Join us for a day on Nantucket as we tour the town and learn about the history that inspired Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick!
Come along with us as we visit this historical town and walk the streets that Herman Melville walked and visit other points of interest on Nantucket!
If you find yourself with one day on the beautiful island of Nantucket like we did, here's how you can fit in a good amount of sightseeing and fun in a short amount of time and still make it back in time for the ferry!
Before venturing over to this gorgeous island, we began our vacation on Martha's Vineyard - read more about our visit here!
The view on the ferry to Nantucket. A gorgeous day!
So, you know the 'Books and Fun, All in One' tagline we use at My Kidz Bookshelf? Well, it's 100% accurate! There are more things and places we could possibly travel to than we have time for, but hey, we're gonna give it our best shot!
Well, most people have heard of the literary classic, Moby Dick by Herman Melville. You may not know, however, that this timeless classic was inspired by the real life events of the Nantucket whaling ship, the Essex, which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820!
It's kind of funny, because for many years, whenever somebody mentioned Nantucket, it would just sound so far away. Now, it's definitely not right around the corner, but it's not necessary to purchase a plane ticket --for us anyway!
One of my favorite pics! Upstairs at the Whaling Museum!
Well, a few summers ago my daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Martha's Vineyard with a group, and I just couldn't imagine going that far without going just a little further to see Nantucket!
My explanation for such things is always, "I never know if I'm ever going to get back there, so I want to see everything I can!" Pretty sure I took that saying from my mom!
Like stepping back in time on Nantucket!
The other travelers from our group needed a day of relaxing and decided to lounge on the beach and visit another town on Martha's Vineyard, so my daughter and I were on our own!
Never a problem, we've traveled to many an unknown destination together and were determined to get to Nantucket!
Our plan was to take the first ferry over to Nantucket from Martha's Vineyard, where we were staying, and return on the last ferry back which left at 5- ish. A good solid day trip.
Unfortunately, the ferry company was down a boat and the return was going to leave at 2:30. A little less time than we had been hoping for, but it was enough to squeeze in what we wanted to see in town.
So quaint! Right off the ferry in Nantucket!
Now, if you're thinking, 'Wow, that's not enough time!' you're absolutely right!
But, like I said, we had traveled with a group, so we were just doing our best with what we had!
It was our last day and last chance to make the trip over to Nantucket, so we couldn't afford to be choosy! If you have the chance to go, make sure you plan for a full day on Nancucket and preferably stay a night or two!
Luckily for us, the weather prediction for our day trip was projected to be beautiful! Low 80's, sunny, breezy...perfection!
It was only a five minute walk to the ticket booth from our hotel where we promptly purchased our round trip ferry tickets to Nantucket. To find out the current rates, visit the Inter-Island Ferry / Hy-Line Cruises website.
Ten steps away from the ticket booth was The Black Dog Cafe which was already filling up with customers. The walk-in cafe had a nice selection of breakfast items - croissants, muffins, bagels & , breakfast sandwiches, and beverages.
The Black Dog Cafe had these great all-natural granola bars!
We grabbed a couple of waters, an asiago bagel w/cream cheese and went back the next day for the delectable muffins - Coffee Cinnamon and Blueberry! Who knew The Black Dog also made their own granola bars?!
Well, the ferry ride over to Nantucket was pure bliss! We sat out on the deck for the entire ride, which took just a little over an hour from Oak Bluffs. The ferry had plenty of outdoor seating and even had shaded areas, so it was simply perfect!
The view coming into the harbor was just beautiful!
Our view coming into Nantucket!
Boats were everywhere! Sunlight sparkled off of the clear blue water, the air was summer-breezy!
Sailboats and yachts dotted the harbor and lined the docks. We really felt like we were entering a different world!
Our first goal after disembarking was to peek into a couple of the quaint shops lining the main street. Jewelry, clothing, souvenirs and more occupied these boutiques that lined the brick-lined street.
Outside of one of the delightful shops next to the Nantucket Harbor!
