Home > Restaurants, Travel > Nantucket 2: Another Day in Paradise

Nantucket 2: Another Day in Paradise

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Madaket Beach

[Taken by me today, with my iPhone camera]

We had another great day, despite rain, cloudiness, humidity, and fog. Our day began with an early breakfast in the hotel restaurant, the
Brant Point Grill. Around 10:45, we headed into town. Our plan was to shop, take the public bus out to Madaket for lunch, then return to town.

First stop: Jewel of the Isle, to conclude our business with owner and jewelry designer Gary Trainor. Gail wanted to see if he could turn one of his pendants into a pin to use for a specific purpose that I won’t describe here, and of course he could, since he can do anything. We had a pleasant chat, as we did our first two days here, and ultimately left him to do some work on the pendant while we headed over to the Whaling Museum, where the bus route to Madaket begins.

We caught the noon bus. The buses on Nantucket are large vans, and they run only in season. Many routes ended two days ago, on Labor Day. A couple run into October. And the Madaket route will end this weekend, having dropped from half-hourly service to hourly service on Labor Day. We were the only two on the noon run.

Madaket is the westernmost settlement on the island. There are some homes and the beach, plus Millie’s, a surprisingly upscale Mexican-influenced restaurant, bar, and takeout joint seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Our plan was to have lunch at Millie’s, then take a short walk on the beach, and that’s what we did. My “Cambridge salad” was excellent: Grilled marinated chicken with mixed summer greens, mandarin orange, radish, peanuts, crispy tortilla strips, cilantro, and honey scallion dressing. Gail had the Pocomo tacos: Braised pork carnitas in flour tortillas with peach tomatillo salsa and chopped radish, cilantro, and onion. High quality food, filling, well served, and with views over Madaket Beach to the Atlantic.

The sun poked out as we arrived in Madaket and stayed throughout our time there. It also seemed a good ten degrees warmer than back in town, and more humid. We returned on the 1:30 bus and had to step over a bit of a flood in the street along the curb as we got off the bus. We had missed quite a downpour.

Back to Jewel of the Isle to pick up the pin Gary had worked on, then to Dokkim to arrange shipment of a bag purchase, then back to the White Elephant (our hotel in exile, as I explained in last night’s post).

We had hours until dinner and a chance to relax in the room or on the chairs outside, which we proceeded to do. Around 5:00, I headed out for an hour-long walk. As I had yesterday afternoon, I headed first to Brant Point and the Brant Point Lighthouse. Yesterday’s walk was a struggle, straight into a strong westerly wind and driving rain. No rain or wind to contend with today, but fog that seemed to get denser by the minute. Past houses that hug the waterfront, past the Coast Guard station, and on to the point itself, a sandy triangle with shore on the south facing the harbor, shore on the northeast facing the passage leading into the harbor, and a vertex where the two shores meet — the point itself and home to the lighthouse.

Brant Point Lighthouse

[Also taken by me today with my iPhone]

I wandered back and forth around the lighthouse and along the beach, staring into the fog, when suddenly there was a horn blast and one of the fast passenger-only Hyannis-Nantucket ferries, the Iyanough, emerged, heading south into the passage to the harbor. (See the fleet here.) That was quite a sight, no more than 200 feet away as it rounded the point.

I couldn’t believe how thick the fog was getting, until I realized it was condensing on my glasses. Once I wiped them off, some of the fog lifted. I headed back west past the Coast Guard Station, only to hear a massive horn and realize the big passenger/auto ferry was departing. I had left the point too soon. I looked back a minute later and saw the massive ship rounding the bend in the distance.

My walk continued along Hulbert Avenue, which runs to the northwest along the shore, with a line of homes between me and the water. And what homes! One of them got a lot of attention in 2004, when John Kerry was running for president, as the home he and Teresa Heinz Kerry were married in and one of their five homes altogether. Teresa, of course, is part of the Pittsburgh Heinz family and came into the marriage with the Nantucket home and a fleet of others. It’s easy to see why she would have wanted a home on Brant Point. I walked up Hulbert to its end. I can say with confidence that any of the homes on it would suit us just fine.

I came in from the fog a little after 6:00, dried off, and read some more of Tripwire, which I could be finishing tonight if I weren’t writing this. A little after 7:00, we walked over to the Brant Point Grill for dinner.

They were offering quite a good deal. Not at all inexpensive, but in light of the menu prices, an exceptional bargain. For $70, you could order any appetizer, main dish, and dessert and get a particular selection of three glasses of wine: a Sauvignon Blanc with the appetizer, a Merlot with the main dish, a Muscat for dessert. There were a couple of exceptions, such as lobster, but otherwise, anything goes. The upshot of this was that one was getting three glasses of wine almost for free. I wasn’t looking to drink three glasses, but I was looking to eat an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. It was too good to pass up.

Gail started with duck proscuitto, served with some arugula. I had the baby rocket salad — arugula, pecan brittle, grilled stone fruit (which turned out to be nectarine), and a honey lavender vinaigrette. Then Gail chose the sizzling balsamic skirt steak with grilled asparagus, radicchio, potatoes, and fig reduction. I had the New York strip steak, which doesn’t come with any vegetable or potato accompaniment Just steak, and some bone marrow, though the bone marrow wasn’t listed on the menu. And there’s a choice of about ten sauces one can choose on the steak or on the side. And there’s an extensive list of sides one can order. I took the garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert, Gail took the “cinnamon pull-a-parts” with caramel sauce and coffee ice cream.

Everything was superb. The Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot were from Chalk Hill, in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. We didn’t ask about the Muscat.

We’re in the room now. Time to get back to Tripwire.

Categories: Restaurants, Travel
  1. September 8, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    I’ve always been fascinated by the name Nantucket Sound when Billy Joel sang about it in the late 80’s – thanks

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