CHIC HOLIDAY ON NANTUCKET
I’m a die-hard Europhile (and prefer the other side of the Atlantic), but even I have to admit there are some chic destinations on this side, as well. I was reminded of this last weekend, when my family and I escaped the brutal New York City heat wave to spend time at our summer home on Nantucket.
I’ve been going to Nantucket since I was a little girl, and my memories of childhood summers there are enchanting. But these days, this former whaling community (home of Moby Dick) is changed: its former mom-and-pop stores and funky restaurants have been replaced by trendy destinations for wealthy tycoons. Walter Beinecke changed the face of Nantucket by building an enormous marina that attracts the owners of giant yachts and sailboats. On Sunday, my family and I had brunch at The White Elephant hotel (which has been around since I was a child). The harbor views from our table were breathtaking, and, in fact, reminded me of ports around the Mediterranean.
Beinecke’s marina brought a new crowd to the island, and set off a period of manic building that spread like wildfire. Local townspeople feared for Nantucket’s wide-open spaces–and steps were taken (perhaps a bit late) to protect the shoreline and interior wetlands. But isn’t that the case everywhere in the world? All of the most beautiful places are eventually “found out.”
Despite its recent growth, Nantucket remains lovely, with plenty of charming diversions. For example, The Westmoor Club (a stone’s throw from my house) is a beautiful spot: it has great tennis, a fabulous spa (you can buy my perfume, Sortir le Soir, there!) and great dining. The last weekend I was there, the Westmoor Club held a dinner dance, complete with cocktails, a big buffet and a band that actually tired me out (and I love to dance).
It was a busy weekend on the island. Friday night, Benjamin Millepied of the New York City Ballet presented a troupe of fabulous dancers (I was so lucky to catch them!), as part of a week-long fundraising effort for the Nantucket Atheneum–a good cause and amazing entertainment. Then we had dinner at The Pearl, a great seafood place that’s both very simple and very beautiful: it’s like dining in an all-white aquarium full of exotic fish.
Whether you love biking, riding, sailing or just relaxing on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Nantucket is the place to be–and because I’ve been going there so long, and know the island so well, I’m able to avoid the crowds by slipping away to my favorite (secret) hangouts.
The natural beauty of Nantucket is unsurpassed, and parts of the island still offer wild and untouched scenes of picture-perfect New England: the rolling moors of tall grass and Queen Anne’s Lace look like they’ve come straight out of an Andrew Wyeth painting (or perhaps a Norman Rockwell). For a stateside, seaside getaway, Nantucket is about as chic as it gets!