At the Heart of the Sea: Exploring Nantucket by Yacht

At the Heart of the Sea: Exploring Nantucket by Yacht

Boating is at the heart of Nantucket, an island with a past and a present that is intrinsically tied to the sea. From the late 18th to early 19th centuries, this crescent-shaped piece of land, located some 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, was the whaling capital of the world.

Today, those whaling ships are long gone, and in their place you’ll find megayachts and sailboats floating offshore. And just like the sea captains of yesteryear, modern-day sailors know that some of Nantucket’s most amazing treasures are discovered via the water.

For visitors who fly into ACK with Tradewind Aviation, a number of companies make it possible to get out on the ocean—including ACK Sunset Sails, which runs sunset sailing trips, or Captain James Genthner, who offers daily cruises and private charters on the Endeavor, a reproduction of an early 1900’s single-masted sloop. Island Boat Rental has powerboats ranging from 15 to 20 feet that you can take out for the day and captain yourself. There’s even a vintage 1953 Hinckley that you can rent by the night through AirBnb. And if you really want to get serious about yachting, you can apply to be a member of the prestigious Nantucket Yacht Club or Barton & Gray, which gives members access to gorgeous wooden Hinckleys.

When you’re ready to set sail, chart your course to the best boating destinations around the island. Here are our 10 favorites.

Jetties Beach

Photo credit: Jetties Beach Restaurant

Jetties is one of the more popular beaches on Nantucket — and it’s no wonder, with its placid waters that are ideal for kids. If you want to grab a bite, head to the small beach restaurant on the boardwalk, which serves up killer lobster rolls. Every summer, the Boston Pops performs here and boaters get a front-row view.

Coatue

Photo credit: Flickr via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Photo credit: Flickr via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Set right beyond the main harbor, this barrier beach on a narrow strip of land feels worlds away. Anchor here overnight and watch the twinkling lights of Nantucket Town in the distance. The shell hunting can’t be beat.

Great Point

This remote spit of sand at the extreme northeastern coast of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge has miles of sand for exploring and an iconic lighthouse. This is where serious anglers come to fish for striped bass and bluefish.

Dionis Beach

Photo credit: Yelp

Photo credit: Yelp

Lined with high dunes and wildflower-dotted sea grass, Dionis is the kind of picture-perfect white-sand beach that makes its way onto postcards. Anchor offshore and dive into the warm waters of Nantucket Sound.

CRU Oyster Bar

Photo credit CRU Oyster Bar

Photo credit CRU Oyster Bar

This dockside restaurant in Nantucket’s main harbor is a hit with landlubbers and boaters alike. Tie up your yacht on a slip right out front and stop in for a glass of Rosé and a plate of fresh-shucked oysters that are infused with New England’s briny terroir.

Polpis Harbor

This tranquil harbor is a protected spot where you can anchor for the day and spy on the multimillion-dollar mansions that overlook the water. This is the place for some of the best sunsets on the island.

Madaket

Photo credit: Flickr via James Behnke

Photo credit: Flickr via James Behnke

On the westernmost tip of Nantucket, Madaket is where Fred Rogers (a.k.a. Mr. Rogers) used to spend the summer. There’s a tiny village and great crabbing in the surrounding creeks. Boaters also come here to spend time on the breathtaking beach, wade in the tidal flats, and kayak along the shore.

Tuckernuck Island

Just off the west coast of Nantucket, Tuckernuck is a place that people rarely see. Most of the island is privately owned by a handful of summer residents, and it doesn’t even have paved roads. But for experienced boaters who are able to navigate its ever-changing shoals, Tuckernuck is nirvana, with its empty beaches and rare birds and animals that call the island home.

Muskeget Island

Beyond Tuckernuck is Muskeget Island, an uninhabited dot of land with marshes and windswept dunes. It’s inaccessible to most boaters because of its dangerous shoals and sandbars, but it’s a great place to bob offshore and watch the gray seals that breed here or fish for yellowfin tuna.

Cuttyhunk Island

This island is a quite a bit further afield, but worth the journey from Nantucket. Back in the day, Teddy Roosevelt used to fish here for striped bass, and it hasn’t changed much. With its old fishing village, two-room schoolhouse, and general store, Cuttyhunk feels like a place from another era.

*Featured image courtesy of Flickr via Bob P. B.

St. Barth Gourmet Festival: An Appetizer

St. Barth Gourmet Festival: An Appetizer

Culinary festivals are a dime-a-dozen today, but there are three key reasons why the third edition of the St. Barth Gourmet Festival (Nov. 3-6) should be on your list.

First of all, it’s still under-the-radar—despite the top culinary talent participating—according to the hotel general managers I recently interviewed. It hasn’t been heavily promoted, so you’re getting in on the ground floor of an event that looks like a thoroughbred.   

Second, it's not exactly a taste of St. Barth. It's a taste of France and St. Barth (a French overseas collectivity), as most of the participating restaurants invite a French chef to come as a headliner. In some restaurants, the chef takes over the kitchen; in others there's a collaboration. But the bottom line is this: during the festival, you have a chance to taste very sophisticated cooking from France without having to cross the pond.

The Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France, for instance, will have Arnaud Donckele—the youngest chef ever to get three Michelin stars—in the kitchen. He comes from the restaurant La Vague d'Or at Isle de France's sister property in St. Tropez, La Résidence de la Pinède. At Le Sereno, Alex Simone—who oversees two Michelin-star restaurants in London and created the Sereno menu—will be cooking alongside Jérôme Banctel, chef at the two-Michelin-star La Réserve.  At the Hotel Christopher, in a dining room with a fabulous sunset view, Sylvestre Wahid—the toque at the two-star Sylvestre at the Hotel Thoumieux in Paris—will be setting the menu. The various restaurants also offer ancillary events such as wine tastings and cooking classes.

Finally—and this is not a small consideration—the Festival takes place during the shoulder season, so hotel rates are much lower (sometimes by 50%) than they are after December 15.

Here is a list of the participating restaurants and the guest chef at each one:

On the Rocks, Eden Rock Hotel: Chef Virginie Basselot
La Plage, Tom Beach Hotel: Chef Gilles Marchal
Case de l'Isle, Cheval Blanc St Barth Isle de France: Chef Arnaud Donckele
Aux Amis, Le Barthélemy: Chef Guy Martin
Taïno, the Hotel Christopher: Chef Sylvestre Wahid
Bartolomeo, Le Guanahani: Chef Fabien Lefebvre
Restaurant Le Sereno, Le Sereno: Chef Jérôme Banctel
Taïwana: Chef Christophe Saintagne

To reserve your seat at the table, we recommend booking through one of the participating hotels or restaurants. All additional events are open to the public (though reservations are still recommended), except for the invite-only opening night.  

