The Faraway Island: Nantucket
In 1996, I was a TV News Producer living in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and had recently connected with a long-lost love of mine. Greg lived in California. Whenever he came to visit, I wanted it to be special and I wanted to create memories that would last a lifetime. Together, we fell in love with Nantucket.
This island, 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, is the kind of place that hardly exists anymore in the United States. There are no chain stores, restaurants or hotels. People still come to sit at a pharmacy counter to order hot dogs, ice cream and coffee. They have parades down ‘Main Street’ – which is paved with cobblestones.
The locals love their history, their values and family. From 1750-1775, Nantucket was the world’s leading whaling port. This continued for just about a hundred years. Between July of 1842 and July of 1845, more than 44,000 vessels passed through Nantucket Sound. Then, in July of 1846, nearly the entire downtown was wiped out when a fire swept through. Wooden wharves, rope walks, cooperages, and storage houses, all soaked with oil, and caked with pitch and grease, fed the inferno. With a declining whale industry and a town destroyed, in 1849, residents started leaving to follow the Goldrush to California. It wasn’t until a hundred years later, the residents realized the value of their history and the tourism industry. Nowadays, Nantucket’s year-round population is about 15-20,000 – that number swells to over 100,000 in the summer.
A couple years after that first ‘kiss’ photo by Brant Point Light – We got married at one of the only structures that survived the Great Fire, The Jared Coffin House, just up from the main wharf. We, like everyone, have lived a full, and sometimes challenging, life in the last 20 years, including a few moves, and changes in careers too. But we are still together and still love ‘The Faraway Island.’
This Christmas season we wanted to introduce ‘our island’ to our son, who is now nearly 14. There is absolutely so much magic here. We live in California now; recently moved (back) from Seattle. I am a yoga teacher and as a family ,we explored every crack of this special place over just a couple days. May this little island in the sea always preserve its pureness, its rawness, and its beauty. We can’t wait to return!