Travel Spotlight

What's New on Nantucket: Summer 2022

Off the southern coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Nantucket is a perennial favorite summer escape for Indagare members. And in the past year, the island has acted as a refuge more than ever before—city dwellers and remote workers have headed out in search of peace and serenity, making Nantucket their year-round home. One of the biggest updates of the summer: Day trippers and Nantucket regulars will now have the option to head to the island via Seastreak Ferries’ New Bedford to Nantucket route—likely to cause an increase in beachgoers. The island has a vibrant, positive energy this summer, with restaurants and events back to operating as normal. Read on for what to expect in Nantucket this year—if you’re lucky enough to get a hotel reservation.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a summer vacation on Nantucket—this year and beyond. Our team can match you with the luxury hotels, restaurants and experiences that are right for you (and more).

Where to Stay

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On our radar this season is Blue Iris, an intimate 12-key boutique hotel and sister property to Life House (which opened late summer 2020). The hotel is situated in the former Greek Revival vacation estate of a local art collector, and the design elements pay homage to her love for small gatherings, the seaside, Portuguese art and Mediterranean design. Guest rooms were thoughtfully composed with coastal color palettes, patterned textiles and antique wood details that illustrate Nantucket’s relaxed island beauty with a Mediterranean-inspired feel.

There are two hotels offering exciting new options this summer—standalone three-bedroom rentals that will provide the perks of hotel service with the privacy and feeling of your own home. This June, Faraway Nantucket opened The Federal Suitea getaway for families that includes two spacious living spaces, a well-designed kitchen and the same luxury service that is provided by Faraway Nantucket. A short walk away from the main hotel, guests will be able to visit the on-site restaurant, Sister Ship, that opened last season. Indagare adored Greydon House is launching 52 Union in the heart of Nantucket’s historic downtown, just steps from the beach. Designed by Boston-based Lianne Leventhal, the mid-century-style property will have an open plan living room (ideal for family get togethers), a fully furnished backyard and a luxurious kitchen with gorgeous Harbor views. Guests of 52 Union will have access to the same luxury service that Greydon House is known for during their stay.

Pop-ups seem to be the talk of the season, with three notable mentions: In more Greydon House news, the property debuted the Blue & White Room with John Robshaw Textiles that will be available to book through the fall—hand-painted Portuguese tile murals of the sea and wood paneling that evokes the interior of a ship. Family-owned The Nantucket Hotel will be offering a Beach Read Suite inspired by the island’s most iconic novelist, Elin Hildebrand, whose newest novel The Hotel Nantucket is based loosely on the property. The suite will be filled with Hildebrand’s books, supplied by the local bookshop Mitchell’s Book Corner. And making its debut on the island this summer with a 12-week pop-up hotel in the former Brant Point Inn B&B is Salt House Nantucket. Rooms are a crisp white with lightwood accents and are walking distance to Children's Beach. A more robust renovation is planned for summer 2023, which will include a 28-bedroom luxury hotel and a pool.

Of course, our existing favorites are still around, too. White Elephant Nantucket is still the best spot for a waterfront location in town—and one of the only hotels on the island with a full-service resort vibe, including a pool. Out of town, framed by both the Atlantic and Nantucket Bay, The Wauwinet offers a dreamy waterfront setting from its manicured back lawn. It’s the ideal spot for outdoorsy types (no children allowed) who are on the island for its natural beauty, as opposed to its shopping and dining, which are about a 20-minute drive away.

Related: East Coast Vacations: Easy Summer Escapes from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend

Where to Eat & Drink

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“For such a small island, there are so many dining options,” says Indagare’s Lindsay Battey, who has spent summers on Nantucket since 2014. “It’s kind of incredible.” And since last season, there are a few new spots, as well as renovations of classic favorites, to check out.

On our radar is Sister Ship, a restaurant, cafe and relaxed cocktail club that opened within Faraway Nantucket last May. The restaurant’s fresh design brings a youthful glow to Nantucket’s historic downtown, and the locally sourced, seafood-forward menu includes innovative Mediterranean dishes (like halibut cataplana and steak kibbeh nayeh). Joining Nantucket’s fast-casual scene with a grand opening on South Water Street June 30 is NanTaco. The hole-in-the-wall taqueria will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving up tasty, hand-made tacos at affordable prices. And for our coffee drinkers, Stoke ACK opened their own coffee bar—so you can drink an iced latte while you shop for this season’s surf gear.

Nantucket’s newest neighborhood grocery store, Pip & Anchor, opened its doors June 15 and sells all things locally sourced—produce from local growers, pottery, soap, spices and more—with the goal of making your weekly shopping routine an easy way to support the local economy and contribute to a lighter environmental footprint.