Caribbean Events: A Guide to Fall and Winter 2016

Caribbean Events: A Guide to Fall and Winter 2016

As the cooler days of fall approach, we look to the Caribbean for an inspired getaway. The islands come alive with a myriad of vibrant cultural festivals, offering the perfect excuse to extend your summer while experiencing the region from an entirely new perspective. 

Here are a few of the upcoming regattas, festivals, and must-see events we’re most excited about this season.

Columbus Day Regatta

October 10 – 11 | St. Thomas

The atmosphere at the start of a boat race in the Caribbean is unlike any other. Locals and visitors come out to support their favorite crafts, either standing on shore or celebrating on their own boats, and there is a noticeable energy in the air. A favorite race weekend in St. Thomas is the Columbus Day Regatta, a gathering in Cowpet Bay that draws competitors from around the world. There are all types of races from dinghy to big boat racing each day, and throughout the weekend, the island is alive with related celebrations.

Latin Festival

End of October | Nevis 

A week-long festival of fiery dance competitions, live music, Latin and Caribbean flavors, and cultural expression is coming to Nevis this October. The Latin Festival first began in an effort to create an interchange of cultures between people of different nationalities, and today it stays true to that mission with festivities inspired by and performed by people from Caribbean and Latin American countries. Visitors can expect dance and art workshops, a Latin Caribbean movie presentation, fireworks show, and more. The festival’s exact dates will be released soon. 

Antigua & Barbuda Independence Week

October 23 – November 1 | Antigua

Independence celebrations in the Caribbean always present a wonderful opportunity to experience the culture of the islands through community parades, local food fairs, and music. During the 35th annual Antigua & Barbuda Independence Week, the celebration will see the island decked in yellow and red—the national colors—with everything from car racing to fashion shows happening throughout the week. Be sure to observe some of the historic events such as National Dress Day amidst the lively festivities.

St. Barth Gourmet Festival 

November 3 – 6 | St. Barth

Held each fall on the food-centric island of St. Barth, the St. Barth Gourmet Festival is an international food festival that attracts world-renowned chefs, including patron chef Christian Le Squer of the Four Seasons Georges V Hotel in Paris, for four days of professional competitions and dining events. Some of the island’s best chefs join the guest chefs in a celebration of gourmet French cuisine. There will be special menus with wine pairings, a mixology competition for barmen, and local restaurants offering delectable French dishes. The event is one of the Caribbean’s most popular annual showcases, so make your reservations now.

Livin in the Sun Music Festival

November 11 – 13 | Anguilla

Photo: Sandy Island

Visitors who enjoy the eclectic, lively music of the Caribbean will want to attend the Livin In the Sun Music Festival in Anguilla this fall. The three-day fest invites DJs from all over the world along with local talent for a celebration of island life and living carefree in the sun. There’s just enough time to rest in between the full lineup of events, with daytime happenings taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sandy Island and after dark events taking place from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. in various local hotspots.

Jolly Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta

November 20 – 22 (2015 dates) | Antigua

Beginners and experienced boaters alike will enjoy the Jolly Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta, a fast-paced weekend of racing and local entertainment that draws hundreds of visitors to the island of Antigua each year. Take to the seas, even if you are a novice racer, or choose to spectate from shore. There will be an array of live music performances and celebrations across the island following the races on Saturday and Sunday as well as an awards ceremony at the end of the regatta.

St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival

End of December | St. Kitts and Nevis

The majority of Carnival celebrations take place during spring, but fall visitors to the Caribbean will want to attend the St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival, which blends the spirit of Christmas with the vibrant display of Caribbean culture and African heritage. Soca music plays throughout the cities, the J’ouvert parade draws musicians and revelers to dance in the streets, and traditional folklore groups like the Clowns and Masquerades perform as they have for generations. It’s a rich celebration of history, the arts, food, and recreational pursuits that culminates on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve in St. Barth

December 31 | St. Barth

Photo: La Plage

Photo: La Plage

Perhaps the most glamorous destination in the Caribbean, St. Barth is the place for celebrities, fashion icons, and spirited revelers to enjoy New Year’s Eve. Some of the most expensive yachts in the world gather near Gustavia Harbor in the week preceding the holiday, and many host exclusive New Year’s Eve parties on the water. St. Barth hotspots like La Plage and Le Ti St Barth are the clubs to be at on the island, and sometimes there are even pop-up clubs just for the dazzling affair. A spectacular fireworks display over Gustavia Harbor will bring in the new year.

New Year’s Eve in San Juan

December 31 | Puerto Rico

Another Caribbean destination for New Year’s Eve is the vivacious city of San Juan. Here the most magnificent parties take place in luxury hotels such as the Caribe Hilton Hotel and The Sheraton Hotel and Casino, as well as in chic beach bars with oceanfront rooftops. The hotels hold annual events such as The Sheraton’s Illusions that bring the region’s most talented DJs to the stage and special appearances by internationally known artists. Locals and visitors alike attend the spirited festivities that go well into New Year’s Day.

Runway Ready

Runway Ready

With New York Fashion Week on the horizon—set for September 8 – 15 in exclusive locations throughout the city—fashion is on the mind of every traveler flying Tradewind into New York from Boston, Stowe, Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard.

We’ve gone runway to runway to bring you a jetsetter’s seasonal style guide for fall 2016, including unprecedented styles and refreshed classics from top-tier designers like Vera Wang and Marchesa.  

Statement Furs 

As the centerpiece of an ensemble or as an elegant accent, fur is a focal point of designer collections this season. The luxe favorite is appearing in statement jackets and semi-structured stoles like this lovely piece from Prabal Gurung, and it’s the perfect adornment for cooler temperatures.

Pantsuits

Women’s pantsuits have never truly gone out of style, but this season’s inspiring designs breathe new life into the smart set. Designers like Altuzarra are pairing the suits with more casual footwear for a tailored but dressed down day look, and the pinstripe trend is taking over the runway. 

Bohemian Chic

Printed maxis continue to be a highlight in womenswear, but this year’s collections are more elegant than ever before with versatile looks that can be worn in the evening or with booties during the day. Consider pieces like this Altuzarra gown the luxury equivalent of laidback Coachella style.

Jumpers

Cut slim or layered with chunky fall knits, today’s jumpers are not the childlike garments you might be imagining. Designers like Jason Wu are embracing jumpers over dresses this season, and the tailored pieces are appearing in a variety of styles from classic plaid to elegant cut-outs.

Leather Coats

For several years, short leather jackets have been making their way into every urban chic closet, but this season the trend is leather trench coats from skilled designers like Chloé. Leather outerwear can be found in an array of street-ready styles, including the glossy coats that were a favorite at New York Fashion Week in February.

