Life on ACK

Our insider's guide to life on Nantucket. Get our recommendations for the best places to eat, drink , relax, and more on Nantucket.

  • LPGA on Nantucket?

    This is a guest post from Christina J.

    Gates, Golf Course, Light House and Fog

    With the mild temperatures, beautiful landscapes and historic New England charm that permeates Nantucket, it’s the perfect location for a professional golf tournament. While Nantucket hasn’t managed to secure a major yet, local groups continue their efforts to change that. Efforts to finalize a spot in the 2014 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour fell through, but Miacomet Golf Course is hoping for a mulligan in 2015.

    Continue reading

  • Summer Sailboat Races in and Around Nantucket

    Sailboat Races Around Nantucket

    Every summer Nantucket is home to a number of sailboat races. Nantucket's location is ideal for sailing and the races draw a number of participants. If you are considering a visit to Nantucket consider a time when one of these races are going, they are fun to watch. Here is a list of some of the best sailboat races in and around Nantucket. Some of the dates below are approximate, check the websites for exact dates for the upcoming season which haven't been posted at the time this post was published. Continue reading

  • Sledding Dead Horse Valley on Nantucket

    Sledding Photo Credit: Ian Joyce on Flickr

    Dead Horse Valley is not only the most popular place to go sledding on Nantucket, it is one of the only places. This makes it a highlight of the winter months with both visitors and locals alike, on those rare occasions when Nantucket gets real snow. Teens and kids especially love it, as the sledding area starts out nice and gentle, but then gradually becomes more steep, making for a smooth, fast ride to safety at the bottom. It's almost like riding a roller coaster. Anytime there is snow on Nantucket, you can be sure that there will be plenty of people of all ages at Dead Horse Valley. The kids and teenagers will be enjoying sledding, while their parents watch happily from the sidelines. It's winter family fun at its best! (Don't miss an older video of sledding at Dead Horse Valley at the bottom!)

    Great Fun If There Is Snow

    Dead Horse Valley is located on public property on Nantucket. The whole area is approximately 400 feet long and has a 50 degree slope. The terrain is smooth in some places, and bumpy in others. While it's not an officially designated sledding place, it is the only real place to sled on the island. It doesn't get to be used nearly often enough. This is because most winter weather on Nantucket is mixed with rain or sleet, or only a light dusting of snow forms. When there is any real snow on the ground on Nantucket, though, Dead Horse Valley is the place to go. There isn't any parking nearby, but Nantucket is a small island. It won't be hard to get to from wherever you park.

    If you're visiting the island for the first time, Dead Horse Valley is easy to find. Nantucket is only 17 miles long, so it's hard to get lost. Just get a map and find Mill Street. Mill Street will take you up a small hill. At the top of the hill, turn left at Mill Hill Lane. This street eventually becomes an unmarked country road. Look at the house numbers. When you spot #11, which is on the right side of the road, you will see four white markers in the distance, about 20 yards past house #11. This is Dead Horse Valley, and the start of your sledding adventure.

    Origins of the Name

    Dead Horse Valley is rumored to have been the places where dead horses were buried on Nantucket back in colonial times. However, there is no solid proof to this rumor. What is known about the place is that it's been active as a place of business since at least 1746, when the first known windmill was built near there. This is mentioned in several books on the history of the island, and its veracity can be seen today in the names of the streets leading to the valley (such as Mill Street and Mill Hill Lane). Today, however, Dead Horse Valley is a place for nothing but fun. People walk their dogs there in the summer, but in the winter, when it snows, this gorgeous public land on Nantucket is all about sledding.

    For what not to do when sledding...

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  • Moving Sankaty Head Light

    Moving Sankaty Head LightSankaty Head Light is a lighthouse that sits on a bluff illuminating a portion of Nantucket island's 80-mile coastline on its Eastern Shore. Technically, it sits in the village of Siasconset fulfilling its role reminding seafarers in the Atlantic Ocean to beware of the island's craggy shore.

    Today, Sankaty perches safely nearly 480 feet from shore, however, it was not always situated so cozily inland.​ After the island eroded for decades, it came within 79 feet of the edge, and some authorities claim that a few strong storms could have toppled it into the sea. Continue reading

  • Throw a Penny at Brant Point?

    Throw Penny at Brant PointTraveling to and from Nantucket Island involves a 30-mile ferry trip over potentially choppy seas, and it’s best if we take this trip with at least one penny in our pocket. The penny is not to pay the ferryman, but rather to engage in the age-old tradition of throwing a penny overboard while departing the island.

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  • Christmas on Nantucket 2013

    Christmas is the most wonderful, magical time of the year. The spirit of the holiday season is in the air and people from all different walks of life come together to celebrate the season. For those of us fortunate enough to live in a winter climate, the sight of snow lining the bare treetops makes the magic come alive even more. This year, Nantucket has once again been graced with an abundance of snow, turning the island into a veritable Winter Wonderland by the sea.

