Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nantucket - Sunday - 7/31/16

I did hours upon hours of research before our Nantucket trip and learned about this new cafe named Lemon Press located nearby. It's known to have many great organic options for breakfast, and I was excited to try it out. Eric could care less but he accompanied me on the walk over.

I was surprised when I got there because nothing was actually organic!
I chose the fruit/granola parfait because it was the only item I could find that was labeled "organic". I came here because they advertise "organic" food but I'd guess that maybe 10% of the menu items have organic ingredients.

I asked the young girl at the counter if they brew organic coffee and you'd think I asked if she'd been to the moon. She had NO IDEA and I felt embarrassed for her and her young coworker who stammered over their words as they claimed it was "probably" organic.

The parfait sucked! Huge container of plain yogurt with not enough honey or toppings.

I followed this place on Instagram for months before visiting Nantucket, and as a person who is passionate about eating organic, I was so disappointed. Whatever, lesson learned

The forecast on Sunday was hot but cloudy, so we decided to explore the island a bit more. As Nantucket amateurs, we assumed cloudy meant cold, and probably not a good day for the beach. WRONG. It turned out to be very hot and we could have easily spent the day at Steps Beach again. Instead we went on a mini-adventure to explore the other side of island. I actually loved this day, but because beach time is so precious, I would have gone back to Steps had I known better.

If you look at the map below, you'll notice the town of Nantucket is located in the top/center of the island. Our goal was to head west and explore Madaket. We spoke with the hotel manager, and she suggested we take the bike path to get there.

We walked the Madaket Rd path, which is bolded above, all the way to Madaket Beach

It's about 6 miles from our hotel to Madaket via the path. Most people bike or take the free shuttle to Millie's (the town's only restaurant), but I wanted to walk. I love walking! Eric agreed and off we went.

The beginning of our walk to Madaket, starting on Main St

You know I love my hydrangea

Scenes from the beginning of our walk

Blue hydrangea - love them all!

Simple Nantucket home

White hydrangea with smaller petals

Pretty home with it's perfect white picket fence

Dying over these gorgeous bunches of hydrangea! 

The actual bike path wasn't too far from our hotel, maybe a half mile or so

This private driveway leads to what I'd imagine is an exquisite mansion

Island landscape was so lush and green!

Along the path we go...

About halfway through our walk, we came across this tiny and very crowded dock

We walked onto the dock to see what all the fuss was about, and found these SNAPPING turtles swimming around! 

I couldn't believe what I was seeing, but there were tons of large snapping turtles swimming around with huge claws! All the people standing on the docks had strings with RAW CHICKEN attached (as you can see in the picture) that they were using as bait to lure the turtles. I mean....

After all the fun, we headed back to the path as several cars packed with families were pulling up. Clearly, this was a well-known Nantucket attraction. As we were leaving, I spotted a large package of raw chicken meat sitting on a bench next to a mother and her small son. He was dragging the raw chicken on a string through the grass as he walked to the dock.

Gross!! Time to go!

After our 6 mile walk, we arrived at Madaket, and decided lunch at Millie's would be next on our agenda. Millie's is a Mexican restaurant with a casual laid-back island vibe

You can typically find a Millie's food truck at Cisco Brewery

My Millie's margarita on the left. Eric ordered the Madaket Mystery cocktail on the right. My marg was better and we both ordered another round of those

Eric's lobster quesadilla - generous portion!

I ordered the Long Pond salad with peaches because I was making a genuine effort to eat healthy. It was a great salad for a Mexican restaurant

We arrived for lunch just before noon, and by the time we left, it was packed! There was a guy playing live music

Millie's also has a small market to purchase food and other items

We loved Millie's! I would go back in a second. The service was great, the food was good, and we enjoyed our cocktails. After a long and laid-back lunch, we walked over to Madaket Beach to explore.

There isn't much to see in Madaket besides Millie's restaurant and the beach. Otherwise, there is a cute little bridge and pretty homes alongside a marsh near the beach.

The "town" is super tiny and the beach is right next to Millie's

Madaket Beach - looks nice

Madaket Beach again

We walked around a bit and took photos

On the bridge - Such a pretty setting

Hi boy!

We originally planned to take Millie's free shuttle back to town, but I insisted we walk back. Eric wasn't too happy, but he obliged because walking over ten miles in one day isn't that big a deal. Give me a break. 

We came across another cute home as we began our walk back to town

Just  another picturesque home in Nantucket

Why can't I live here??? Not fair!

gardens galore

The streets of Nantucket

He is soooo exhausted from our walk, LOL

We found this treat in our room when we got back and I was confused...Are we 5 years old? I could care less about a freaking cookie, where is my free bottle of wine?

76 Main is part of the Lark Hotels group. We joined their rewards program which is called "On a Lark Club." One of the benefits is a welcome indulgence upon arrival and I was looking forward to my free bottle of wine, which is what I requested in the survey they asked I complete. Instead, I got a cookie. Okay....I'll let this one slide.

We had ample time before our dinner reservation, so we decided to enjoy a few drinks in the courtyard before showering. I took my laptop to start the blog and Eric read his book.

