Nantucket Island: Our Favorite Things (in the Winter)

We are often asked “What do you do in the winter?”.  Which makes us ponder what it is that we like about living on Nantucket all year long, even in the winter.  One of our agents put it so well:  “Living on island year round gives you two extremes.  We live in a place that people run to come the summer months and our population swells to over 60,000.  What is better than to live where other people want to be?  I think what most people don’t know is how nice it is here come the winter months. These months are necessary to all that live here year round.  It gives us time to slow down and recharge our batteries for the upcoming year.  It gives us time to stop, enjoy and maybe remember what is really important.  I think what I really enjoy about Nantucket winters is getting back in touch with those people who live here full time and see how things are going in their lives and in the community.  In the summer things are too busy to actually do that.  It just might be the winter months that make me stop and realize what a beautiful place I live in.”  More things that we like about living on Nantucket in the winter:  Clamming, the social aspect of getting groceries – you know so many people in the winter that you always see someone to stop and chat with, solitary beach walks, bike rides and runs at Sanford Farm.  The quiet and lack of snow and when the wind blows and kicks up the ocean.  I can drive to Sconset in 10 minutes, no lines at the Stop & Shop, I can get into restaurants without a reservation, the peace and quiet.  Two of my favorite things to do in the off season are experience a Nor-easter in Madaket and taking a walk in Ram’s pasture with our dogs. Watching my daughter pond skate in Quaise as the sun is setting, taking advantage of the sales in the stores, knowing almost everybody at the grocery store and in restaurants and the holiday decorations lining Main Street and in the store windows.  What I really enjoy is going to a restaurant at lunch time.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, because I don’t have to worry about making a reservation and second, and more importantly, because I will generally know more than half the people in the restaurant and I can catch up on both social and business items.  Enjoying fresh scallops, the solitude of a beach with no one but seagulls around, knowing everyone at the drug store lunch counter, post office and church.  Knitting and making baskets.  Planning with island non profit boards for the upcoming season.  Time to watch movies and try new recipes.  Enjoying the role as island caretakers until our summer residents and visitors return.  Having the time to help visitors plan their summer vacations.  There are lots of things to love about Nantucket that are ONLY in the winter….the crisp clarity of the nighttime winter sky is incredible for star watching, seeing satellites, shooting stars and various constellations.  The ability to be spontaneous – you are able to run to the supermarket, park, shop and be back home in minutes if you have a sudden craving for homemade tiramisu or crab cakes.  Walking – everywhere – poison-ivy free woods, collecting windswept shells in Dionis, the icy shoreline of Madaket harbor, watching seals and birds from the ‘Sconset Bluff and running into friends everywhere that actually have time for a little “chinwag”.  The Tuesday night $5 burger at Kitty’s.  Town Meeting in late winter, time to make music with the community orchestra and the variety of weather conditions from sodden gray days to howling storms.  I learned a long time ago that you can be outside in all conditions if you layer up.  And I appreciate the sun more when it doesn’t shine every day.  These are a few of our favorite things.

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