Perched high on a cliff, East Chop Lighthouse is located in a quiet residential area. Surrounded by a grassy area with a picket fence and benches, the idyllic setting belies its noble purpose. The perils offshore inspired a mariner to raise money to privately build the lighthous in 1869.
I love lighthouses but some more than others. Old Brant Point Lighthouse has no lens. Maybe this is why it connected with my artistic soul. I noticed that most people passed by this lighthouse on the way to see Brant Point Lighthouse a few steps away.
They only paused to look at the old lighthouse when they saw me drawing it. When they paused, I felt like I had achieved my purpose. That is really why I paint lighthouses. I want to offer people a moment to reflect and pause. It is in those moments that we can rediscover ourselves and the world around us.
After painting Florida’s towering lighthouses, I was startled when I first encountered New England’s stout lighthouses. After having painted two on Martha’s Vineyard, I smiled when I approached Nantucket’s little Brant Point Lighthouse. It is New England’s shortest lighthouse and the site of America’s second oldest lighthouse. The current lighthouse was built in 1901.
To cap off the meal and my celebration, I ordered a Pina Colada Mocktail. It was almost too beautiful to drink! It came with pineapples, coconut and lime. It was as good to look at as it was to drink.
Easy Street Cantina in Nantucket offers a diverse menu. There’s much to choose from: nachos, tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches and wraps. While I settled for a falafel wrap, for those who are looking for a taste of New England there’s seafood and chowder on the menu.
I enjoyed the easy going atmosphere and quick service at the restaurant. The dining is informal; there’s self seating. Outdoor and indoor seating is available. Easy Street also offers curbside dinning for those in a hurry.
Granted Nantucket is known as an upscale resort with pricey hotels. The visitors read like a who’s who list from Fortune 500. Despite of all the pricey obstacles, I was lured by the four lighthouses. I was also intrigued about staying at a historic building. Star of the Sea Hostel in Nantucket was once a Life Saving Station. It had been a part of the United States Life Saving Service.
I admit to being reluctant about staying at this hostel. I mean I didn’t know to expect when I booked two nights for $80. That wasn’t exactly the going rate in Nantucket. Yet, I recalled saving a bundle of cash and being happy when I stayed at the dorms at historic Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and Suffolk University in Boston. But a dorm with 32 bunk beds didn’t seem very inviting. I wondered about privacy and the bathrooms.
But the excitement of staying where the Keepers would look for shipwrecks was persuasive. There are steps to the lookou in the women’s dorm where I would be sleeping. I finally voted in favor of the lookout, lighthouses and my pocketbook when I read all the positive reviews.
My bunk was on the bottom in a quiet corner of the dorm. The first night the dorm was packed. But at night the dorm was quiet because everyone observed the quiet hours from 10 pm to 7 am. I watched a movie with the free wifi and put my phone on silent.
In the morning there was a light complimentary breakfast with cereal, coffee and assorted breads. For those who want to prepare a heavier meal, there’s a fully equipped kitchen with dishes, pots and more.
My second evening at the hostel was extremely quiet as most of the quests had checked out. During my stay, three ladies were kind enough to befriend me and invite me to sit at their table. I learned from them that there are cabins for rent in addition to the beds in the female dorm. They also taught me the truth of hostel’s motto: “There are no strangers only friends you haven’t met.”
The next day, I caught the first bus to Downtown Nantucket and the second one to the village of Sconset. My final destination, Sankaty Lighthouse was 2 miles away at Siasconset Beach. I walked to the lighthouse and sketched it for over an hour.
After catching the bus back to downtown, I stopped by East Street Cantina and Stop and Shop. I had such a pleasant experience with Clyde the cab driver, I decided to take another one of his cabs driven by his wife for the ride back to the hostel. She answered a few lingering questions I had about the island.
The nights were peaceful at Star of the Sea hostel. Everyone abided by the quiet curfew from 10 pm-7 am. During my final night, I had only had a few summer campers as my bunk mates.
The serenity of the hostel is reflective of the island. The island was designated a national landmark in the 50s. A commission actively limits construction to ensure that the island is homogeneous and uniform. Almost all the houses have cedar shingles. The cobble stoned streets in the Historic District hail from an earlier era. There are boutique shops, restaurants and museums to explore. Since Nantucket was once the Whaling Capital of the world, there’s a fascinating Whaling Museum. I bought a few souvenirs from the gift shop on my final day.
When I returned from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard, my cousin and his mom greeted me at the dock and asked about my trip. It’s the best one I can remember, I replied. My escape to Nantucket delivered more than I expected. The quaint resort and peaceful island was relaxing and a welcome reprieve.