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Take Me Away: Nantucket, MA

23 Nov

Ahhhh, Nantucket.  How I miss thee…


The Wauwinet Inn is remarkable for how near it gets to the Platonic ideal of the perfect Nantucket holiday, an ideal whose earthly incarnations are all too likely to be spoiled by the omnipresent signs of mass market tourism.

Not so the Wauwinet, however; surrounded by beaches on two sides and a wildlife sanctuary on a third, it’s splendidly secluded, feeling for all the world like its own private island. The inn house began its life in 1850 as a restaurant, and the current restaurant, Topper’s, is Nantucket’s finest — locals line up around the dock for a table, as the only way to arrive is by boat.

Privacy and discretion are key here; staff members outnumber guests, but there’s no sense of fawning. A quiet New England professionalism is on display, far from the California chattiness of some American resorts. A similar code extends to the clientele: the inn building is strictly adults only, while children under 18 are only permitted in the outlying cottages, and families with children under 12 are regretfully urged to investigate other lodging options.

Guest rooms, whether in the inn or the cottages, are handsomely decorated in a classic Northeastern country style, full of chintz and antique pine furnishings. Linens and robes, predictably, are of top quality Egyptian cotton, and bathrooms, all with separate tubs, are furnished with Crabtree & Evelyn products.

What’s to do at the Wauwinet revolves primarily around the nautical; there are two private beaches, as well as any number of seafaring excursions, from sailing and kayaking to lobstering cruises. The seasick may prefer a jeep expedition through the wildlife refuge, or a simple game of tennis, and there’s no prohibition against lounging around the Inn — these are the sort of rooms it’s difficult to leave. Topper’s, as mentioned, is a more than worthy dining option, and there’s a shuttle to Nantucket town for anyone with an eye to exploring.