Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: Weekend Getaways - Nantucket
One thing my husband and I always agree on is the importance of good dining options when planning a getaway. Nantucket’s reputation for great restaurants made the idea of spending three days dining and exploring seem like a good one. And indeed, it was.
A little pre-weekend research confirmed that many of the restaurants I’d eaten at my last time on the island, 20 years ago, were still in business; tonier places like Le Languedoc Bistro, the Chanticleer and 21 Federal, as well as the more pub-like Atlantic Café and Brotherhood of Thieves. Also still around was Something Natural, the nationally acclaimed sandwich shop.
We grabbed the Freedom Cruise Line boat out of Harwich Port and were pulling into Nantucket Harbor in just over an hour. As soon as we stepped onto terra firma our spanking new rental car was there to meet us, thanks to Nantucket Island Rent-a-Car’s dock-side pick up service. A quick stop to fill out the paperwork and it was off to Something Natural. The turkey salad, filled with plump raisins, chunks of apple and slivered almonds was everything I’d remembered.
Soon after, we checked into the Beachside at Nantucket, our home for the first night of our stay. The Beachside is a classic motel, unusual on an island full of resorts and inns. Constant maintenance was evident everywhere, from the freshly painted trim to the fresh carpeting and sparkling pool.
We had some time to kill before our dinner reservations at American Seasons, so John allowed himself to be dragged downtown to do a little shopping. Downtown is where most of the action is; restaurants, antique and home goods shops, and dozens of clothing and accessories stores line the cobblestone streets. I managed to find some rhinestone embellished sandals at Zero Main, sparkly yet casual; perfect for dinner tonight.
American Seasons recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. After seeing many mentions in the press, we were dying to try it. Housed in an early 19th century building with a relaxing décor, American Seasons is just our kind of place. Michael LaScola is the executive chef and wife and partner, Orla Murphy LaScola, is the sommelier and runs the floor. Michael has come up with a menu that pairs unexpected ingredients for fabulous flavors. Orla’s American wine menu consistently garners top awards from the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast.
My appetizer, pan-fried oysters with grapefruit and avocado, was a salty, succulent dream. John’s appetizer, roasted octopus with warm fingerling potato and orange salad, had a perfect smoky flavor.
Entrees were exceptional: mine, flounder with spaghetti squash and pancetta with an artichoke and tomato relish. The flounder was crispy yet juicy. John ordered the American Seasons Fish & Chips, a most unusual take on a classic dish; tuna wrapped in potato with vinaigrette tartar sauce. Next, we dove into dessert, splitting a casserole of sorts – pretzels, chocolate, peanut butter and toffee – and a Meyer lemon tart with berry sorbet. It was definitely bedtime.
The next morning, we set out for a day of touring. First we just motored around; out to Madaket, and on to Siasconset, pronounced ‘Sconset, on the opposite side of the island, with its rose-covered, shingled shacks. There isn’t much to ‘Sconset, just a little sandwich place, a couple of shops and the ‘Sconset Market, purveyor of gourmet goods. We settled in at the gorgeous public beach for a couple of hours.
We’d started out early, so we made it back to town with enough time to check into the Roberts House Inn and then enjoy an adventure. We popped over to the Friendship sloop Endeavor, which sailed from nearby Straight Wharf. John and I walked over and grabbed tickets for the 4:00 sail. It was a blast; quick – only 90 minutes – and a peaceful way to see Nantucket from a different perspective.
The Roberts House is in a perfect location, in the middle of all the downtown action, but not remotely noisy. We were in a room with high ceilings and huge windows, gleaming hardwood floors and an enormous four-poster bed.
At 8:00, we walked over to the Boarding House and grabbed a table on the terrace. John and I split an appetizer of a grilled pizzetta topped with black truffle cheese and figs. I often consider it the height of pretension when restaurants omit salt and pepper shakers; the inference being that additional seasoning isn’t needed. Well, I don’t remember if salt and pepper shakers were on our table. Our pizzetta was that good.
The same was true of the steak frites I ordered for my entrée; slices of seasoned steak with a watercress salad and a pile of salty hand-cut fries. John also loved his entrée of Provencal fish stew with a saffron-fennel broth.
After dinner, we capped off our evening with a stroll around town and an after dinner cocktail at the Atlantic Café and headed back to our room.
We really wanted to see more of the island before heading home, so we were up, packed and out of the room early. A quick phone call to Nantucket Island Rent-A-Car and we were able to swap our car for a Jeep with an over-sand beach sticker. We grabbed some sandwiches and molasses cookies from H2O To Go, a hole-in-the-wall owned by the neighboring restaurant, Water Street. The extravagant sandwiches on homemade baguette were a perfect way to end our epicurean weekend.
We had just enough time to 4-wheel out to Great Point Light and enjoy lunch, turn in the Jeep and catch our afternoon ferry. One of the best things about traveling to an island is that even the ride home is an adventure…the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.Back to Cape Cod Travel Guide Stories