Cycles on your walk back to pick up some fun cruisers with baskets affixed to the front to hold all of your purchases. Those with a more adventurous streak can opt for a motor scooter or moped, but keep in mind that all motorized vehicles must abide by the automobile traffic laws!
Dine and Dance
Many restaurants hold several tables for the walk-in dinner crowd, but before you depart the mainland you should make a reservation at Ship’s Inn for dinner your first night. The two-dining room restaurant resides at the garden level of the mansion-turned-Inn, once the private residence of Captain Obed Starbuck. Remember to order your dessert soufflé at the beginning of the meal, which your server will proudly present upon the completion of your main courses.
The Chicken Box is the Island’s hotspot of the summer, drawing in crowds of all ages for its nightly live music and cost-effective drinks. The lively joint was opened by two Southerners who fixed the place up themselves and sold the best fried chicken on the island. More recently it was converted to a more drinks and music focused destination, one of the only venues hosting blues and jazz artists near-nightly. Buy a ticket for the night’s festivities in advance, if there is a concert going on, or just stop by before the festivities get going to enjoy some drinks and take in the scene. Take an Uber or taxi back to town at the end of the night, you won’t regret forgoing the walk!
Always Start With Donuts
If you can’t stand the out-the-door line at Black Eyed Susan’s, take your breakfast craving to the East side of town to Downyflake Donuts. Bike or drive out of town on Orange Street then right around the roundabout to Sparks street. There’s a donut-only line if you’re in favor of a breakfast on the go, or sit down to big plates of pancakes and eggs any style. The smaller-than-average donut portions allow you to indulge in a couple of different flavors, guilt-free, but the coconut, with shaved toasted coconut on top, is a favorite.
Walk off your breakfast by the ferry at the boat basin. Check out the visiting boats as well as local favorites in the slips, and covet the multi-leveled yachts parked on the West side dock. If you are so inclined, there are many places to rent a boat for the day or afternoon right on the harbor.
Stop by Nautilus to arrange a reservation for that evening. Each day the restaurant opens at noon for same day reservations made only in person! If you want to try your luck you can call in starting at 1.
Drive out to Bartlett’s Farm for beach sandwiches and snacks. There is a full selection of prepackaged lunches, all made with local, farm-fresh ingredients. They also stock any last minute beach necessities you might have forgotten, umbrella, anyone? Then venture about 3 minutes around the corner and plop yourself down on Ladies Beach. This is the best beach for a casual day, with perfect swimming conditions and a strip of sand that goes for seemingly miles in each direction.
When you’ve had enough sun, make your way to Cisco Brewery, the source of Nantucket’s own Island-produced beer, wine, and liquors. There are twice-daily tours of the facilities, perfect for beer connoisseurs, or order a flight of any combination of beers or wines to get the full brewery experience while relaxing on the expansive back patio.
Don’t forget your dinner reservation at Nautilus! The asian-style tapas are perfect for sharing with the whole table, but a few of the larger plates are worth adding to your spread, namely the Lobster a la plancha. Though a few bottles of wine are the typical accompaniments to tapas, the “Current Cocktails” shouldn’t be passed up! “The Cha Cha Cha” combines tequila, hibiscus, vanilla, and lime without being overly sweet, and yes, as the menu states, will make you want to dance.
Day 3 Morning
Book a private class at Dharma Yoga to try your hand at aerial yoga. A private session is only $225 for up to six people, so grab your most flexible friends and try it out! Hit up The Bean for your post-yoga caffeine fix. Tucked away on India Street, The Bean serves fresh squeezed lemonade and Arnold Palmers, as well as the fluffiest blueberry muffins you will ever have the good fortune to try.
The Eastern shore of the Island houses a little town called Siasconset (‘Sconset to those ‘in the know’), where you’ll find lesser-occupied beaches and one of the best sandwiches on the island. Before you start on your tan, stop by Claudette’s, right on the rotary that occupies the end of Milestone Road, the route you’ll take to get out of town. No matter what you get, make sure it comes with their Special Sauce, and bring cash! There are no cards accepted at Claudette’s or the neighboring Sconset Market. If you’re looking for a sit-down lunch experience, the Summer House Beach Bistro is your spot. Right down on the beach you can indulge in a lobster roll and some summer Rosé.
Head to the ferry early to get a good spot in line, and maybe a last minute treat for the ride! The 7 PM boat leaving the island offers one of the best views of the sunset in Massachusetts.
Jetties Bathing Beach Rd
Sara Campbell 5 S Beach Street
Follain 9 S Beach Street
Cook’s Cycles 6 S Beach Street
Ship’s Inn 13 Fair Street
The Chicken Box 16 Dave Street
Black Eyed Susan’s 10 India Street
Downyflake Donuts 18 Sparks Ave
Bartlett’s Farm 33 Bartlett Farm Road
Ladies Beach turn left at the end of Bartlett Farm Road
Cisco Brewery 5 Bartlett Farm Road
Nautilus 12 Cambridge Street
Dharma Yoga 33 Bartlett Farm Road
The Bean 4 India Street
Claudette’s 10 Main Street (in Siasconset)
Summer House 17 Ocean Ave (in Siasconset)
Hy- Line Ferry- out of Hyannis
SeaStreak Ferry- out of New Bedford, CT
Blade- fly to ACK out of Logan or Hyannis
Nantucket Hotel, White Elephant, Wauwinet Hotel
Adding on to your stay? Here are a couple more of our favorites to fill your time!
Millie & Grace's- Cute apparel, accessories and gifts, open year round!
Fresh grocery and liquor store- they have the most delicious breakfast sandwiches! Not an early riser? Stop by to pick up a bottle of wine as a hostess gift on your way to dinner in the evening. Its location right in town is perfect no matter where you may be traveling on the island! 5 Salem Street
Flowers on Chestnut- I love Flowers on Chestnut for the most gorgeous bouquets and great $1 specials! Every day they have options of one day old flowers for one dollar. I love to pick up some local hydrangeas to put in the store! 1 Chestnut Street
Cru- right past the ferry docks is a local favorite and hip place to be seen on the island! Get the lobster roll with drawn butter or the pasta with littleneck clams! 1 Straight Wharf