Chokers

Chokers are no longer reserved for ‘90s grunge style. Fall’s statement neckpieces come in elegant designs from the likes of talented designers like Jonathan Simkhai and can be worn with any attire from pantsuits to blouses and full skirts. And when it comes to choker style, wider is better this season.

Rosy Pink 

The classic fall palette has an unexpected addition this fall. From delicate pinks to deeper shades of blush, designers like Tibi are incorporating rose into their designs. Don a rose cocktail dress, jacket, or pantsuit to combat the season’s standard earthy tones.

Velvet

Luxe fabrics are elevating every outfit this fall with velvet blazers, cocktail dresses, and slacks transitioning from the runway to the streets. Many designers have adopted the Renaissance style with bell sleeves and corset-inspired gowns, while others like Vanessa Seward have created velvet sets fit for any occasion.

Anatomy of a Plane: The Citation CJ3

Anatomy of a Plane: The Citation CJ3

Eric Zipkin, President of Tradewind Aviation, has previously described the company's Pilatus PC-12 as "the Swiss Army Knife of airplanes." It’s a nod to the plane’s versatility: high climb and cruise speed, slow approach speed, short-field landing capability, and sheer durability. The plane was designed to operate in very hostile environments (Alaska's North Slope and Southern Africa's desert landing strips).

Adam Schaefer, Tradewind's Director of Operations, has just as pithy a description of Tradewind's other mainstay plane, the jet-engine, 7-passenger Citation CJ3: "Small jet package, big jet capability."

"The big thing for people to understand," he adds, "is that this plane has the same capabilities as a big airliner."

Tradewind uses the CJ3 on trips longer than 500 miles because at that distance, the plane's higher cruising speed (470 mph) allows for a faster flight and more passenger comfort. "The beauty of the CJ3 is going from New York to Florida non-stop at 45,000 feet," Schaefer says. That trip (roughly 1,000 miles) takes 2.5 hours, about the same as a B757 and 2 hours faster than the PC-12.

"The cabin is also very comfortable," says Schaefer. "All of our planes have leather executive seats, but the CJ3’s are a little bigger and a little comfier. They lay a little flatter, and the plane’s a little quieter.” 

The biggest anxiety people usually have about small aircraft is how they handle in less than ideal weather. Here the CJ3's top cruising altitude—45,000 feet—comes into play, allowing it to fly above the weather. "We often look down on a line of thunderstorms," says Schaefer. The plane is also equipped with a satellite weather system (just like a B757), so the pilots can react to weather systems miles ahead, as well as onboard weather radar so they can respond to weather dead ahead.  

"For us to go 25 miles out of our way to avoid weather only adds 4 minutes to the flight time," says Schaefer.

That other bête noire of passengers—turbulence—can be handled in a variety of ways. Schaefer says the first option is just slowing down, which is easy given the CJ3's range of cruising speeds. If the turbulence is going to persist, the pilots can look for smoother air above or below. On takeoff, the CJ3's fast climb-rate means that turbulence encountered is quickly left behind.

The CJ3 was also designed with safety uppermost. The plane can fly on one engine. In fact, if an engine fails on takeoff, says Schaefer, the CJ3 can climb faster than it does on two, allowing the pilots to position it quickly for a return to the airport. 

Furthermore, the CJ3's collision-avoidance system is nearly identical to those on large commercial jets. It doesn't just register dangerous proximity of another aircraft, but instructs the pilot to climb or descend to avoid collision.

The CJ3 cockpit is "dark"—pilot parlance for a flight-display system that doesn't require constant monitoring. "A flashing light means that's something you have to pay attention to," says Schaefer. This design minimizes distraction, giving pilots what's known as "more eyes-up time at the controls." Translation: Looking out the cockpit window and paying attention to the yoke.  

Each pilot also has his own primary flight display. These flank a center display that contains other pertinent information (fuel flow, engine performance). Should one of the primary flight displays fail, the information there can be moved to the central display, a safety feature known as redundancy.

Although Tradewind uses the CJ3 for longer-distance trips such as New York to the Caribbean, the plane also has excellent short-field performance, meaning it can land on runways as short as 4,000 feet (such as South Carolina’s Hilton Head airport) whereas most aircraft this size require at least 5,000 feet. The short-field capability is due to the CJ3 wingspan—almost as long as the fuselage—which produces lots of lift and glide and allows the plane to land at a relatively low speed (120 knots). “This gives the CJ3 an additional measure of safety,” says Schaefer, "because the slower you’re going on landing, the less chance there is for an issue.” 

And unless the fog is down to the ground or the clouds at rooftop level, you are going to land. On final approach, says Schaefer, sounding like a proud father, "The CJ3 is equipped to bring you down to 200 feet one-quarter mile from the runway and then we take it from there."

 

A Honeymoon with Tradewind

A Honeymoon with Tradewind

The only thing better than the wedding of your dreams is the sweet escape for two that follows. And be it a place on the edge of the sea or in an alpine hideaway, Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttle flights or private charters in the Northeast and the Caribbean will ensure your first trip as newlyweds truly exceeds the ordinary.

Here are our recommendations for honeymoon accommodations, intimate date night venues, and romantic activities for two in some of our favorite destinations. 

Martha’s Vineyard

Photo Credit: Harbor View Hotel

Photo Credit: Harbor View Hotel

In New England, there are few places so well known for romantic shorelines and quaint coastal cottages as Martha’s Vineyard.  Spanning just 100 square miles off the coast of Massachusetts, the picturesque island offers charming waterside towns, miles of farmland, and an abundance of activity on the water from sailing to fishing.

Newlyweds will delight in the lovely ambiance of Edgartown, which is close to both beaches and harbor and offers luxury accommodations such as Winnetu Oceanside Resort and Harbor View Hotel. For French-inspired contemporary cuisine, spend a night out at L’Etoile, and for fine Italian fare and cocktails, visit Chesca’s Restaurant—both located in downtown Edgartown.

During the day, you will want to explore the island on foot, by bike, or perhaps on the wings of an open-air biplane. Classic Aviators offers flights for two from Katama Airfield, and the Vineyard from above is simply stunning.

Nantucket

Photo Credit: Wauwinet

Photo Credit: Wauwinet

History comes alive in downtown Nantucket, where cobblestoned streets are lined with flourishing elms and sycamores and homes built hundreds of years ago still abound. At the mouth of the harbor, Brant Point Light welcomes visitors to the island, and amidst the rolling hills you can discover the lush gardens of the First Congregational Church.

