Day Four on Cape Cod – Nantucket

Our whale watch boat.

We awoke to find that the rains had abated. Thank goodness for that. We had breakfast, once again a really great one, and then set out for Hyannis, some sixteen or so miles away. We had reservations on a high speed ferry for Nantucket, some thirty miles off Cape Cod, and taking about an hour to get to. The cost of getting there was a bit more than I would have thought, about $70 per person.

We had reservations at 11:20 and got into Nantucket Harbor at 12:20. We sauntered toward our appointment with Val, the lady leading our tour via van. She has several businesses and one of them is a Nantucket Taxi Business.

We grabbed a quick panini and had some water at the Hub, a coffee and bagel establishment and saw Val go by right about 1:15 PM. She told us not to hurry, that she would wait down the street for us.

We finished up and got in her car. She is almost eighty, looks and acts younger, and talked of coming to Nantucket with her husband and starting a family and invariably buying a piece of land and building a small home. She now owns three. In her time since arriving in 1983, she has seen many changes and a good many hurricanes, some of which were quite destructive. She told us of the climate change and its ramifications. At one time she spoke of incredible snowstorms, but the island no longer even gets snow in the winter, at least not for the last few years or so. She spoke of beach erosion and beaches disappearing. She also talked of the Concord grapes that no longer provide fruit since in order for them to turn that purple-black color, they need a frost, something that the island has not had in many a year. Poison Ivy growth (I saw it myself) was rampant and has hampered the harvesting of the berries growing wild. Cranberries are grown here as well.

She was amazing and told how it was a fishing community of less than four thousand and is now normally around the size of Deerfield, Illinois, around 17,000 or so. It is an island that is about fourteen miles long and two miles wide. In the summer, the population soars to some sixty thousand or so, making it crazier than I think I would like.

She talked of being very lucky, but also of her tragedy of being twenty-nine and losing her thirty-five year old husband to an embolism that happened following a routine flu shot. It left her with children to take care of and somehow she managed to turn her situation into a good one.

We went to the Whaling Museum afterwards, a wonderful explanation of the reason for the being of Nantucket for such a long time. Whaling oil was used, apparently, world-wide to make whale oil candles. As our guide had told us, Nantucket managed to ‘light the world’ for quite a long time. They had some unique exhibits, one of a whale’s skeleton, another of the only existing press for producing quality whale oil, and wonderful examples of the uses of just about every part of the whale’s body. They also had a great view of the town from the observation point at the top of the building.

We had just enough time to have dinner before our 7:05 PM departure, going to the Straight Wharf Restaurant with a view of the harbor and just down the street from the ferry taking us back to Hyannis.

We had a great day. Nantucket is a jewel and the only thing that might prevent me from really wanting to spend a lot of time there is the craziness of the apparent midsummer crowds.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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