The Insider's Guide to Nantucket

In need of the perfect summer getaway? Look no further than Nantucket, a quaint island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Tag along as vintage-design experts Barri Leiner and Marie Moss take us on a whirlwind tour of their favorite places to shop, eat, and explore on the island.


Can't get away? Try some of our summer DIY crafts.




There are no fast-food restaurants or neon signs on Nantucket, which is just the way Barri Leiner and Marie Moss, the owner of M & B Vintage, a company specializing in custom-assembled vintage charm bracelets, like it. Each summer, the best friends and authors (they wrote Flea Market Fidos and Flea Market Baby), spend a few carefree weeks on the historic island with their families. "Nantucket is a magical, old-fashioned place," says Marie. "When Barri and I are there, life seems really simple. It's about exploring on our bikes, collecting shells on the beach, sharing a meal in town with our families, and eating ice cream every single night."

"The first thing we do when we get off the ferry is head straight to Young's Bicycle Shop to rent a bike," says Barri. In operation since 1931, the family-run bike shop rents by the hour, day, or week. Here, Marie and Barri pose on a twin Stingray from the shop's vintage-bike collection.





Getting There


You can either fly into Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK), or reserve a seat on the one-hour-long passenger ferry from Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod.



Where To Stay

Reserve a room at Vanessa Noel Hotel, a stylish eight-room oasis situated right in the heart of downtown. "You can explore all day long and never be too far from the hotel," says Marie.


Need to entertain at home this summer? No problem! Check out our summer entertaining tips.






What To Do


Pick a bouquet for your hotel room from one of the farm trucks that set up on Main Street.

Rise and shine for Yoga on the Beach, held every day but sunday at 7 a.m. on Children's Beach. Afterward, enjoy fruit and granola from Mac's Place.







Where To Shop


"We love to browse the 'giveaways' at the little house at the Madaket Dump (or the Madaket Mall, as locals call it)," says Marie. "We've found wicker rockers, beach chairs, and great summer reads." And don't miss the Hospital Thrift Shop. "I find incredible things there," says Barri, who has scored vintage Lilly Pulitzer skirts, an ivory shell charm, and an oil landscape.

There's something for absolutely everyone--from snow globes and lobster key chains to reproduction Nantucket lightship baskets (pictured)--at Four Winds Gifts, promises Marie. For sparklier, island-centric clothing, visit Eye of the Needle. "There's always something fun and new there," Barri says.

In a shopping rut? Get hints and tips from Country Living editors!

Sign up for designer Cheryl Fudge's Fashion Camp and use fabric remnants, souvenir T-shirts, old buttons, and ribbon to transform a sweater, button-down shirt, or tote into a one-of-a-kind keepsake.

Nantucket Sewing & Design carries pretty, vintage-style madras, ticking stripes, and trims, including the shop's beachy Nantucket whale ribbon.

For special gifts, drop by English Trunk Show Co. "The owner has a great eye," says Barri. "She carries English enamelware, garden antiques, quilts, pretty linens, baskets, old books, and more."


Where To Eat

For a quick bite (think grilled cheese and lemonade) and a dose of small-town nostalgia, take a spin on one of the stools at the lunch counter at Congdons' or Nantucket Pharmacy, both on Main Street.

"We could eat at Black Eyed Susan's every night," says Barri. "The pasta and seafood are fabulous," adds Marie, "and it's fun to sit at the counter and watch the chef cook." It's BYOB, so bring along some locally brewed Whale's Tale Pale Ale.

For affordable, no-fuss steamed-lobster dinners to go, head to Sayle's Seafood. For dessert, pick up homemade macaroons or cookies from the Nantucket Bake Shop, which packages all of its sweets in charming souvenir beach pails.

Let the giant screen doors whack shut behind you as you line up for generous scoops of Juice Bar's scrumptious homemade ice cream.


Escape the heat with these recipes for chilled summer soups.



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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.