It’s the ideal place for a romantic New England getaway, especially when you stay in the historic Wauwinet, a sophisticated retreat known for its charming cottages and exceptional cuisine, or the classic White Elephant with its sprawling harbor-side lawn. Topper’s, located within the Wauwinet, offers gourmet New England fare, and Table No. 1 on Old South Wharf carries excellent wine and cheese perfect for a picnic on the beach.

When it comes time to explore Nantucket, go by bike. There are miles of paved paths around the island that make destinations like Siasconset on the Eastern coast easily accessible. We also recommend whale and seal watching on the Atlantic. 

Stowe

The scenery in Stowe is beautiful year-round, whether the mountains are blanketed in snow or vibrant green. Honeymooners will discover new experiences during each season, including skiing and horse-drawn sleigh rides in the wintertime and canoeing and zipline adventures in the warmer months.

Stowe Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in-ski-out hotel in town, so it’s the perfect option for couples who will be spending time on the slopes. We also like Edson Hill, a cozy mountain lodge near the center of town that has an intimate and historic atmosphere. For an elegant dinner, take a drive to Michael’s on the Hill where the farm-to-table fare is fresh and seasonal and dishes like the pan-seared trout make the restaurant a local favorite.

Photo Credit: Edson Hil

Photo Credit: Edson Hil

As for the outdoors, countless excursions will likely make it difficult to choose how to spend your getaway. We recommend hiking to Bingham Falls, a beautiful fluid waterfall in summer and a frozen sculpture in winter. It’s a great place for a photo to remember your time in Stowe. 

St. Barths

Photo Credit: Le Sereno

Photo Credit: Le Sereno

Those wishing for a luxury retreat will find their honeymoon destination in St. Barths. The most glamorous island in the Caribbean offers 14 beautiful beaches, a collection of stylish designer boutiques, and trendy cafés with delicious French and Creole cuisine.

Newlyweds who enjoy a lively atmosphere will like Eden Rock for elegant accommodations overlooking St. Jean Beach, while those in search of a luxurious but secluded escape should opt for the palatial Cheval Blanc near Flamands Beach. For an intimate retreat in a world-renowned kite surfing destination, choose the romantic Le Sereno or the pastel-hued Le Guanahani alongside the crystal clear waters of Grand Cul de Sac. We also enjoy Hotel Christopher, isolated on the beautiful northern coast, and Le Toiny after its recent multimillion-dollar renovation.

Photo Credit: Le Tamarin

Photo Credit: Le Tamarin

In the charming and historic capital of Gustavia, couples will find a delectable ceviche bar and inspired cuisine at Bonito. And across the island, Le Tamarin offers a lovely garden space for candlelit dinners and quiet conversation.

When you find yourself wishing to explore, Colombier Beach is a must-see on St. Barths. The hidden shoreline can be reached on foot or by boat from Gustavia, and it is here that honeymooners will discover bountiful coral reefs for snorkeling and incredible, color-drenched sunsets.

Anguilla

Photo Credit: Malliouhana

Photo Credit: Malliouhana

Pristine beaches and historic neighborhoods await on the quiet island of Anguilla. The Caribbean destination is well known as a haven for food enthusiasts with a rumored 100 restaurants offering local specialties such as fresh lobster, crayfish, and goat curry.

Luxury hotels like the Mediterranean-style Cap Juluca and the boutique Malliouhana, located on a bluff overlooking the ocean, offer private suites and terraces perfect for newlyweds. There is also the culinary-focused CuisinArt Resort and Spa with gourmet cooking classes and an 18-hole championship golf course.

Photo Credit: Pimms at Cap Juluca

Photo Credit: Pimms at Cap Juluca

As for dining, couples can experience an incredible variety of flavors including European and Caribbean fusion at Pimms, Moroccan specialties at Veya, and local fare like ginger teriyaki sea scallops just steps from the beach at da’Vida.

Adventurous couples who wish to explore the Caribbean Sea can snorkel or obtain diving certification from local experts like Shoal Bay Scuba Shack. There are seven marine parks located off the coast of Anguilla harboring beautiful rock formations, shipwrecks, and a vibrant array of marine life.

St. Thomas

Photo Credit: Katlo Charters

Photo Credit: Katlo Charters

A beautiful destination for sailing, St. Thomas provides a state of calm among magnificent beaches, tidal pools, and rolling green hills.

Many couples seek a honeymoon on the water, and sailing companies such as Katlo Charters and Caribbean Cruising Vacation will have an experienced captain meet you at the airport for your ocean retreat.

Those who prefer to experience St. Thomas on shore will enjoy the elegant suites and outstanding scenery at The Ritz-Carlton overlooking Great Bay on the Eastern Coast. There is also Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Hotel, a luxury oceanfront resort that pops with Caribbean designs, and the neighboring Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove, which resembles a classic island village.

For a night out, dine al fresco with sunset views at Sunset Grille, or venture into the hills to Old Stone Farmhouse, a restored plantation stable and fieldhouse with an intimate ambiance and entrées that you can hand-select from the kitchen.

While sailing is our first recommendation, even if just for a day, couples should also opt for a zipline adventure through the canopy, and at day’s end, hike to Drake’s Seat for a panoramic view of Magen’s Bay and the romantic Caribbean sunset.

How Safe Are Small Aircraft?

How Safe Are Small Aircraft?

Most of us of make certain assumptions about aircraft size, which usually come down to bigger (a widebody or even a B737) is better than smaller (a regional or commuter aircraft). It just seems reasonable to assume that a widebody is more resistant to being pushed around by weather, and that it has a deeper, more complicated suite of avionics—making it safer, especially in bad weather.

When it comes to the two aircraft in the Tradewind Aviation fleet—the Citation CJ3 (6-7 passengers) and the Pilatus PC12 (6-8 passengers)—however, it just ain't so.  

"There's nothing less safe about a smaller plane," says Adam Schaefer, Tradewind's Director of Operations and himself a pilot. (He flies both the Citation and Pilatus.)

This is primarily due to the avionics systems, the information displays, auto-pilot, and other automated cockpit elements that maximize pilot performance and safety.

For starters, both Tradewind models adhere to what's known as "the dark cockpit philosophy." That means that the instrument panel is designed to draw the pilot's attention only when needed. "There are no distracting lights," says Tradewind President Eric Zipkin, "unless something goes wrong." That frees the pilot from having to scan the instrument panel continually. "If there's a flashing light, it's something you have to pay attention to," says Schaefer. Such a design allows for what pilots call "more eyes-up time at the controls."

Paired with the dark cockpit is the built-in redundancy. On the CJ3, each pilot has their own flight display, which flank a center display with other information. If one of the pilot displays fails, that information can be moved to the central display without losing the information already there. Both planes also have collision-avoidance systems that meet international standards, meaning it doesn't just signal the dangerous proximity of another aircraft, but orders the pilot to climb or descend to avoid colliding with it.  