After a few minutes of looking through the quaint shops that lined the walkable street, we set out to get to our first destination: The Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Model on display at the Whaling Museum
The Whaling Museum had this great mural!
We love museums, so this was first on our list of things to see! Even if you're not a history buff, this gorgeous museum will win you over!
The Nantucket Whaling Museum has a comprehensive collection of artifacts, models and collections as well as a restored candle factory within its walls!
Inside the Great Hall at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Visitors are able to see the Nantucket Clock as well as the Fresnel lens from the Sankatay Head Light (1849) at the museum.
Click the link above or here to find out more about this incredible museum!
You can go to the top of the Whaling Museum and enjoy the view!
After learning so much about this time in history, I have added Herman Melville's Moby Dick to my reading list!
I saw the below abridged version at the bookstore for young readers looking for a shorter version to start out with!
The Old Mill was the next stop on our personal walking tour. We were on foot, so it took about 20 minutes to get there from the ferry. We popped into a few shops and a bookstore along the way, so, we probably added a few minutes onto that.
The brick sidewalks and cobblestone roadways are picturesque and a lovely addition to the historic island. Remember to wear comfortable footwear, though, if you plan on doing a fair amount of walking!
The Old Mill was just like the pictures we'd seen! We were super excited to take some of our own in front of this amazing piece of history!
The Old Mill on Nantucket!
The Old Mill is the oldest working mill in the United States!
Taking a break before heading back down the hill!
Speaking of the route to The Old Mill. On the way there, I went to put on my hat and found, to my dismay, I didn't have it!! Ugh! Now, this hat is not a glamorous thing - it's kind of beat, actually!
I bought it many years ago at our local Macy's - it's a Polo bucket hat and I bought it in the men's department... and at the time, it was pretty stylish!
I love this hat and it's been worn A LOT though, and is definitely sporting a more distressed look and am looking for a new one. HOWEVER..it has traveled with me to China twice, Canada, various states, was lost in the Atlantic (then found)... so I'm quite attached to it!
This is the hat! Notice the one in the pic by The Old Mill is NOT my favorite hat!
Well I was trying to be the adult, and shrug it off, but my daughter firmly suggested we retrace our steps after seeing the Old Mill!
So, that's what we did and amazingly, found it on the floor of Mitchell's Book Corner--the bookstore that we had stopped at along the way. I love a happy ending!
We passed this artist on the way to and from The Old Mill! Several other statues were nearby as well!
Following the rediscovery of my hat, we headed to the Hospital Thrift Shop! Who can resist a good deal? Not us!
If you enjoy poking around, this is a fun way to not only get a good deal, but see what kinds of books, clothes and housewares and more are typical for the area. My daughter found some terrific American Girl deals!
(The American Girl history girl books are a fabulous way to learn about so many different eras through American history! Kit's stories were favorites for sure!)
Well, we were needing some refreshment after our active touring and were directed by the Hospital Thrift Shop staff to walk down the block to The Bean Coffee Shop.
Artisanal beverages, sandwiches, salads and snacks in a clean, comfortable cafe were the perfect respite!
The Bean is a great spot to take a break and have a refreshing beverage and lunch!
Well, the clock was a-ticking, so our last bit of time was reserved for some good old-fashioned shopping!
There's no shortage of delightful shops to go in and out of in the streets close to the ferry, offering everything from standard touristy items to more exotic and unique choices!
Outside the Vineyard Vines!
I had my heart set on one of those fleece-sweatshirt blankets with the Nantucket parking permit art and my daughter wanted some Nantucket tees!
Lucky for us we didn't dawdle too much because I thought the ferry left at 2:50, but it was getting ready to leave right as we walked up at 2:30! Whoops! Better check those times more closely next time!
Checking out our purchases on the ferry ride!
So, even though it was a whirlwind visit, we were thrilled with everything we got to see and experience! Without a doubt, we want to go back!
We barely scratched the surface of all of the history and beauty that Nantucket has to offer!
Figurehead on display at the Whaling Museum in Nantucket.