The little 8 person plane from Cape Air flies me from Boston to Nantucket. It is a short 45 minute flight. Before I know it, I am in a taxi on my way to our hotel. Excited I point out The Club Car, The Juice Bar, Steamboat Pizza and moments later Pearl. The driver asks me if I visit often and I tell him “it is my first time actually.” He looks confused. He doesn’t know that I only know Nantucket from years of reading Elin Hilderbrand’s books. And so I step into the world of “the Blue Bistro”, a weekend exploring this wonderful, culinary beach town, 3 delicious days Nantucket.
Oyster and lobster
I arrive late, as I missed my original connection in Boston. So after dropping my bag, we head straight for Cru, where we have reservations for our first night. Cru is right in the harbor. We start with a glass of pink champagne to toast my birthday, while browsing the menu. We decide to start with local oysters. And because I am on the East Coast, in the land of the lobster roll, I have no other choice for my main course, I have dreamt about it for weeks. The Pocomo local oysters are delicious and the lobster roll just the way I like it, on a hot dog bun, buttery and no mayo. The chef, Erin Zircher, like Fiona of the Blue Bistro, is a traditional French chef. I love good French food and at Cru the food is delicious. We are off to a good start.
Unspoiled Beaches and Waterfront Breakfast
The next morning we get up early for a walk on the beach. We start at the Brant Point Lighthouse and walk along the beach to Jetties and Steps beach. It is a beautiful morning and we admire the blue ocean, the unspoiled white beaches with the most amazing private houses. I love the Nantucket style of weathered, shingled grey houses with white trim. After we get back, we are hungry and decide on breakfast at the Brant Point Grill, in the White Elephant Hotel. We pick a table outside at the harbor front and watch the comings and goings in the harbor, while sipping a freshly squeezed orange juice. I can’t resist the Lobster Eggs benedict with caviar. And oh my god is that good. I don’t think I will ever have a benedict that can top this.
Sunset at the Wauwinet
That evening, we have booked a table at Topper’s in the The Wauwinet, a sister hotel of the White Elephant. The Wauwinet is located at the opposite side of the Nantucket’s sound and the Wauwinet Lady conveniently takes us there from The White Elephant boat dock. The boat ride takes about 50 minutes and after a pleasant and warm ride, we arrive and are seated outside. We decide to share a number of appetizers and order oysters (of course), Hamachi crudo, a smoked Bluefish pate (a real surprise), lobster and crab cakes and a tarte flambee. It is all delicious and goes well with a glass of French rose from Provence. We watch the sunset from the gardens of the Wauwinet, after which The Wauwinet Lady takes us back to The White Elephant under a beautiful full moon.
Martha’s Vineyard versus Nantucket
We take the high speed ferry from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard. The ferry only does one trip back and forth every day, so make sure to book early in the high season. We arrive in the busy harbor of Oak Bluffs and walk around. It has a different feel than Nantucket, bigger more touristy, less authentic. We walk along the coast to East Chop Lighthouse on Telegraph Hill. Because this is the highest bluff on Martha’s Vineyard, the views over the island and towards Cape Cod are stunning. We have lunch at Nancy’s Restaurant in the harbor of Oak Bluffs, before returning to Nantucket on the 3.50 ferry. The half lobster was delicious and so was the frozen lemonade on this hot day, but I am glad to be back on “our” island. We did not see much of Martha’s Vineyard, but I prefer the small town vibe of Nantucket.
Hurricane Henri’s Silver lining
On Saturday, we are warned that hurricane Henri could make it’s way to the island. On our return from the Vineyard, we hear that all ferries for the next day are canceled. There is a long line of people leaving the island on the last one out. We wake up on Sunday to a cloudy, somber but very empty Nantucket. Our guided walk of historic Nantucket is canceled. We buy rain coats as we won’t let a bit of rain and wind stop us, and we do our own. It rains…for about a minute, but we have a great time exploring the historic streets. It is nice Henri made a lot of people leave, it shows Nantucket in a different light. The storm never reaches us. We spend our afternoon at the Sandbar, sipping Summertime Frose and eating $1 oysters at happy hour with mostly locals and die-hards like us.
More Culinary delights
Nantucket has so many fantastic restaurants and unfortunately we can only try a couple. We have another great dinner at Queequegs, named after a character in the 1851 novel Moby Dick, of which parts take place in Nantucket. We share a Kale Ceasar Salad and I have the mussels, while Bina decides on the Portuguese Fish Stew. It is all…..delicious.
We both really wanted to go to Nautilus and I had tried to get reservations for weeks. We were on the waitlist for Sunday night. Unfortunately, despite the storm, they told us they were still booked. Some of the locals had highly recommended Lola 41 and every night walking by, the place was packed. The only way to get reservations, is to call on the day at 4 and keep trying until you get through. So at 4, I start calling. It takes me about 20 tries, before I finally get connected and…we have a table for 7.30. The food is Asian fusion. It turns out to be a wonderful last night: our waiter is great, the sake smooth and the food? Delicious again! We indulge in edamame, Cantonese pork pot stickers, king crab rangoon, shrimp tempura and Korean beef bulgogi over egg noodles.
The next morning, I grab a last lobster roll to go from Walters Deli, before the same taxi driver takes me back to the airport. It have truly enjoyed 3 delicious days on Nantucket. It was everything I expected and more. I will have to come back for more lobster and for dinner at Nautilus and Pearl and to give Martha’s Vineyard a second chance.