Nantucket is one of those quintessential American summer destinations. But I am here to convince you that it should also be a go-to fall destination. The crowds are gone, the sun is still around and prices are down; what’s not to love?
When to Go
Anytime after Labor Day should see lower prices and smaller crowds. But September is still a very busy month on the island, so I recommend October or November for optimal weather and prices. What’s the weather like on the island in the fall? Well, it’s similar to the weather in Boston during the same months, could be 60 and sunny one day and 40 and rainy the next. But if you are lucky to find a 50 or 60-degree day with a blue sky, it is one of the most magical times of the year. #SweaterWeather
Where to Stay
One of the key benefits to traveling to Nantucket in the fall is the fact that you will not have to fight for a place to stay, there will be options available even if you book your trip 2 or even 1 week in advance. But for a chic weekend away, I have to recommend 21 Broad, located in the heart of downtown.
As with any Lark Hotel, you’ll find stylish furnishings and thoughtful service in a historic setting. But 21 Broad truly stuns. Unlike other Nantucket downtown boutique choices, 21 Broad offers a collection of uniquely modern rooms with that classic New England charm.
What I love about Lark is that while the properties are small they pack a punch! Take this complimentary “small plates” breakfast for example—utterly delicious! Healthy, tasty, and unexpected, the perfect start to your day.
Within walking distance to everywhere in downtown, 21 Broad is where you need to stay the next time you go bACK.
What to Do
You are on Nantucket after all; so don’t neglect the beach even if it is 40 degrees out. One of the most amazing feelings is going for a long walk on the beach with a coat on, it feels out of this world. (Similar to how it feels being on a mountain without one!)
You have to check out at least Miacomet, Jetties and Madaket.
Also, make sure you leave plenty of time for strolling through the shops downtown. Nantucket has managed to stay a little less kitschy than many of the beach towns on the Cape, so you will find boutiques stocked with things other than “I Love ACK” shirts.
Any trip to Nantucket should include a pilgrimage to Murray’s!
Oh and if you aren’t a native New Englander, I recommend you stop by the Whaling Museum to learn a little bit about the region’s history.
Finally, save an afternoon for Cisco Brewers. They took the après ski lounge atmosphere brought it to an island. Go for a tour, taste some locally made beer, wine and spirits and just hang out and play some corn hole.
Where to Eat
Breakfast – Any good weekend away deserves a lingering breakfast/brunch. My favorite spot for just that in the off-season is Island Kitchen. With the perfect deck for enjoying that late season sun and a kick ass Eggs Benedict menu, this is the place to ease into your Sunday.
Lunch—When you need to refuel after all those long walks on the beach, head to Something Natural. Enjoy gigantic sandwiches filled with all sorts of light, tasty ingredients on a picnic table in their backyard that overlooks a picturesque tree-scape. The BLT or anything with sprouts and avocado are our picks.
Dinner—What many people don’t realize is that Nantucket is home to some world-class restaurants. And what even more people don’t realize is that many of those hot spots are open all year round. Dune is one of those year-round gems. With an atmosphere so inviting and a menu so good, this dinner is worth the ferry trip alone.
Start with some of Chef Michael’s seasonal salads. We’ve been seeing beets on menus from New York to Paris for the past year and honestly, this was the best rendition of beets and goat cheese out of them all!
Then when you move onto heavier appetizers, you realize that those inventive salads were not a fluke and that Dune means business. I mean, this “Crispy Quail” was just delightful: crunchy, moist, and that sauce gives the perfect kick!
And it doesn’t stop when you get to mains either. The Roasted Sea Scallops and the Grilled Angus Sirloin are 2 dishes you will definitely still be talking about the next day.
For a finale, we ended the meal like New Englanders with pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry sauce. The perfect end to a perfect fall weekend!
How to Get There
Since Nantucket is an island there are only 2 ways to get there: boat or plane. Flights from Boston can get pricey, especially if you are just looking for a hassle free weekend away, so I recommend taking the ferry from Hyannis. Steamship Authority is the only provider that offers a car ferry. So if you want to be mobile while on island, this is your best bet. With convenient itineraries, even in the off season, it couldn’t be easier. So book your ticket and go back to ACK this fall.