The Tradewind avionics systems are also about minimizing the effect of weather, especially turbulence—perhaps people's key anxiety about flying in smaller aircraft.

"Turbulence for a pilot is like driving on a gravel road," says Schaefer, meaning bumpy but no big deal. However, he acknowledges that passengers aren't nearly as blasé, so the first move a Tradewind pilot makes is to slow down to lessen the impact.  But the avionics in the PC-12 and CJ3 also allow the pilot to anticipate and avoid turbulence.

"The big thing to understand regarding weather is that we have the same capabilities as big airliners," says Schaefer. That includes satellite weather reception that allows PC-12 and CJ3 pilots to avoid strong winds (aka turbulence) and make plans to fly around storms farther along the route. There's also an on-board system that shows weather dead ahead to allow immediate course alternation—"for us to go 25 miles out of our way in the CJ3," says Schaefer, "adds only 4 minutes to the flying time"—or at least warn passengers that choppy air is coming up and to reassure them by revealing the expected duration.

Schaefer also points out that both planes, but especially the CJ3 with its maximum altitude of 46,000 feet, usually cruise above the weather. "We often see the line of thunderstorms way below us," he says. The Pilatus PC-12 has a ceiling of 30,000 feet, which means it can also fly over bad weather, but consider, too, that the plane was designed to fly in extreme environments (Arctic Canada, southern Africa) and weather that no Tradewind Aviation flight is going to experience. (Both planes also climb quickly, so on takeoff they pierce the bad-weather layer in a matter of minutes.)  

Of course, weather comes back into play upon landing, and here both the PC-12 and CJ3 have big-plane avionics. Schaefer cites the situation Tradewind pilots often encounter in summer when landing on Nantucket: Nothing but blue skies all the way from New York, though the island covered in a blanket of fog. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a trip back to New York. The advanced avionics will safely guide the plane down below the fog and in for landing.

 It’s all part of the advanced avionics capability making Tradewind’s flights just as safe as your typical experience on commercial airliners.

The Ten-Minute Rum Connoisseur

The Ten-Minute Rum Connoisseur

The Caribbean, one of Tradewind Aviation's two main markets, is the ground zero of rum production. More than 80% of all rum comes from here, although that's not always apparent on the label, as rum is often shipped to other countries to be bottled and branded.

Dave Russell, rum expert and master of the well-designed and written website The Rum Gallery, told me that calling the rum world "’the Wild West’ is a decent characterization," as rum is lightly regulated (except in one instance). That allows it to take so many forms that one sometimes thinks a sheriff is required.

Want proof? Just look at the island of Hispaniola. On the Dominican Republic side, rum is made in one style, on the Haitian side, in a completely different one.  The best response is "Vive la difference!"

In that spirit, here's a quick guide to the spirit, one that will give you the basics so that you can scan a rum list and make an informed choice.

What is rum?

A spirit, usually about 80 proof in the U.S., but sometimes stronger in the Caribbean. Rum is produced by fermenting sugarcane juice or a by-product of sugarcane production, usually molasses, and then distilling the resulting liquid.  To be called rum, the distillate must be aged at least one year in barrels, usually used bourbon or whiskey casks. It is sometimes infused with flavoring ingredients.

What does the name mean?

Good question. No solid answer. Etymologists offer up everything from the large drinking glasses used by Dutch seamen known as rummers, to the Romani word rum, meaning 'strong' or 'potent', and the last syllables in the Latin words for sugarcane, saccharum officinarum.

I love French wine and I understand the AOC system. Will that help me understand rum?

Not in the least. Except in two places, Martinique and Guadeloupe, where rum is labeled based on terroir. (See next question.) But otherwise getting an overview of rum is a bit like herding cats. "There's not an easy formula for it that's accurate," says Russell. You can look at it as anarchy or as opportunity.

"It's the most interesting spirit category because it can be made anywhere in the world," says St. John Frizell, proprietor of Sunken Harbor Club in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which has one of the city's top rum lists. (His favorite: English Harbor, which he says makes a great Old-Fashioned.)

What's the proper way to taste rum?

First, don't swirl it. (Like I just said, forget your wine training.) That just disperses the nose, according to Mark Theron, a rum importer based in Nevis. Instead, just tilt the glass slightly and sniff the top, letting the flavor notes come to you. Then take a sip.

I've seen bottles labeled 'Rhum.' What does that mean?

Very good question. Rhum indicates that the spirit came from Martinique or Guadeloupe. (You'll also see the term used on rums from other former French colonies, Haiti, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Tahiti, but forget about that for now.)  Martinique is unique in having the only AOC rules for rum in the world, which is why its rums are held in such esteem by many rum aficionados. If you go on YouTube, you will find the island's rum makers talking articulately about how the soil on one or the other side of Mt. Pelée affects the taste of the rum.

Okay, so outside of Martinique and Guadeloupe, how do I come to understand rum?

Dave Russell says that one should start by getting to know four basic styles.

Rhum Agricole: Rum from Martinique and Guadeloupe. It's made strictly from freshly pressed sugar cane that must be fermented within 24 hours, and it makes up only five per cent of the world's rum. "It's an acquired taste for most,” says Russell, who includes himself in that category. But he's a convert: see his review of Clement 70, a distillery revered by rum connoisseurs. Demoiselle XO from Martinique and Guadeloupe is, according Theron, "almost like a single malt." The two islands are great rum rivals—"the North and South of Rhum production," says Russell.

Light or Spanish Style: Rums from former Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Most are made from molasses. Countries vary in additives allowed; caramel is often used to color the rum and sugar sometimes added to brighten flavor. These rums are lighter in style because they're made in a column still, as opposed to a pot still, which produces a rum with bolder flavors.

English or Heavy Style: From former British colonies: Those from Barbados and Jamaica are representative.  Often made in a pot still. Mount Gay on Barbados claims to be the oldest rum house in the world and its XO (meaning extra old), a blend of 12-15-year-old rums, is a good example of the style.

Photo credit: Nigav Pressbilder via Flickr

Photo credit: Nigav Pressbilder via Flickr

Demarara Style: From Guyana and named for the country's only surviving distillery. Dark, sweet, intense—like English, but one better. El Dorado, a 15-year rum is a good example: viscous, walnut-y, and with a long finish. It's Frizell's favorite.

Rum labels often specify an age. What exactly does that mean?

