Nantucket Country Antiques, Centre St., Nantucket, Ma.
Annie & the Tees, S. Water St., Nantucket, Ma.
The Lion's Paw, Main St., Nantucket, Ma.
Skirtin Around, Candle St., Nantucket, Ma.

Spring and Summer on Nantucket Island

Spring is in the air and the Daffodil Festival is approaching on Nantucket, a beautiful island off the coast of Cape Cod. The festival is April 27-29, 2018 this year. It is marked by parades and celebrations. This annual event includes an antique car parade down Main St. that later proceeds to Siasconset (a.k.a. 'Sconset Village) for a tailgate picnic. Activities for children include a parade, "Daffy" hat contest, concert and family picnic located at Children's Beach close to downtown. Even dogs feel the excitement of spring with their own Daffodil Dog Parade. The Nantucket Garden Club holds a daffodil show. There is a 5K Run/Walk race in Siasconset. Shops embrace the holiday by decorating their windows with daffodils, lots of yellow and all things spring. Although most shops on Nantucket are seasonal, there are many that are open year round and some re-open (More)

Nantucket Harbor, view from Sayle's Seafood, Nantucket, Ma.

for the event. Nantucket is an hour by fast ferry (Steamship Authority or Hy-Line Cruises) from Hyannis. There is a also a slower ferry that takes about two hours (check sites for dates, time schedules and trip durations.) As soon as you disembark, the short walk to the town draws you in with harbor views and pretty tree-lined streets. The Steamship Authority lands at Steamboat Wharf near the Easy St. and South Water St. shops. If you arrive by the Hy-Line ferry you will be on Straight Wharf where there are also small shops as well as a busy marina. Main Street with its cobblestones is lined with shops and restaurants. Many side streets such as Centre St. and Broad St. have shops too.


If fashion, home decor and antiques with a nautical theme are what you are interested in then Nantucket is the place to shop. Best of the Beach on Straight Wharf has unique items for the home plus apparel, swimwear and accessories. Nantucket Country Antiques carries country and folk items. Peachtrees, In the Pink, Benji's Boutique, Milly & Grace and Vis-A-Vis to name just a few have apparel and accessories. Cheryl Fudge Design Studio helps you design your own t-shirts and accessories. They have parties and fashion camps too, for children and adults. Murray's Toggery is a high quality clothing store with casual as well as formal clothing for men, women and children. They are known for being the home of "Nantucket Red" apparel.


Nantucket also has an array of jewelry stores from fine jewelry to estate jewelry to everyday casual items. Island themed jewelry can be a nice souvenir of your trip or a welcome gift. Nantucket lightship baskets in gold and silver, island imprinted medallions, and bracelet charms are sold in the downtown shops. Jewel of the Isle has a Nantucket theme collection of hand made items, including Nantucket basket charms and pendants. Blue Beetle has a wide selection of Nantucket themed charms, necklaces, and bracelets. They also have monogrammed jewelry. Susan Lister Locke has a Nantucket island engraving on signet rings, as well as other designs. They also have their signature Nantucket Island map clasp, diamond island necklace, quarterboard bracelet and Nantucket sign collection. Jewelers' Gallery of Nantucket features nautical and sailing themed intricate gold charms, bracelets and necklaces. Figaro Fine Jewelry carries estate and locally created jewelry. Pageo Jewelers offers designer pieces plus custom work and repairs. The Lockhart Collection has designed and imported Indian gold, silver and gemstone jewelry. Victoria Greenhood Jewelry Design and Jessica Hicks Jewelry specialize in unique creations and custom work. Isabel Harvey, also located in Wellesley, has Nantucket charms and pendants. On Straight Wharf, It's A Shore Thing has ligthtship basket necklaces and assorted gifts. Erica Wilson sells location based sterling silver medalions, featuring a colorful Nantucket Island shape in various colors.


On Main St., the Nantucket Pharmacy has an old time lunch counter and soda fountain with ice cream floats and frappes. Mitchell's Book Corner has a nautical themed elevator up to a cozy library like room of books about Nantucket and other summer reads. Walking up Main St. and right on Centre street, you will find more high end clothing stores, women's fashion boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, beach home decor stores and a variety of other shops (think shoes, books, chocolate and cupcakes!). Sweet Inspirations on Centre St. sell their signature chocolate covered cranberries which are worth the trip (or order online if you cannot wait.)


In additional to the spectactular ocean views and busy marina, downtown Nantucket is also a historical gem. The Nantucket Whaling Museum tells of the island's heyday in the 1800's when whaling was the main industry and the source of much wealth for the island. The museum runs walking tours and visits to historic sites from May to October (check ahead for schedule.) Also on Broad St., you will find the Jared Coffin House. This restored inn was built in 1845 as the home of sea captain and boat builder, Jared Coffin. It is a three story federal style red brick mansion with large windows and traditional interior furnishings. There are additional rooms available in the Daniel Webster House next door. The Jared Coffin house is open seasonally (opening April 9th, 2015 in time for the Daffodil Festival) and the Daniel Webster house is open year round. The Nantucket Atheneum is a Greek revival style town library holding events and programs. The First Congregational Church of Nantucket welcomes visitors to climb the bell tower to see expansive island views for a small donation. Close to downtown there is also Lily Pond Park and Children's Beach.


As for food, the island has a diverse and plentiful selection of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and taverns. Arno's on Main St. is a convenient spot for brunch, lunch and dinner. Many restaurants have harbor views. Provisions and Straight Wharf Fish Store can prepare meals to go for a picnic. Petticoat Row Bakery has a wide selection of desserts and pastries. Sayle's Seafood Fish Market has take-out as well as a small outdoor deck a 10 minute walk from downtown. There are many restaurants, taverns and cafes to choose from on the island. Many are seasonal so call ahead to check their schedule.


Take a bus tour or ride the public bus transportation network to discover beaches on the island. Bike riding is a big part of visiting the island because there are excellent scenic bike paths, and it is difficult and expensive to bring a car to the island. Bicycle rentals are available, or bicycles can be brought over on the ferry for an additional fee if space is available. Bicycle racks are conventiently located downtown. Two information centers (one on Centre Street and one at the bus terminal on Washington Street) can provide you with information about tours of the island, bus schedules and bicycle rentals, as well as dinner menus.


For a day trip or a longer vacation stay, Nantucket is idyllic, relaxing and interesting. Besides the annual Daffodil Festival, Nantucket hosts many events throughout the spring and summer seasons, such as the Nantucket Wine Festival, Figawi Race Weekend, Restaurant Week, the Nantucket Book Festival, the Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket Race Week, the Nantucket Music Festival and many more. In December, many shops and hotels open for the annual Christmas Stroll. With great shopping, beautiful beaches and historical charm, Nantucket is a wonderful island to enjoy in spring and summer, and a place to dream about all year long.


For more information and helpful links for Nantucket shops, restaurants, hotels, activities and events, see our Nantucket page. Many establishments are seasonal so check websites or call ahead to confirm dates and times. For more Nantucket pictures, see our summer 2014 blog post.


-M.A. Barrett (March, 2015)




Siasconset Beach, Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Ma.
Peachtrees, Main St., Nantucket, Ma.
Nantucket Whaling Museum, Broad St., Nantucket, Ma.
M.V. Iyanough Ferry, Steamship Authority, Nantucket, Ma.
Best of the Beach, Straight Wharf, Nantucket, Ma.
Nantucket Harbor view from Straight Wharf, Nantucket, Ma.
Main St. at Mitchell's Book Corner, Nantucket, Ma.