At one point, we saw this tiny mouse running through the courtyard. Umm, EW? After our stay I received a survey asking for feedback and I commented on the mouse. That is NOT acceptable whatsoever at a hotel of this caliber. Our room was up on the third floor so I wasn't worried. If I had one of the rooms off the courtyard it would have been a different story (P.S. the rooms off the courtyard were super pricey).

After about an hour, this middle-aged couple showed up and sat on the couch right across from us. The four of us began a conversation and they were awesome. The husband was an executive at some food company, and his wife had a career as well but I can't remember what it was. Anyway, she was so funny and super friendly. It was nice to meet new people and socialize. I've noticed older couples are enamored with Eric and I. I'm guessing it's because people our age generally can't afford to stay in nice places and they're wondering what our story is. 

We talked a bit, and learned that she planned a one night stay for their anniversary in Nantucket, because like us, they had never been. Their two-day agenda was packed to the max, but they seemed to be having a great time. 

Every day from 5-7pm, the hotel offers a BYOB happy hour. They supply everything but the alcohol. This lady brought vodka and INSISTED we have some. We politely accepted and walked over to mix a cocktail. While crafting our drinks she accidentally spilled her half of the bottle all over counter. 

After a full day of activities, they were headed to Cisco brewers, followed by dinner. I was overwhelmed just talking to them!

After they left we finally headed back up to the room to shower and get ready for dinner at Straight Wharf.

Pre-dinner picture in the lobby

Right before dinner

I was having a GREAT time

There are SO many great restaurants in Nantucket, it was hard to choose! Straight Wharf is also on the water and all the reviews were excellent. I am so happy we went because the service was exceptional, the view beautiful, and the food/cocktails were amazing!

Eric about to order his first cocktail

Another great view at dinner. The atmosphere was romantic and overall I loved this place!

My cocktail was a special that night, at ONLY $17 each. I drank two and must say they were well worth the price!

Complimentary blue fish spread served before dinner. Eric loved it

Ricotta Cavatelli appetizer - homemade pasta and yummy flavors

Eric's clam bake - he thought the amount of lobster was very generous, and the chorizo was delicious

My stuffed Italian eggplant which was somewhat similar to a vegetarian lasagna, but very good flavors! The portion was quite large and I took half home for lunch the next day
Eric and I engaged in a heated conversation over something during dinner.  I don't even remember what it was about, but we would momentarily stop and comment on how delicious the food was. Classic. 

This was quite the day and were tired after dinner. Day 3 was a tremendous success and I couldn't have felt happier!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nantucket - Saturday - 7/30/16

I woke up to church bells at 7am (What the ??). They literally went off every hour at a little chapel nearby. Luckily we both had peaceful nights of sleep despite the bells and I was ready to start the day. I got up before Eric and grabbed my DSLR. One thing I love to do is photograph places we stay, and the early morning hours are the perfect time to do it. 

View from the front door of 76 Main. Gorgeous!!

Charming house across the street. Notice the cobblestone roads?!

Entrance to 76 Main. Could it be any more "Nantucket?" LOVE IT

Hotel sign hidden among the lush landscape

Street view of our hotel. Can I move in????

Entrance to our hotel's courtyard that is open for guests to enjoy any time of the day

Picturesque courtyard

In the mornings you can find freshly brewed coffee waiting in the courtyard

Nantucket is a sleepy town where people do not get up early. Breakfast at our hotel began at 8am, and if you walk into town at that time, it's quite empty. 

When I went outside to take photographs I was shocked at the warm temperature. I am very sensitive to cold, and the forecast was calling for a high of 78 degrees that day. I wore a sweatshirt outside assuming it would feel cool and and quickly discarded it! The air was so warm and muggy, it almost felt tropical! Based on the forecast, I never expected to feel this hot summery temperature. We mentioned this to the manager later that morning, and she confirmed it generally feels 10 degrees warmer than the forecast. Bizarre, but I'll take it!

I started to feel more excited for our first day at the beach, which was the plan for that day. I had been worried it would be cool and windy on this New England island, but that certainly wasn't the case so far!

Eric and I enjoyed our free breakfast downstairs in the kitchen, and packed up for the beach. A girl who worked at the hotel recommended we try Steps Beach, which is approximately 1 mile away. We asked the manager for directions and he provided several helpful tips, including a hidden spot to pick up lunch on the way.

We did not bring our car because Nantucket is a tiny island, only 14 miles long! We planned to walk most places or take a cab if necessary. Eric and I are very athletic so walking 1 mile to Steps Beach was easy. It was a scenic route and I enjoyed it. Thanks to the hotel manager, we stopped at Something Natural to pick up sandwiches for lunch on the beach later. The sandwich shop is set back from the street and the sign is easy to miss.  It was very crowded with many cars pulling in to get sandwiches and bread for the day.

Something Natural - this place was packed before 10am

Picnic tables at Something Natural where you can sit and eat if you'd like

We could see why this place was popular! Eric thoroughly enjoyed his turkey BLT later that afternoon

After picking up food, we continued our walk which took us through a prominent Nantucket neighborhood. The homes were as beautiful as you would imagine, all with perfectly manicured landscape. Gardening is big business in this town!