Not what you think. Rums are often a blend of spirits of different ages. In the U.S., the age on the label refers to the age of the youngest rum in the blend.  In the French Caribbean, the word "vieux" on the label means all the rum in the bottle has been aged at least three years. But age doesn't play the same role with rum as it does with wine. One of Theron's favorite rums is Havana Club 7-Year-Old. "Age statements don't mean very much," says Russell.  "It can also refer to the oldest rum in the blend."

Is there the rum equivalent of a wine route?

Yes. Martinique has the Route du Rhum, which will take you to 11 distilleries. Hiring a driver advised. One of the most famous, Habitation Clement, once hosted a summit meeting between French President Francois Mitterand and U.S. President George Bush.

What are the top selling rums?

According to Theron, in 2014 the five top brands were in order: Bacardi White and Silver, Tandauy (Phillipines), McDowells (India), Havana Club #7 (from Cuba), Captain Morgan Spice Gold "thanks to every student in the world," says Theron.

Can rum improve my golf game?

Maybe. Here's what Chi Chi Rodriguez once said: “The first time I played the Masters, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of rum before I teed off. I shot the happiest 83 of my life.”

 

A Beach Hopper’s Guide to the Caribbean

A Beach Hopper’s Guide to the Caribbean

There are countless beaches to be found among the Caribbean’s iconic islands, each with a singular personality, splendor, and charm. Some of our favorite hidden shorelines harbor beautiful rock formations and coral reefs brimming with sea life, while ethereal white sands and crystal clear waters are an ever-present throughout the islands.

It’s the ideal setup for beach hopping, and with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled Caribbean flights, you can hop in private charter style for the price of a single seat. Having visited our fair share of the Caribbean (and our fair share of beaches), we’ve put together a guide for visiting thirteen of the islands’ best shorelines along with local recommendations. And better yet, most of them are just an hour’s flight away from one another.

Your first destination? Antigua.

Jolly Beach, Antigua

On an island that claims to have 365 beaches (one for each day of the year), it may be difficult to choose which coast you will visit first. Rent a car or taxi down the west coast to Jolly Beach, where you will find swathes of white sand and turquoise waters straight from your Caribbean dreams. The stunning, one-mile long shoreline is perhaps the widest on the island, offering calm seas shallow enough for children to enjoy.

Locals’ Pick: Treat yourself to freshly caught lobster, coconut shrimp, and other island delicacies at The Nest Beach Bar and Restaurant.

Half Moon Bay, Antigua

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Across the island, Half Moon Bay provides an isolated escape from the bustling beaches on Antigua’s west coast. If seclusion is your style, head toward FreeTown and keep driving east until you find the bay. Its natural, half-moon shape and protective reefs keep the rougher Atlantic surf away and also afford spectacular snorkeling opportunities—just make sure to bring your own mask and snorkel because there are no watersports outfitters on the private shoreline.

Locals’ Pick: You won’t find any true restaurants nearby, but there’s a locally owned food stand on the beach where you can purchase snacks and cool drinks.

St. Jean Beach, St. Barths

Photo credit: alljengi via Flickr

Photo credit: alljengi via Flickr

A quick plane ride brings us to one of the Caribbean’s most glamorous destinations, St. Barths. A playground for celebrities and weekend vacationers alike, the island is known for its magnificent white sand beaches, chic boutiques, and luxury boutique hotels. You will likely spot St. Jean Beach upon your arrival to the island, as the airport’s famously short runway is located just next to it. (You will actually fly over it.) Stylish restaurants, bars, and watersports outfitters line the popular beach’s crystalline waters, contributing to the lively ambiance, and at the beach’s center, a rock promontory known as Eden Rock splits the coast in two.

Locals’ Pick: La Plage is the place to enjoy French and Latin fusion cuisine and live entertainment with your toes still in the sand.

Saline Beach, St. Barths

A more private destination can be found on the southern end of the island at Saline Beach. Renowned for its feathery white sands and undeveloped shoreline, Saline offers magnificent swimming and snorkeling on calm days. The incredibly beautiful, natural location can be accessed by way of a winding sand path—just head southeast from St. Jean Beach until you reach the end of the road.

Colombier Beach, St. Barths

Set among lush green hills on the northwest coast of St. Barths, Colombier Beach is considered by many to be the best beach on the island. The secluded bay is breathtaking both above the water’s surface and below with bountiful marine life such as starfish, colorful schools of fish, and sea turtles inhabiting the right side of the bay. It is accessible only by foot or boat due to its remote location, and consequently, you should bring your own snorkel and provisions for the day. Hike the 30-minute trails or hop on a boat for the 15-minute cruise from Gustavia Harbor to get to Colombier Beach.

Magen’s Bay Beach, St. Thomas

It’s back to the airport for an under-an-hour flight to St. Thomas, where pristine beaches lined with coconut palms abound. Perhaps the most popular coastline on the island is Magen’s Bay Beach, located in the curve of the bay with the same name. It’s also the only beach in St. Thomas that charges an entry fee, but the cost is well worth it when you see the turquoise sea framed by rolling hills, ideal for children in the shallows and more suited for watersports activities further out.

Locals’ Pick: You don’t even have to leave the water to enjoy a Rum Punch from Magen’s Bay Beach Bar & Café—the bartenders will deliver it to you while you float.

Lindquist Beach, St. Thomas

Photo credit: nsipchannel via Youtube

Take a drive across the island to explore the unique formations of Lindquist Beach near Smith Bay. Part of 21 acres of protected park land, Lindquist offers white sand beaches with a touch of pink, calm waters perfect for swimming or snorkeling, and a shallow shelf of tidal pools just waiting to be explored. You will have ample space to relax under the coconut palms and sea grape trees during the week, and then on the weekends, prepare for a livelier atmosphere as the locals make their way to Lindquist.

Pinney’s Beach, Nevis

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

To get to the island of Nevis, you’ll want to pass through St. Barths again—perhaps stopping for a gelato or a walk along the harbor. Once you arrive in Nevis, make for Pinney’s Beach on the outskirts of Charlestown. Three miles of stunning shoreline lined with rustic restaurants and bars will offer quite a different atmosphere depending on the time of year. During cruise ship season, the crowds come in during the day, but for the rest of the year the beach is quite secluded. One thing is for sure—Nevis’ most popular destination is home to incredible sunsets all year long.

Locals’ Pick: Sunshine’s Beach Lounge is the place for delicious island barbecue, the famous Killer Bee rum punch, and lively nightlife just steps from the sea.

Herbert’s Beach, Nevis

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Escape to the windward side of the island for an underwater experience unlike any other. The reefs of Herbert’s Beach are positively teeming with marine life, making the beach a favored spot for snorkelers and fishing pelicans alike (although the shore itself is often empty). You can watch the seabirds resting on rocks while you lounge beneath palms on shore, and make sure to take a walk along the waterline too because Herbert’s Beach is known for having beautiful conches and other shells wash ashore.

