Off to the Islands – Nantucket, Interrupted

When we leave Lake Tashmoo, we usually head north and east around West Chop and East Chop on either side of Vineyard Haven harbor, dodging the big ferries as we cross.

West Chop

West Chop

West Chop Lighthouse 1838

West Chop Lighthouse 1838

Dodging ferries as we pass by the Vineyard Haven harbor entrance.

Dodging ferries as we pass by the Vineyard Haven harbor entrance.

East Chop

East Chop

Zoomed view of the East Chop Light, 1875

Zoomed view of the East Chop Light, 1875

West and East Chop Lights are so similar, I wasn’t sure which was which when I reviewed the photos. I could only identify them by the order in which they were taken (going west to east) and by zooming in on the windows which are slightly different.

Sometimes we stop in Oak Bluffs first and sometimes we head to Edgartown first. Every town on Martha’s Vineyard has its own flavor and charm, which is what makes it a great island. But the morning was calm and lovely, so we made one of those impulsive Watson decisions and decided to save the rest of Martha’s Vineyard for the return voyage. We have plenty of time; we are retired! The sea conditions were just right, so why not go straight to Nantucket now?? 31 nautical miles, which only took us 5 hours, and we were there.

What a gorgeous morning! Great to be on the water. :-)

What a gorgeous morning! Great to be on the water. 🙂

Entering Nantucket harbor is always exhilarating.

First you are greeted by Brant Point Light, proudly standing watch at the edge of the harbor. First erected in 1746, it is America’s second oldest lighthouse. But, the current building is the tenth structure to sit there, so I don’t see how it could actually be “the second oldest.” That location for a lighthouse may be, but not that particular building. Brant Point is only 26 feet tall, making it the shortest lighthouse in all of New England. Its red light flashes every four seconds, and is visible ten miles out, so size doesn’t matter.

Brant Point Light

Brant Point Light

Brant Point Light. Don’t recall seeing the flag on the lighthouse before.

Brant Point Light. Don’t recall seeing the flag on the lighthouse before.

One look at our chartplotter and all we saw were AIS icons in the harbor, mostly at the docks. The “big boys” are out here.

AIS in Nantucket harbor

AIS’s are abundant  in Nantucket harbor

And there they are, lined up at the docks. They are BIG. Really big.

And there they are, lined up at the docks. They are BIG. Really big.

It's not all big motor yachts out here. As we maneuvered through the harbor, these little racers wherein their way out for a day of competition.

It’s not all big motor yachts out here. As we maneuvered through the harbor, these little racers wherein their way out for a day of competition.

There are 125 rental moorings in the harbor here……. for $65 per night. Naturally we choose to anchor just beyond the moorings. This year we sought a new location on the other side of the shallowed area in the harbor. Perfect! It’s still a 3/4 nm ride in the dinghy to the town dinghy docks, but that $65 per night goes a long way towards eating out! Interestingly, most people don’t seem to feel comfortable anchoring here. Are we brave, foolish, or just thrifty?? Don’t answer that.

Yellow arrow points to us. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't publicize our little spot?

Yellow arrow points to us. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t publicize our little spot?

Nantucket is full of history, sea stories, and old New England charm. We love strolling around the streets.

The shining steeple of the Congregational Church can be seen from out in the harbor.

The shining steeple of the Congregational Church can be seen from out in the harbor.

In olden days, Nantucket was a very muddy mess where refuse and water puddled in the sandy clay streets when it rained. By the mid 1800’s, cobblestones were used to pave the streets and were a real sign of progress. There are differing stories about where the cobblestones originated. The popular hypothesis is that the cobblestones were ballast from the ships that had taken goods across to Europe.  A much more interesting story than just buying them from somewhere on the East coast.

Streets of cobblestones and sidewalks of brick.

Streets of cobblestones and sidewalks of brick.

Nantucket, seen as the center of the world.

Nantucket, seen as the center of the world.

I could wander these streets forever.

Main Street, Nantucket

Main Street, Nantucket

Nantucket streets img_6710 img_6709 brick sidewalks

Every island seems to have a wonderful independent book store, full of charm and books. Nantucket Bookworks is one of these.

Every island seems to have a wonderful independent book store, full of charm and books. Nantucket Bookworks is one of these.

We found a new sweet little bake shop to visit for a rest and sustenance. ;-)

We found a new sweet little bake shop to visit for a rest and sustenance. 😉

When we weren’t roaming around the streets of Nantucket,  we would spend a few hours on the beach.  Jetties Beach is an easy dinghy ride just outside the harbor.

