Depending on how long your Cape Cod vacation is, you may wish to dedicate a day to exploring either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. Either island is well worth a day trip if time allows and if you have time for just one, Nantucket would be my recommendation based on its easy navigability, renowned charm, and upscale shops and restaurants.
From May through September, take advantage of Freedom Cruise Line’s high speed ferry out of Harwich Port. The ferry ride is 80 minutes and the port is located an easy 20 minutes from the Captains House Inn with free parking. During the non-peak season, you can travel out of Hyannis with Hy-Line Cruises or save time by taking a prop plane out of Hyannis Airport. However you choose to travel, allow the entire day to take advantage of all Nantucket has to offer.
To get the inside scoop on the island from a local’s point of view, allow us to book you on one of Gail’s Tours upon docking at the port. Gail will take you on a nearly two hour tour of Nantucket pointing out areas of interest you would never discover on your own. Wind up back at the port and right near the beautiful, cobblestoned downtown area where shops are plentiful and the scenery is postcard perfect. Stroll around and pick up a souvenir or two before heading over to one of Nantucket’s finest restaurants, Toppers at the Wauwinet Inn. Topper’s is listed in USA Today’s top 100 restaurants in the U.S. and has received accolades from prestigious publications like Zagats, Bon Appetit, Travel and Leisure, and National Geographic. The restaurant offers both deck and dining room seating, both of which options enjoy spectacular water views coupled with locally influenced cuisine and an award winning wine list.
Walk off lunch with a leisurely stroll along one of Nantucket’s many pristine beaches. Just down the road from the Wauwinet Inn, check out Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, the largest red cedar, savanna, and woodland in New England. The refuge is a great spot to view Great Point Light House from the outside, and is covered with rolling dunes, bayberry, beach plum, heather, and beach grass. Guided tours are also available in season.
A visit to Nantucket wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop at the Whaling Museum which was restored in 2005 and features a restored 1847 candle factory, expanded top-quality exhibition space, a fully accessible rooftop observation deck overlooking Nantucket harbor, and the sperm whale skeleton.
Finally, if libations are your thing, finish off the day with a visit to Cisco Breweries, the local beer brewery and also home of Triple Eight Vodka Distillery and Nantucket Vineyards Wine. Sample whatever you want and purchase a bottle or two to bring back to the Captains House Inn for a pre-dinner cocktail.
After heading back on the ferry, a casual, light dinner is likely in order. Head into downtown Chatham where the Squire has dished out pub fare and has been known as the local watering hole for 40 years. Indulge in some of the best fried oysters or chowder around before heading back to the Captains House Inn to collapse into bed after a jam packed day of fun.