Condado Beach, San Juan

When you’re ready to enter a completely different atmosphere, hop on a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In many places, the vibrant city edges right up to the white sand beaches for an experience that is both relaxing and vivacious with casinos, shopping, and music just a few steps away. Trendy Condado Beach combines urban style with active pursuits like paddleboarding and kayaking, resulting in an exciting beach day that you won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean.

Locals’ Pick: Locally sourced seafood and vibrant nightlife alike can be found at Oceano, a chic restaurant and lounge on the oceanfront.

Playita del Condado, San Juan

Close to Condado Beach, the family-friendly Playita del Condado (small beach of Condado) affords spectacular views of the city over the water. The calm ocean and quieter atmosphere is the perfect place for children or those searching for a break from city life, and the beach is easily accessible by way of Ashford Avenue. You’ll find many locals at Playita sitting in the shade of the trees lining the beach.

Locals’ Pick: The oceanfront Aqua Bar and Grill offers an array of fresh salads and delicious sandwiches large enough to share.

Shoal Bay East, Anguilla

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

It’s time to head to your final destination, the historic island of Anguilla. Two miles of stunning white sand beaches are beckoning at Shoal Bay East where the quiet island really comes alive. Regularly named as one of the world’s best beaches by the vacation experts, Shoal Bay is the place for snorkeling, beach bar hopping, and watersports. A point in the middle of the beach is bordered by reefs filled with marine life, and open-air restaurants and bars offer fresh seafood and good times just steps from the sand.

Locals’ Pick: Grouper curry, goat cheese salad, and fresh crayfish are a few of the delectable dishes awaiting you at Madeariman Bar & Restaurant.

Rendezvous Beach, Anguilla

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

At the end of your journey, make a return to the classic Caribbean with breathtaking turquoise seas and secluded white sand beaches to match. Rendezvous Beach is located along a bay by the same name and looks across to the island of St. Martin. When you step onto the beach, you’ll have to decide whether you want to walk east alongside the old, historic hotels of Anguilla or west to the funky-but-cool beach bars and live music. Either way, Rendezvous Beach is the ideal place to wrap up your Caribbean journey.

Locals’ Pick: Some of the most succulent and tender fish in the Caribbean can be found at Sunshine Shack. Just know that the little eatery runs on island time—and you should too.

 

A Foodie’s Guide to Nantucket

A Foodie’s Guide to Nantucket

For an island of only 52.5 square miles—one-twentieth the size of Rhode Island—Nantucket punches above its size when it comes to dining, a reflection of the demand for quality food during the summer season.

From April through December, Tradewind offers as many as 25 flights per day to Nantucket, starting at 6:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m., from the private terminals at two New York area airports. 

Here's the Tradewind aerial survey of the island's culinary offerings, organized by the sort of place you're craving upon landing.

Haute Nantucket: Topper's

Photo Courtesy of The Wauwinet

Photo Courtesy of The Wauwinet

This waterside restaurant, an arm of The Wauwinet—the island's most luxurious hotel—is a luxe enclave of New American cuisine. There's lobster, but it may come butter-basted and with carrot-truffle dumplings and a vanilla Lillet Nage—you get the idea, New England gone to culinary school. Even the Mac'n'Cheese is not exempt: it’s actually truffled Rigatoni with melted Gruyère, Gouda, and Pouligny Chèvre.

Echoes of Asia: The Pearl

Photo Courtesy of The Pearl

Photo Courtesy of The Pearl

Located in Nantucket town, this Asian-inflected—but locally sourced—menu is inspired by the travels of chef Seth Raynor. One example: Green Thai coconut curry with tofu and pineapple.

Breakfast Writ Large: The DownyFlake

Photo Courtesy of The DownyFlake

Photo Courtesy of The DownyFlake

The specialty: flaky housemade doughnuts, but don't overlook the crisp-edged pancakes. Otherwise, whatever breakfast you want, all day long. An institution—80 years old in a gray-shingled diner.

Tradition by Day, Hip by Night: The Galley

Photo Courtesy of Galley Beach

Photo Courtesy of Galley Beach

A Nantucket family-owned stalwart that originally started as a clam shack back in 1958. At lunch the rattan-furnished dining room, which looks out on the Cliffside Beach Club, draws Nantucket's old guard (it's been an anniversary spot for decades), but by night there's a trendier scene in the back room.  

Globe Spanner: LoLa 41°

Photo Courtesy of Lola 41°

Photo Courtesy of Lola 41°

A very chic waterside place just a block west from Children's Beach. The concept: a menu inspired by cuisine along the 41st parallel, which is not a bad line to toe as it takes in sushi, sake, Spanish and Greek cuisine, among others.

La Vida Loca Locavore: American Seasons

Photo Courtesy of American Seasons

Photo Courtesy of American Seasons

The menu's brilliance comes from chef Neil Ferguson's partnership with island farms and passion for the waters. The two come together beautifully in day-boat scallops with fried green tomatoes and lemon confit.

You're in the Hands of the Chef: Company of the Cauldron

Photo Courtesy of Company of the Cauldron

Photo Courtesy of Company of the Cauldron

Allen Kovalencik offers a fixed menu each evening (Monday's is all about lobster), so if you're the type who hates deciding, this is the spot, given the chef's deft hand with a spectrum of dishes (rosemary-skewered shrimp to Beef Wellington with a wild- mushroom duxelle). Lose control.

Dockside Reinvented: Straight Wharf

Photo Courtesy of Straight Wharf

Photo Courtesy of Straight Wharf

General Manager Christopher Sleeper and Executive Chef Mayumi Hattori gave this Nantucket institution a menu-lift without losing the atmosphere: hurricane lamps, butcher-paper tablecloths, and dish towels as napkins. The catch is local (do "harpooned local swordfish" meet your locavore standard?) and so are the crops. There's also traditional fun, the "swr clam bake".

Pizza: Pi Pizzeria

Photo Courtesy of Pi Pizzeria

Photo Courtesy of Pi Pizzeria

Nantucket's only wood-fired pizzeria owned by Evan and Maria Marley. Pies are wider and flatter than the classic Neapolitan, but otherwise in that style: super-thin middles, raised edge crust, San Marzano tomato sauce, small pools of mozzarella and prosciutto San Daniele on top.

Wine and Cheese on Landing: Table No. 1

Photo Courtesy of Table No. 1

Photo Courtesy of Table No. 1

Owner Sarah Powers brings beaucoup international experience—Krug Champagne, Cakebread Cellars, Johnny Walker Blue, and Wines of Chile—to this new venture on the wharf. "Small batch, high-quality, and hand-crafted" is her mantra. The place to provender a picnic or stock the house for the first night.

