A Damsel in Distress

Star of the Sea Youth Hostel

Star of the Sea youth hostel was formerly a life saving station.


It’s kind of ironic that I stayed at the Star of the Sea Youth Hostel in Nantucket. I really needed a reprieve from a chaotic visit to Martha’s Vineyard. The hostel was once a life saving station for distressed vessels. Now I was looking for shelter from a distressed encounter. 

Brant Point Lighthouse

Brant Point Lighthouse can be seen from the ferry.


Although the ferry ride was about a hour from Martha’s Vineyard, it felt a world away from the turmoil I had witnessed. I was happy to retreat to Nantucket for a few days of painting and quiet.

Old Brant Point Lighthouse

Most people don’t realize this a lighthouse because the lens is missing.


I had reluctantly booked a stay at the hostel. I thought the military style sleeping arrangements would not offer the peace and quiet that I needed. To my surprise there was a curfew with a time of quiet at night. 

Sankaty Lighthouse

Sankaty Lighthouse took a little maneuvering to get to.


After three days of quiet and completing 4 paintings, I felt renewed. The hostel was beautiful and I memorialized my visit by painting it. Of course the weather was windy and the water turbulent on the ferry ride back to Martha’s Vineyard. I was afraid it was an indicator of things to come. 

Surfside Life Saving Station in Nantucket, MA was established in 1874. The Life Saving Service is the precursor to today’s United States Coast Guard. It is a National Landmark.

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It takes a village to get to Sankaty

I knew from the start that my journey to Sankaty Lighthouse would be a long one. I stayed in a hostel on the southern coast of Nantucket Island at Surfside Beach and Sankaty Lighthouse was located on the eastern coast. I rode a bus into town then caught a bus to Sconset. 


Upon getting off the bus, I looked for directional signs to the lighthouse and found none. After walking the wrong way, I asked for directions. A couple of acquaintances the day before recommended the scenic route for the two mile trek to the lighthouse but gave no detailed instructions. Thankfully, I met a family who gave me printed instructions and tips for navigating the route. The path to lighthouse was scenic but tricky indeed. It led through a rocky road between some cottages then to a short paved walkway and to a grassy winding unmarked trail. 


As I crossed a couple of lawns during the walk, I became unnerved. I felt like I was trespassing but I had been reassured that the land on the path was public. After walking for a while, I became concerned that I was lost. One couple told me I was indeed lost and directed me toward the pavement. Another couple said they were walking to the lighthouse and invited me follow them along the grassy path I was on. This preposition seemed more reasonable. When the winding path eventually ended, we began the final 15 minute trek on a paved road to Sankaty Lighthouse. 


As I approached the lighthouse, I was delighted to see two lights flashing at the 70 foot red and white lighthouse ahead. Built in 1850, Sankaty lighthouse overlooks the Sankaty Head Golf Club and the Atlantic Ocean. There was marker indicating the previous location of the lighthouse which was moved in 2007. Signage told the story of the lighthouse. As I set down and sketched, I reflected on the long winding path and pondered how to include it in my final art. 


After being warned about the presence of deer ticks in the grassy areas, I decided forego the scenic route and take the paved road back to Sconset.