Just back from some R&R on my favorite island, Nantucket. I’ve been going since I was a kid. The first time, I think, my mom took me, when I was about 6. My older brother was in North Dakota for the summer, living with family friends who own a ranch. I think Mom was trying to make me feel better about the sadness and jealousy I felt because the brother I idolized wouldn’t be with me all summer, and worse, he’d be having fun. I didn’t really have that little girl thing of wanting horses–it hit me later when my little sister got horses (again, jealousy?).
Anyway, Mom and I went to Nantucket and stayed at the long-gone Bayberry Inn. Just us gals. We went to the Whaling Museum and rode bikes out to ‘Sconset. We saw a silent movie. I got an epic sunburn at Children’s Beach near Brandt Point and we dined at the Jared Coffin House. I returned many times later, and Nantucket became a regular spot for us to sail to–I think I knew the harbor better than I knew the interior.
Now, decades later, it’s a cherished place where I have friends who are part of my very being. It’s also a gorgeous place to relax and have fun.
Friends who have businesses there are having a slightly bumpy season with the economy’s being unsettled, but it seems that Straight Wharf and Centre and Water streets are filled with people who really want to be on island because they love it, and not for “social climbing” reasons. A restaurateur I know said, “We’re having a pretty good season, nothing like years past. But no one is inches from my face on a busy Saturday night when we have no tables, seething, and saying through gritted teeth, ‘Do you know who I am?’ Maybe we won’t be able to take a vacation ourselves this winter, but I’ll live longer.”
Thanks to my gracious and generous hosts, Cary and Dominick, and the good company of Steve, Cindy, and Kristen, I had a terrific time. I brought my bike and rode around swiping beach-rose petals (for rose-petal jam) and taking photos. I ran into a gaggle of guinea hens. I thought they were turkeys at first, but sure enough, guinea hens. I had lunch with Hurricane Mel and Aunt Sandy at the Galley (54 Jefferson Ave., 508-228-9641) — smack dab on the beach looking out on Nantucket Sound. Drinks and fried calamari at the RopeWalk on the dock at Straight Wharf. Walked Tupancy Links with the ever-so-silly Irish terrier Brody. Ran into Leah and Sarah on Orange Street. (I didn’t even know they knew each other.) A sunset cruise on the Endeavor and warm buttered lobster rolls at York Street House. Some sunbathing.
Had a lethal mai tai at Sarah and Jack’s (my new best friends–they may not know it yet, so let me tell them first) in Madaket. And a trifecta of good meals from the three restaurants run by my pals Seth and Angela Raynor: The Pearl, Boardinghouse, and their latest, Corazon del Mar.All were crazy delicious, but the ceviche bar at Corazon was absurdly delicious: bracing, satisfying, authentic, and addictive. Por ejemplo, the lobster ceviche: a crisp corn tortilla topped with avocado, shaved red onion, aji Amarillo (roasted Peruvian pepper, slightly sweet and spicy), and marinated lobster meat. Get thee to the ferry boat!
When on island (and sometimes on mainland), we enjoy a special summer drink named for its creator, the “Cindy Joyce.” It’s almost as refreshing as she is.
1 part Triple 8 blueberry vodka
3 parts Paul Newman lemonade
tall glass, ice filled
garnish with lemons, blueberries, and fresh mint
Cindy insists on using Triple 8, which is made on Nantucket and Paul Newman lemonade–we’ve tried others and it’s good, but no “Cindy Joyce!” Oh and if you’re lucky enough, a “Cindy Joyce” with Cindy Joyce is one of life’s greatest treats.