 

 

Commuting to Boston with Tradewind Regular Matthew Snyder

Commuting to Boston with Tradewind Regular Matthew Snyder

Tradewind Aviation sits down with ticket book holder Matthew Snyder to discuss his regular commuting patterns and experience with the scheduled private shuttle service.

………………………………

Early this morning I found out I needed to be in Boston today,” says Matthew Snyder, slowly sipping on a cup of coffee as he settles in aboard a Pilatus PC-12 departing White Plains, New York. “So I called up Tradewind at 7:30, booked the 9:30 departure, and will be returning this afternoon on the 2 o’clock.”

It’s become a familiar routine for Snyder, who lives in Westchester and runs a real estate investment/development company with several projects currently in Boston. “My business partner and I commute at least once every week,” he says. “Often twice.”

Which, as Snyder knows better than most, can quickly lose its appeal when commuting with less streamlined methods. “We’ve tried commuter trains, commercial shuttles from LaGuardia, automobile, you name it,” he admits. “Driving eventually became the most convenient, even though it’s much less productive.”

Thinking back to October of last year—when Tradewind introduced its scheduled private charters from New York to Boston—Snyder doesn’t hesitate: “Tradewind has clearly been the better solution for us.”

Asked to elaborate, “For me it’s a quick 12-minute drive to White Plains FBO, where I can arrive just 15 minutes before the flight,“ he explains. “Even for my partner who lives on Long Island; he will trade the hour-long drive to White Plains any day for [Tradewind’s] convenience, quick parking, and avoiding the hassle of LaGuardia.”

“But to be completely frank,” Snyder adds, “what I love about Tradewind is that I can have anybody who works for me fly on my tickets.” Snyder buys ticket books for well over 50 tickets at a time, so “it’s easy to get people up and back in a relatively economical way.”

“It works perfectly for me,” he says—a fitting segue into our follow-up question: Anything not so perfect?

“Well, people have a false sense of security on big planes,” he acknowledges, “which may make them a bit wary of small aircrafts like Tradewind’s.”

That said, “What commuters like me have come to find is that not only are these planes much more convenient, they’re also highly safe and operated by experienced pilots.”

“In fact, I actually recall flying down to Florida two weeks ago on a big plane, and feeling more comfortable on the small plane because I can see what’s going on.”

Much like in the present moment, as today’s pilots signal for initial descent into Boston—angling the plane towards the Massachusetts coastline for a quick and efficient landing at Boston Logan FBO.

Total flight time: a little under 50 minutes.

So much for the 4-hour drive. 

Past Meets Present on Modern-Day Nantucket

Past Meets Present on Modern-Day Nantucket

As you walk the cobblestoned streets of downtown Nantucket, passing beneath lofty elms and sycamores, it’s hard not to feel the island’s history all around you. Centuries-old homes and steepled churches stand alongside modern summer retreats, and the gently rolling landscape is dotted with idyllic lighthouses and an ancient, working windmill.

 The charming blend of old and new encourages a lifestyle of leisurely garden strolls, sailing, and cool dips in the sea, but this favored family getaway wasn’t always the go-to spot for vacationers. Nantucket’s rise to fame began more than 300 years ago in the pursuit of whale oil. Men would depart on whaling expeditions for years at a time (think Herman Melville’s Moby Dick), and with more than 150 whaling ships at its peak, the little island town quickly became one of the wealthiest communities in America.

 A series of unlucky events in the 1840s led to the swift downfall of the whaling industry, with the worst of them being an unstoppable fire in Nantucket’s commercial center and kerosene replacing whale oil as an illuminate worldwide. Nantucket was largely forgotten by the world until the late 1800s when summer vacations became a firmly established trend.

Today, the entire island of Nantucket is recognized as a historical landmark (one of first in the country), and the calm streets and bustling waterfront reflect the same feeling of the town from hundreds of years ago. The historic sites carrying on Nantucket’s stories are almost too many to name, but here are a few of our favorites that definitely deserve a visit:

Nantucket’s Lighthouses

Great Point Light

Great Point Light

Most visitors to Nantucket are already familiar with Brant Point Light (it’s the little lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor), but they may not know the much larger Sankaty Head Light perched high on a bluff in Siasconset. Both have been named by the National Register of Historic Places, and Brant Point Light is actually the second oldest lighthouse in America. (There is also a third, much newer lighthouse dubbed Great Point Light at the northernmost point of the island.) 

Nantucket Whaling Museum

Photo Credit: Nantucket Whaling Museum

A 46-foot sperm whale skeleton is the main attraction at the Nantucket Whaling Museum – or, at least, it’s the largest. Inside the museum, visitors can find a collection of whaling tools, maritime paintings, and other nautical paraphernalia. There’s also an observation deck on top of the museum that overlooks the glistening waters of Nantucket Harbor.

First Congregational Church

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

Among the many beautiful churches in Nantucket, one steeple stands tall above the town. The First Congregational Church, built in 1834, has a 120-foot tall bell tower known for having the best view of Nantucket Harbor. There’s a definite splendor to the structure with its pristine white walls inside and out, vaulted ceilings, ornate chandelier, and surrounding gardens regularly in bloom.

The Old Mill

A hillside that was once spotted with mills has given way to just one. The Old Mill is the oldest functioning mill in the country – which is lucky considering it was once sold off as firewood for 20 dollars. The buyer later decided to restore the deteriorating mill to working condition, and it thereafter grinded corn for many years. Today, its red arms and smocked sails are a well-known sight on the island.

Quaker Meeting House

This simple building is dressed much like its congregation would have been – without ornament. The Quaker Meeting House was the place of worship for a sect of Quakers in Nantucket for more than 50 years while Quakerism was the dominant religion among Nantucket’s elite and a large number of residents. In present day, Quakers still meet there informally.

Restored Homes

While meandering through the beautifully restored homes of downtown Nantucket, it’s easy to forget what time we live in. Each seems to have its own character and style that attest to the time in which it was constructed.

Hadwen House

Hadwen House

The Oldest House, or the Jethro Coffin House, is the town’s sole surviving structure from the 17th century. Its simple design is a stark contrast to Hadwen House, a Greek revival mansion built in the height of whaling that has towering columns and an ionic portico. Then there is the eccentric Greater Light, a summer home and art studio built by two Quaker sisters. It has 12-foot tall wrought iron gates, magnificent stained glass windows, and six gold columns in the living area.

These homes and many more serve as daily reminders of Nantucket’s storied history, which—more than 370 years since settlement in 1641—is just getting started.

 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Bob P.B. via Flickr