Sitting on Jetties Beach - warm sun, warm water.

Sitting on Jetties Beach – warm sun, warm water.

From the beach we watched the Oliver Hazard Perry enter the channel.

While sitting on the beach, we watched the Oliver Hazard Perry enter the channel.

The Oliver Hazard Perry, a tall ship, arrived in Nantucket. The Perry is a three-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel, measuring 207 feet long. She is the largest privately owned tall ship and civilian sail training vessel in the United States. It took 8 years to build her, finishing with a maiden voyage to Portland, Maine in 2015 for the Tall Ships Festival. The ship is a “good will ambassador” for Rhode Island as well as a “floating classroom”.

Back in the harbor, we had an amazing view of the Oliver Hazard Perry as the crew put the seals away. What a job! High up there int he rigging, hanging and working. Talk about training!

Back in the harbor, we had an amazing view of the Oliver Hazard Perry as the crew put the seals away. What a job! High up there in the rigging, hanging and working. Talk about training!

If you love looking at boats, Nantucket has a ginormous variety, sail and power. I could fill blog post after post with just photos of the boats out there. But I won’t 😉 Except for these two —

This is a "then and now" photo. Looking through our older photos of Nantucket trips, I found the top photo and matched it the bottom that I took this year. IT's amusing to see that I photographed, unknowingly, so many years apart. It hasn't sunk in spite of its name.

This is a “then and now” photo. Looking through our older photos of Nantucket trips, I found the top photo and matched it the bottom that I took this year. It’s amusing to see that I photographed it, unknowingly, so many years apart. It hasn’t sunk yet,in spite of its name, but it is looking more worn.

This is the Nantucket pump-out boat. Events pump-out boat is classy with a clever name. Haha.

This is the Nantucket pump-out boat. Even the pump-out boat is classy with a clever name. Haha.

Our anniversary always fell during our summer sailing trips around the southern New England islands, so we decided to revive that little tradition of a nice dinner out on an island.  Nantucket has Incredible restaurants that can compete with the best metropolitan ones. We still reminisce about an anniversary dinner we had here at The Boarding House. Although we were 14 days late, it was still August, so we chose The Pearl, sister restaurant to The Boarding House. I’ll be honest, it was the kind of meal you only do on very special occasions, if you know what I mean.

Dressed up ("boating dress") for our anniversary.

Dressed up (“boating dress”) for our anniversary.

The Pearl - "current coastal cuisine showcasing seasonal shellfish and seafood, produce from Island farmers and heritage meats"

The Pearl – “current coastal cuisine showcasing seasonal shellfish and seafood, produce from Island farmers and heritage meats”

We shared the Wok-fired lobster because it was two tails and two claws, plenty for two!

We shared the appetizer and the wok-fired lobster because it was two tails and two claws, plenty for two! Confession – we did not share our desserts!

Our time on Nantucket was interrupted, and we had not explored so many of our favorite places such as ‘Sconset, Surfside Beach, The Whaling Museum, Cisco Brewery, Head of the Harbor, and more. We had been watching the weather forecasts for several days, hoping against hope that Hermine, the tropical storm, would not come too close. By August 30th, it was apparent that it would be foolish to ignore her. We have spent enough time on boats and on the water to know that you don’t fool with Mother Nature. We were close enough to our homeport to get back there safely, well ahead of Hermine.

The wind forecasts

The wind forecasts. Every day the forecasts  shifted some, but seemed to be consistently worrisome for our waters.

We departed Nantucket on Wednesday, August 31st and made it to Cuttyhunk, 44 nautical miles, 6+ hours. Dropped the hook and spent the night, leaving very early the next morning, in the rain.

Good bye, Nantucket.

Good bye, Nantucket.

On September 1st we traveled another 48 nautical miles and reached Napatree, Rhode Island and meet Mary Jo and Dean. The weather was still good enough to stay out a little longer, if we were close to home.

September 1st and it is time for my "Teal Toes" for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Haven't missed a year yet.

September 1st and it is time for my “Teal Toes” for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Haven’t missed a year yet.

Before ending our 3-4 week trip, we squeezed in some more good times with Mary Jo and Dean.

Fun on the flybridge (Dean's new selfie stick)

Fun on the flybridge (Dean’s new selfie stick)

Always beautiful at Watch Hill and Napatree.

Watch Hill

colorful sunset WH2

There was so much more we planned to do on this trip before it was interrupted by Hermine. We thought we had a couple more weeks for time in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Aquinnah, Menemsha, Cuttyhunk……… Oh well, perhaps next year.

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