Formerly on Center Street, the buzzy and popular Lemon Press has moved to a larger space on Main Street where they serve up organic and local fare, coffee and craft cocktails created with their own cold-pressed juices. And one of Nantucket’s favorite dive bars has come back to life this season (after being closed since last summer) with a renovation and new management. Despite the updates, Brotherhood of Thieves is the same spot Nantucketers know and love—a great place to enjoy a cold beer and live music—and this summer marks the dive’s 50th anniversary on the island. Changes to the interior—led by Natasha Willauer Harmen—have helped to articulate the bar’s four separate spaces (without losing the dive’s heart): the downstairs 1840's whaling pub now with added banquets and additional seating; the traditional beer garden, Brotherhood's; The Notch Bar upstairs with its extensive list of whiskey and spirits; and Cisco Kitchen and Bar, a new addition to the upstairs with surf-shack vibes, which will be opening at the end of June.

For more information on our recurring Nantucket favorites and how to navigate the island's dining scene, read our Nantucket Restaurants 101 article.

Where to Shop

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Shops and art galleries are back in full force on Nantucket this season. Like the restaurant scene, there are a few additions on our radar:

Eleish Van Breems Home, owned by bestselling authors of three Scandinavian interior design books (including Reflections on Swedish Interiors) Rhonda Eleish and Edie Van Breem, has made its way to Nantucket. The store celebrates Scandinavian style and craftsmanship while embracing Nantucket’s sense of ease and harmony. Other exciting openings include Cartolina Nantucket, a women-owned, operated and designed clothing brand by Margaret Anne Nolen and Zoë Rosenberg, whose designs are inspired by a love of travel and a goal of investing in today’s women and the next generation—10 percent of all Cartolina Nantucket proceeds support women’s healthcare and education. Nomad opened in recent years on Centre Street and will be open for business this summer—selling a curated collection of beautiful fabrics, European clothing and products procured from around the globe.

What to Do

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This summer’s events and exhibits are as clear an indication as any that Nantucket is back to normal. First-time visitors and ACK regulars will have many options to choose from, with old favorites back on for the season and new experiences to look forward to.

The Nantucket Historical Association is hosting two exhibits at the Nantucket Whaling Museum—a portraiture exhibition called “Island People,” which showcases a wide range of Nantucketers who shaped the island’s history and “Asian Treasures from the Billings Collection,” a collection of Asian artifacts, many of which have never been displayed publicly before, from Nantucketers David and Beverly Billings. Make sure to check out the museum’s rooftop area with great views over the town. The Historical Association is also holding a Mishoon Harbor Launch Event where Darius Coombs, a member from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, will launch a traditionally hand-carved canoe. The event will take place August 10 at Children’s Beach and is open to the public. And in partnership with the Museum of the American Revolution, the Nantucket Historical Association’s Old Mill will hold a two-day program, July 13 to 14, where they will set up the First Oval Office Project—an immersive, full-scale replica of a Revolutionary War encampment.

We are happy to share that after being closed last summer, the Museum of African American History has opened its doors for the new season. The museum is home to the African Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark and a reminder of a thriving 19th-century Black community on Nantucket. Also available for viewing is the Seneca Boston-Florence Higginbotham House—a historic piece of Nantucket whose rooms housed African American families for over 200 years.

For fun on the water, consider doing a fishing charter with Absolute Sport Fishing—catch striped bass, bluefish, tuna and cod from Absolute’s 40-foot sport fishing boat (which can hold up to 28 people). “The captain and his team were awesome,” says Indagare’s Lindsay Battey, “they really tee you up to catch a ton of fish and make it super easy and fun.” No experience is required, and the sunset views from the water can’t be beat.

Nantucket by Design, the Historical Association’s premier summer fundraiser, is being held August 3 to 6 with this year’s theme a “celebration of home.” Tickets may be purchased online and include exciting events—cocktail parties, keynote and panel discussions, special preview access to the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show and more.

In case you missed it, Nantucket resurrected its Plein Air (or outdoor) Painting Festival this June (the festival took place June 14-20, 2022). Painters inspired by the island’s natural beauty gave observers and Nantucketers a reminder that despite all the changes and new developments, the island remains a place of peace and serenity.

And this year, Dreamland movie theater is continuing its drive-in screenings, which started in 2020. “It’s a fun family activity that was one positive that came out of Covid,” says Lindsay. Expect this season’s nightly showings to include family-friendly films like The Wizard of Oz, Shrek, Mamma Mia and The Goonies.

Related: What's New in the Hamptons: Summer 2022

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a summer vacation on Nantucket—this year and beyond. Our team can match you with the luxury hotels, restaurants and experiences that are right for you (and more).

Published onJune 23, 2022

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