Nantucket may be tiny — it’s a snug 14 miles long by 3.5 miles wide — but the exclusive island located roughly 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts is one of the biggest draws around New England. With 80 miles of gorgeous beaches, world-class resorts and restaurants, boutique shops and art galleries galore, there is a lot to do and see. Read on for a rundown of some of the area’s newer options that promise to make summer 2015 one of Nantucket’s finest seasons yet.
Buzz in for the Day
One unique and over-the-top way to get to the island this season is with the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Boston’s Coastal Luxury package, which includes a private, 45-minute executive helicopter charter to Nantucket (you’ll be driven to and from Boston’s Logan International Airport in a Mercedes S Class sedan); four hours of chauffeured car service on the island with a local guide; and the freedom to personalize your day trip any way you like. Once your afternoon is complete in Nantucket, fly back to Boston for a stay in a Mandarin Back Bay king or double guest room. The offer is available through September, and rates are based on two adults or a family of four.
First-Class Festivals and Events
Whether or not you arrive via helicopter, private plane or on ferry, you may want to time your trek over with one of the island’s many spring and summer festivals. The Nantucket Book Festival runs June 19 through 21, with personalities in the worlds of cooking (Sarah Leah Chase), fitness (Rebecca Pacheco) and personal empowerment (Ishmael Beah) scheduled to appear. Just a few days later, the 20th Nantucket Film Festival (June 24 to 29) raises the curtain on a show filled with celebrity participants (Robin Wright will discuss her role on the hit political drama House of Cards on June 28) and intriguing programs (Mavis!, the documentary on soul music legend Mavis Staples). For golfing fans, the 22nd annual Sam Sylvia Pro-Am Golf Tournament tees off June 14 and 15.
In The Heart of Movie Magic
Many local organizations are celebrating the upcoming release of Warner Brothers’ In the Heart of the Sea, a film adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s bestselling book chronicling the tragedy of the Nantucket whaleship Essex in 1820. The Nantucket Historical Association presents a major exhibition, “Stove by a Whale: 20 Men, Three Boats, 96 Days,” through November 2016. The show details the Moby Dick-inspiring encounter through a series of interactive displays and historical objects. The NHA also offers a new 90-minute In the Heart of the Sea walking tour through late October, which takes you to locations related to the Essex. Shearwater Excursions provides a new one-hour narrated boat tour around the historic whaling port as well. Finally, the Artists Association of Nantucket is launching an In the Art of the Sea exhibit on June 12, a program composed of maritime- and nautical-themed works.
In the same spirit, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Stars The White Elephant and The Wauwinet, both Nantucket Island Resorts properties, are getting in on the In the Heart of the Sea action in their own unique (but highly elegant) fashions. Both have a Nantucket Whaling Museum package this summer that includes two nights in a non-harborview suite and two tickets to the nautical attraction, where you can take in the 19th-century whaling history of Nantucket Island through galleries and artifacts such as lighthouse lenses, harpoons and scrimshaw. (Your guess is as good as ours if you’re wondering what equipment was used in the gathering of the halibut you’ll be eating later at Topper’s restaurant.) The Four-Star White Elephant Village also has a similar package, but it puts you in a one-bedroom residence.