When we found the entrance to the beach, there was a couple who offered to take our picture. People on the island seemed very friendly :)

They call it Steps Beach because you have walk down a lot of steps to get to the beach

You can see the steps on the left side of the picture. Also notice the mansion perched on the edge of the cliff, probably worth about $20M...

The cliffs provided a magnificent backdrop on the beach

This day felt magical to me (more beach pics below). Nantucket was one of my bucket list destinations and it was thoroughly exceeding all my expectations thus far. Yesterday I arrived at the quaintest town I'd ever seen, checked into a historic luxury hotel, ate at an amazing restaurant with phenomenal food, and today I am enjoying the BEST BEACH DAY I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED IN ALL OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Why the BEST you ask? Well for starters, Steps Beach does not have public parking and is located in the middle of an exclusive neighborhood which limits public access. Therefore, it was relatively uncrowded the entire day. Next, the weather was SUBLIME. PERFECT. UNREAL actually. There was barely a breeze and the temperature was comfortable. You have to understand how rare this is on the beaches we frequent back home, so I was loving every second. 

The sandbar was the icing on the cake. This coastline has sandbars that appear depending on the tides. At certain times of the day, you can walk way out in the water and come across a sand bar with shallow waters where you can hang out. The water didn't get much deeper than my stomach as I waded out. I never swim in the ocean on the east coast because it's always uncomfortably freezing, and it rarely gets hot enough at the beach that I need to swim anyway. Well, I actually hung out IN the water for almost an hour, and I don't think I've done that since St. John last year.  Needless to say, the water temperature was very warm!

Eric felt the same as me, and expressed that he was so happy I planned this trip. He was apprehensive at first (still not sure why), and now he was having an amazing time. 

Nantucket is so close to Boston, but it truly felt like another world.

Eric enjoying the warmth

The blue sky came out

This was the busiest it got

We took a walk and passed through Jetties Beach, which is adjacent to Steps

Sand bars in the distance!

The jetty protects Jetties and Steps Beach which made the water PERFECT for swimming

This rocky side of Jetties Beach faces town. You can sit here and watch the ferries drive by

THE LIFE on Nantucket!

Elin is a popular author who lives in Nantucket. She was signing books in town the week before we arrived! Too bad I missed it

We didn't want to leave the beach, but around 4pm we left to shower and get ready for our dinner reservation at Galley Beach. Galley Beach is another hot spot that is well known for it's sunset views at dinner. The restaurant is actually located right next to Steps Beach, and has a large outdoor area right on the beach where you can sit and order drinks/apps. I figured we should try the place out.

The cab ride there was only $10, which was refreshingly affordable. We were a bit early but they were able to seat us right away. The scene was very hip and pretentious, which provided free entertainment the entire night. It looked like the type of place you could spot a famous person.  Again, very "Real Housewives of NYC" feeI, kept waiting for the Bravo camera crew to walk in...

I'm glad we asked a waiter to take our picture before the sun went down. Unfortunately we didn't get a sunset that night...

Just got to Galley Beach! Love Eric's outfit!

Grapefruit Martini - heavy on the vodka but nothing special

Eric's Negronie, which he thought was expertly crafted

We don't get dressed up for dinner enough - it's fun and feels special!

Eric looking quite handsome! You can kind of see the beach in the background

Brussels sprout appetizer - great flavors but small serving

We both agreed that this crab cake was slightly above average

My jumbo shrimp entree - WAY TOO SALTY, which is totally unacceptable at a restaurant of this caliber

Eric's halibut was cooked perfectly, but the flavors were average

The couple seated next to us ordered the special, which was beef waygu for $30/ounce. They ordered 8 ounces for their appetizer...

Entrance to Galley Beach in the dark, right before we got in the cab after dinner

Eric asked the hostess to call a cab, and we wandered around the bar/lounge area while we waited. Wow, the crowd at this place was hilarious. So stereotypical!  We didn't mind though because it was fun to watch. To give you an idea of how expensive this place is, a glass of Clicquot will cost you $28 and cocktails are $19. Enough said right? 

We saw so many tables ordering endless bottles of champagne all night, and were amazed at the money being spent around us! 

We determined that we would come back to sit and have a few drinks on the beach, but never again for dinner.

A cab pulled up and Eric confirmed with the driver that it was for us. As we were getting into the cab, a group a women came running at the van saying we stole their cab. The driver told them, "Your cab is right behind me! Just wait a few minutes." They wouldn't stop hassling the driver and then they looked at us and said they couldn't believe we would take their cab. I have a knack for ignoring obnoxious people and I did just that as the driver said they were being idiots and we drove away. Fun times!  There were a lot of drunk people roaming around the restaurant and entry.

The cab dropped us off in the middle of town and we came across The Juice Bar, which is Nantucket's most popular ice cream shop. The line was so long I assumed they were giving ice cream away for free!

Line at the Juice Bar 

We skipped the ice cream and strolled home, ending our second joyous day in Nantucket.