This old whaling island off the coast of Cape Cod is where you go if you want time to slow down—but not necessarily stop altogether. A day can be as mellow or as active as you wish: Pick a beach to lie out on or pick up a SUP; wander aimlessly through the immaculate little streets on a self-guided architecture tour or wander into the Nantucket Historical Association to learn a thing or two. With eighty-two miles of coastline to wade through, countless secret beach dunes to climb, three authentic New England lighthouses to gawk at, and one goop MRKT to work your way through, there’s no risk of getting bored. For a home base, choices are limited (the island is small), but the ones that exist—like the White Elephant (a landmark property right in the center of the harbor), Greydon House (designed by Roman and Williams) and a sprinkling of idyllic bed-and-breakfasts—are all perfect in their own uniquely Nantucket ways.
50 Easton St., Nantucket
This historic landmark hotel sits on a sprawling expanse right on the Nantucket harbor. Each of the plush rooms, suites, and cottages are light and airy with elegant beachy touches. Most have a fireplace, which makes them nicely cozy for off-season stays. You can sunbathe on the lawn, or head to a nearby beach (they’ll provide the beach chairs, towels, and kids toys should you need them), or better yet, hire a Barton & Gray yacht from the hotel’s dock. The hotel is known for Brant Point Grill (the seafood is excellent), along with its spa, but if you want to get out and go to town, they provide a car service. Bring your kids! This is a family oriented hotel that provides babysitting service referrals, DVDs for little ones, a kids menu at the restaurant, and an “adventure guide” and beach toys at check-in.
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