The Figawi race takes place over the entire Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the start of summer. This annual race from Hyannis to Nantucket is all about sailing, with well over 200 boats taking part, but the weekend also includes a charity ball, parties and other social activities. While the name Figawi is widely recognized, it's a little less known how it actually originated. The name is surrounded with folklore, with two completely different stories on how it came about. Continue reading
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.
Wondering where to begin your venial journey at the Nantucket Wine Festival? We've got you covered. Spanning five days from Wednesday, May 14 through Sunday the 18, this year's gala includes offerings from dozens of restaurants and scores of participating wineries. The result? A high-class mishmash of food and spirits you won't want to miss.
Personally, we're partial to the events with nautical themes. Roughly translated, that means piles of seafood ... with elegant wine pairings, of course! Continue reading
The Figawi Race, annually held over Memorial Day Weekend on Cape Cod and Nantucket, is the premier sailing event on the East Coast. Outside of New England, the Figawi may be a mystery to the general public. But, to real sailors, it is a treasured, not-to-be-missed event.
Brief History and Folklore
In 1972, three friends decided to have an informal race from Hyannis to Nantucket on Memorial Day. Signing on their wives and friends as "crew members," this first race involved three sailors determining who had the fastest sailboat. Continue reading
Spring has sprung and that means it's almost time for the annual Daffodil Festival on Nantucket. Every April, the streets of Nantucket are bedecked with yellow and green in anticipation of the Daffodil Weekend celebration held at the end of the month. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the festival. Friends and family will gather April 25-27, 2014, for a fanfare of picnics, parades, and dress-up competitions. It's a whirlwind weekend full of light, laughter, and excitement for the new season.
This is a guest post from Christina J.
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.
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
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...
Sankaty 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.â€‹ 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
Traveling 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.
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!