    The holiday season in Nantucket, affectionately known as Nantucket Noel, starts off with a beloved holiday traditions that we have already mentioned in an earlier post, The Annual Christmas Stroll. This event takes place in the first week of December, and features an open-air European-style Advent market, warm snacks with hot cider and coco, visits from Santa, and traditional Victorian caroling. This event is the kickoff to Nantucket Noel, which continues on until Dec. 31st.

    Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas tree. Christmas trees are a relatively new tradition in the United States, and if a letter written in 1858 by a Nantucket native visiting Philadelphia is an indication, it was still an uncommon sight in the homes of native islanders. Since that time, however, Nantucket has not only adopted the Christmas tree but also lofted it to new heights. The day after Thanksgiving, hundreds of people gather together on main street for the annual tree lighting ceremony where 100 Christmas trees are lit up to usher in the start of the Christmas season. The lighting ceremony is accompanied by local chorus groups singing traditional carols and leading the community in a sing-along. The humble tree is further venerated at the Festival of Trees, taking place from Dec. 6th to the 31st. The Nantucket Whaling Museum is transformed as roughly eighty Christmas trees are on display, each one decorated by local artists, merchants, nonprofit organizations, and schoolchildren.

    Another of the highly anticipated traditions this time of year is the annual Red Ticket Drawing. Residents and charities have been collecting a red ticket for every $25 spent at over 80 participating local businesses, culminating in a raffle drawing at 3:00 pm at the top of Main Street. Five lucky winners will receive $1000 each and a single grand prize winner will receive $5000, enough to put some holiday cheer into even the meanest Scrooge.

    If you’re looking for the perfect gift to get your loved ones (and maybe for yourself too – go ahead, we won’t tell!), look no further than Nantucket Brand. We have a wide range of madras, seersucker, and faded “Nantucket” red clothing and apparel, and if you’re on the island we invite you to visit our physical store in the historic downtown area of Federal Street. The store features all the items found on our website, as well a few can’t-miss exclusives that can only be found in our store. We also have another store dedicated to gorgeous, nautical-themed home décor and gift items, The Emporium of Nantucket which also features a convenient downtown location. Of course, if online shopping is your thing our stores offer a comprehensive range of gift items, neatly arranged for easy browsing with our Holiday Gift Guide.

    Whether you’re on the island of Nantucket or sitting on a tropical shore somewhere, from all of us here at the Nantucket Brand family we wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • Christmas Stroll on Nantucket

    Christmas Stroll on Nantucket

    2013 Christmas Stroll on Nantucket

    The holiday season is upon us once again and here on Nantucket, a sure sign of Christmas is the annual Nantucket Christmas Stroll (2013: Dec. 6-8). Now in its 40th year, the Stroll was initially organized as an effort to keep locals from going off the island to get their holiday shopping done. What started as a three hour event with late closing times for local shops and businesses has since turned into a cherished holiday tradition encompassing the entire weekend.

    The holiday season starts off the weekend after Thanksgiving with the lighting of 100 Christmas trees all along Main Street, accompanied by local choirs and carolers singing traditional Christmas songs. The Christmas Stroll on Nantucket begins the following weekend, which is the first weekend of December. The annual event features a charming open air, European-style Advent market where Christmas truly comes alive as shoppers walk around taking in the sights, and perhaps being tempted by the smells of hot food and refreshments wafting through the cold, crisp air. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus, who arrives via a Coast Guard boat to kick off the festivities. His arrival is heralded by the Town Crier, and Santa sets up shop at the historic Jared Coffin House to visit with the children and receive their Christmas wishes. Naturally, it goes without saying that local businesses, shops, and restaurants all get in on the festivities, offering up various holiday specials.

    This year, the Stroll embraces a Victorian theme, including a Victorian Costume Contest held on Saturday, Dec. 7. All visitors are encouraged to participate and help bring that much more Dickensian flair to the season. To cap things off, there will be a community sing-along with Nantucket’s renowned Victorian Carolers.

    With such wonderful festivities all around us, we here at Nantucket Brand are proud to be part of the tradition in our own way, offering many special holiday products. Be sure stop by our downtown store at 10 Federal Street and see our latest clothing styles and find some holiday decor. Whether you want to add some flair around your tree with our needlepoint Christmas tree skirt, decorate with our pewter Christmas ornaments, or entertain guests in style with Christmas-themed placemats, we’ve got just the item for you! So if you’re in the area, we hope you’ll come visit us! From all of us here at Nantucket Brand, we hope your holidays are truly magical.

    Event Details
    What: 2013 Christmas Stroll on Nantucket
    When: December 6-8, 2013
    Where: Downtown Nantucket
    More information available at the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce site.

  • Get to Know Us: Visit the Nantucket Brand Store

    Nantucket Brand Store

    10 Federal Street
    Nantucket, MA 02554
    508-228-7540
    Note: We'll update this post shortly with photos of our store!

    We operate two retail stores, both of which are located on Nantucket Island, MA. The Emporium of Nantucket carries everything you need to furnish your home. That store will be featured in a future post.

