Island Living – Must Do’s

Here are some of my favorite things to do (in no particular order).

– A visit to Cisco Brewers is a must in my book. Featuring spirits, wines and hand crafted beers, Cisco has something for everyone. My advice is to head over to Bartlett’s Farm for some snacks and then make your way to the brewery. My drinks of choice include a nice cold Grey Lady and the Blueberry Lemonade.

– Since I was a little girl, I have always loved walking the docks at Straight Wharf. I feel like I am in a different world when I am surrounded by the beautiful yachts and sailboats and seeing how the other half lives is always fun!

– I love ice cream and from the line outside The Juice Bar, I clearly am not alone. Their ice cream is simply the best. I suggest spending the extra $1.25 for a homemade waffle cone. Lately I have been on a vanilla kick (boring, perhaps but so good) but their banana, brownie a la mode, and seasonal blackberry are crowd pleasers, I promise.

– Nantucket has a very interesting history, which I can proudly say my family was part of. Head over to The Whaling Museum and see the sewing table that my great, great-grandfather (I think that’s right) brought back from one of his journeys around South America to China. See, interesting history, right?!

– I have a confession to make, I have never done the Sconset/Polpis bike ride but I do promise that it is on my list of things to do this summer.

Squam Swamp is one of my favorite spots on the island. This 1.75 mile trail features vernal pools, amazing trees, bogs, and a swamp of course. Nature at its finest on this rock!

– I am a pseudo Nantucket art collector. I purchased my first piece in 2006, a landscape by Elizabeth Congdon and today my collection includes paintings by Gay Held, Robert Frazier, Katie Trinkle Legg, and Alison Hall Cooley. This is my long-winded way of saying that the artistic talent on this island runs deep and lucky for all of you, many of the galleries do Friday night openings throughout the summer. Check out Old Spouter Gallery , Robert Foster Gallery and East End Gallery for schedules. A perfect way to begin a weekend for sure.

Should you have other island favorites, I would love to hear!

Island Living – May’s Must Eats

I love food. And for a sandbar 30 miles out to sea, this island certainly has much to offer a culinary enthusiast like me. Since it would be nearly impossible to narrow my list down to a “Top 5”, let’s compromise and go with a list of “May’s Must Eats.” It may take you more than a week to get through but I must confess that I have been known to double up on meals while on vacation. You do too, right?!

Let’s start with breakfast.

Black Eyed Susan’s – A local favorite for sure, this little spot on India Street is well worth the wait. During the height of the season, you will usually be part of a line at least ten deep. My advice is to grab a coffee across the street at The Bean and be patient as the breakfast offerings are simply the best. Spicy thai veggie scramble, huevos rancheros, buttermilk pancakes. Gosh, I am hungry just thinking about it.

The Green – I try my best to eat an organic and mainly vegetarian diet and the arrival of The Green to the island a few years back has certainly helped with this life style choice. Their offerings of fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and baked goods make it an easy choice for a breakfast on-the-go. Might I suggest their veggie egg sandwich on a multi-grain bagel with tomato salsa and guac. Delicious!

Sconset Café – Sconset is a quaint village nearly seven miles from town so it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Main Street on a summer morning. I always order the café special: scrambled eggs with herbed cream cheese and a blueberry muffin toasted on the grill. After breakfast, indulge in the Sconset bluff walk. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

The Lunch Hour

Something Natural – There is one day I try not to miss and that’s opening day of Something Natural, the best sandwich shop ever. Tucked back off Cliff Road, I love taking my bike here before heading to Cliffside or Step’s Beach. I usually call in my order as to avoid the crazy lines. My go-to’s include Sheila’s Favorite (Swiss cheese, carrots, pickles, tomatoes on oatmeal bread) or the curried chicken salad on herb bread with lettuce and tomato. The owner, Matt Fee, has created his own red zinger ice tea, which has become one of my favorite summer beverages. And their chocolate chip cookies. Just try one and you will see what I mean!

Slip 14 – Down the beautiful shell path on Old South Wharf, you will stumble upon Slip 14. One of the few options for dining on the water, Slip 14 is the idyllic spot for lunch after meeting friends coming off the noon boat. Fish tacos, oysters, and the best calamari I have ever tasted. ..this is a seafood lovers paradise!

Lola Burger – Moving from its former take-out location on the strip to the old Rotary space, Lola Burger has caused quite a buzz since opening nearly a month ago. Burgers, fries, and Greek yogurt milk shakes… how could you go wrong. Their beer selection is of note too so it become the perfect pre or post-beach snack.

Centre Street Bistro – One of a handful of restaurants that stay open year-round, the Bistro is a spot I frequent on a nearly weekly basis. Ruth and Tim Pitts, owners and chef extrodianaire’s, offer an eclectic offering of lunch options including a decadent goat cheese tart over greens, a red curry veggie roll-up and a black bean burrito that is my sister’s favorite thing to eat. In the fall and winter months, I am an addict for their creamy tomato soup with bread. The perfect comfort meal!

And if you are still hungry… dinner!

The Boarding House – Seth and Angela Raynor have a culinary empire on Nantucket that never fails. Owners and chefs of The Boarding House, The Pearl and Corazon Del Mar, you can’t go wrong. If I am in one of those moods where I don’t want to cook for myself, I head over to the bar, order a glass of the Sancerre, the kale salad and indulge in the 5 pm ricotta. A simple yet perfect way to end a long day!

American Seasons – Celebrating their 25th season, American Seasons is my go-to for that special meal out. To celebrate a special someone, enjoy a romantic meal with the one you love… I just love this spot. My favorites this season include the warm cumin & roasted carrot salad with golden raisins, puffed quinoa and spring greens followed by the farro “risotto” with spring vegetables, Vermont cloth bound cheddar and finished with a soft poached egg. The combination of flavors and presentation make this meal simply divine.

Millie’s – Named after the beloved “Madaket Millie” Jewett, a Nantucket legend who embodied the self reliant spirit of native islanders, Millie’s is the perfect spot to take in a Nantucket sunset on the west end of the island. Grab a spot at the bar, order a Grey Lady from Cisco Brewery and the Hither Creeks tacos, and I promise you will have a perfect island night! Millie’s offers a complimentary shuttle from town, so if you are without a car, not to worry.

Cru – In its second season, Cru is the place to go if you want to be seen. I tend to fly a bit more under the radar so opt for a spot in the back bar (which has the most beautiful interior), order a dozen oysters, the blue crab cocktail and the crucomber, which is one of the best gin and cucumber drinks on the island.

Pi Pizza – What can I say… I’m a simple girl and love nothing more than a great pizza and a nice cold beer. I have tried margherita pizzas across this great country and even waited in line at the infamous Flour and Water in San Francisco for theirs and have to say I have never found one that even comes close tot the margherita at Pi. If you are looking for a bit more sustenance, their offering of pastas are spot-on as well. For that easy, no fuss meal, it’s always Pi.

Island Living – Shopping

Yesterday was my first beach day, which means that the summer season is upon us. As I know you may be planning your island visit, I thought this week would be the perfect time to share with you some of my favorites. So as to not overwhelm you, I’ll break it down by categories: shopping; eating; island activities, new & noteworthy and finally my favorite island day. I hope you enjoy.

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I know I may be a bit biased, but the shopping on Nantucket is simply the best. Here are my “Top 5” that I visit on a nearly weekly basis. Have I mentioned I have a slight shopping problem?!

The Lovely – The name certainly says it all. Offering an inspired mix of feminine, classic and refined bohemian, this little jewel has become my go-to for all things, well… lovely! Julie Biondi, proprietress and all around fabulous style icon, has an eye like no other. I have known Julie for years and couldn’t be happier for her on creating a store that in a very short time has become an island institution. I really can’t leave this store empty-handed. Some recent indulgences include this Tucker top, these clogs, and this little sleep set.

Trillium – Trillium is to home goods what The Lovely is to fashion and Robin, the owner extraordinaire, is one of the chicest ladies I know. Her exquisite shop on Washington Street, carries all of my favorites: John Robshaw bedding, John Derian trays, Kim Seybert tabletop items and a selection of pillows by Adam & Viktoria that I simply lust over. Last summer I invested in these Billy Cotton glasses and they have become one of my prized possessions!

Erica Wilson – What began as a spot to pick up an iconic Erica Wilson needlepoint kit (gosh, I really need to hone in on my creative talents and make one of those belts) has become a shopping destination for those looking for classic and beach inspired pieces. Carrying favorites like Roberta Freymann, Hartford, Calypso St. Barts and Sanctuary, I stop into Erica Wilson when I am searching for that iconic piece that I know will be a staple in my wardrobe for years to come.

Atlantic – If I were to open a store on Nantucket it would be like this. A collection of all things that the owner loves… jewelry, antiques and the best selection of little summer tops I have seen. I stopped in over the weekend (you can find the shop at 10 Straight Wharf) and fell in-love with a pair of vintage milk glass lamps with gold stars on them and picked up this top, which I wore to a dinner on the beach last night. Just love it!

Hepburn – I may have purchased my prom dress here years ago, which lets you know how long I have been a loyal fan. Inspired by the grace and beauty of both Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, the aesthetic of this store is just that… graceful, understated and timeless. Hepburn offers a well-edited collection of pieces from Trina Turk, Nanette Lepore, Michael Stars, and Paige Denim (just to name a few). If you are looking for the perfect dress to wear to an island wedding, stop on by 3 Salem Street and say hello to my dear friend, Tracy Berry.

Book Club

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I go through phases where I devour books and fortunately for my intellect, I am in such a moment. I have just completed The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and all I can say is wow. This short little read (only 163 pages) certainly packs a punch. It addresses the notion of memory and how one remembers and shares the past. “How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.” How do you tell your life story? Do you hide the pain? Do you embrace the rough patches? Owning my past and the choices I have made has been one of the best lessons I have come to terms with since moving home to this little island. Are there painful memories I wish to erase… at moments yes but I also know that they have made me who I am today and you know what, I am forever grateful for that.

Next up, My Berlin Kitchen.

In the Kitchen

Cookies
Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, right? A dear friend’s wife shared this recipe with me a few years back and it has been a staple in my kitchen since. What I love most about this recipe is that the cookies are both chewy and crispy. Perfection in my opinion!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1 egg yoke (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli®)

Directions
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a stand mixer (gosh, I love mine), cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg and egg yoke and incorporate well.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Once well incorporated, remove bowl from mixer and add chips by hand.
5. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes (with my oven, these are usually perfect at the 13 minute mark).

Now pour yourself a tall glass of milk and enjoy!

Success

I have a slight problem. I obsess over things. And not just dinner menus, or boys, or what I want to be when I grow up but really big things like finding the perfect denim shirt. Since last summer, I have tried on, ordered, and returned nearly a dozen. But then, success! Last Friday while taking a little stroll during my lunch break I stopped into a new little boutique on the island and found it… the perfect denim/chambray shirt. Good things really do come to those who wait! This little Rory Beca number is perfect. I fashioned it yesterday with my go-to white jeans, my favorite fedora, and some simple gold necklaces. This will most certainly be my go-to early summer outfit. Couldn’t be happier!

*Update: Looks like I made this week’s Mahon about Town!