    Our Nantucket Brand Store carries clothing for men and women, as well as a selection of small gift & decor items. The store is located in historic downtown Nantucket at 10 Federal Street. Our store originally opened in 2009 at 33 Main Street, but has since moved just around the corner to our new location. The new location is across the street from the post office and nearly kitty corner to the Nantucket Atheneum, the island's public library. Use the map on the right to see our location and get directions to the Nantucket Brand Store.

    Whether you live on Nantucket or are just visiting, we invite you to stop by the store. Our store is open year-round with varying hours depending the season. Typically we're open 10:00-5:00 during the "offseason" and 10:00-8:00 during the summer months. It's best to give the store a call at 508-228-7540 for the latest hours.

    The Nantucket Brand Store carries many of the featured items you can find on our site, such as madras clothing, seersucker clothing and faded red clothing. We also carry a number of apparel items that can only be found in our store.

    In addition to clothing, our downtown Nantucket store carries a variety of small decor items from The Emporium of Nantucket. These items include nautical clocks, wooden signs, nautical charts, unique gift items, door knockers, and more.

    Our store is managed by a longtime islander, Leilani Irvine. She's a graduate of Nantucket High School and has been working at the store since 2010. Leilani is always happy to help with finding the correct size for you, picking out a gift, or anything else you might need.

    If you've shopped at the Nantucket Brand Store, we'd love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment here or leave a review on Yelp or Google to let us know about your shopping experience!

  • First of 2013: Snow on Nantucket

    Snow on Nantucket


    The photo above was taken by coleypenrose and posted to his Instagram account. I don't know the photographer, but his Instagram account includes many other great photos of Nantucket, in addition to his photo of the first snow on Nantucket of 2013.

    "The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"

    - J. B. Priestley

    It snowed yesterday on Nantucket. This was the first snow on Nantucket, and for many places around the northeast, this season. It's certainly a bit earlier than many people would like, but there is something "magical" about snowfall, as mentioned in this quote from J.B. Priestly. The snow didn't come overnight, but this quote still seemed like a good fit for the occasion. Priestly, an English novelist, playwright and broadcaster who published 26 novels and many dramatic plays, captured part of what makes snowfall so magical to many with this quote, but there's certainly more to it than that.

    Many island visitors may not know much about snow on Nantucket, since most only visit between April and October. It actually doesn't snow that much on Nantucket compared to most places in Massachusetts and New England. The Gulf Stream helps keep the temperature just a little warmer and makes for many more rainy days than snowy days. According to USA.com, Nantucket averages about 26" of snow each year, which is about half of the average for Massachusetts.

    Their average of 26" actually seems a little high to me, but I wasn't able to find much other information. However, I was able to find some info about the chances of snow each month, which says there's only about a 3% chance of snow on Nantucket at this point of November.

    Do you have any photos of the snow on Nantucket? We'd love to see them!

  • Nantucket in November

    Nantucket in November

    Photo of Nantucket in November. ©2013 Nantucket Brand

    Our Guide to Nantucket in November

    It's hard to believe we're already one week into November. Although a week has gone by, we wanted to tell you a little bit about Nantucket in November by highlighting a few events and telling you what to expect.

    Restaurants & Stores

    The island certainly begins to get a bit quieter as we head further into the "off-season." Some restaurants and stores have closed for the season, but more are still open - often with shorter hours. For the latest restaurant hours, it's best to check the Inquirer & Mirror's restaurant guide. They occasionally include a paper-guide in the newspaper showing what is currently open. If you can't find it, just give the restaurant a call before showing up.

    As mentioned, most downtown stores are open, at least until sometime around Christmas, and many stay open in some capacity all year-round. That includes our two retail stores: Nantucket Brand Clothing and The Emporium of Nantucket. Again, try calling before showing up - especially if you're planning to shop downtown on Nantucket in November.

    Museums

    The Nantucket Whaling Museum is still open, but only on weekends. Their Foggy Facts & Fictions exhibit, where one of our dresses is displayed, ends on November 10th. If you haven't been yet, make plans for this weekend! Unfortunately, most of the NHA's historic sites close before November.

    Thanksgiving on Nantucket

    Of course, November means Thanksgiving. Nantucket is a great place for this feasting holiday. The weather is cool and the trees are mostly barren giving the perfect fall look and feel for a real New England Thanksgiving. In fact, Vice President Joe Biden has celebrated 36 straight Thanksgiving holidays on Nantucket.

    On Thanksgiving day, November 28th this year, the 12th annual Cold Turkey Plunge will take place at Children's Beach. If you're brave, take the plunge and dive in. The event benefits the Nantucket Atheneum. Register ahead of time and help them reach their goal of raising $75,000.

    The day after Thanksgiving typically means the beginning of the Christmas season, and it's no different on Nantucket. Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Chamber of Commerce holds the Christmas Tree Lighting on Main Street. Trees line all of the downtown sidewalks and are decorated by various community groups, schoolchildren, businesses, and others ahead of time. Then around 5pm, all the trees are lit and the Christmas Carols begin.

    This certainly isn't a comprehensive guide to Nantucket in November, but it's a great start. Let us know in the comments what else you'd suggest!