ACKt 2: Nantucket Charm

One Kings Lane – a favorite on-line decor store of mine, as much for the photos that top their “shop the look” stories and designer profiles, as for their furnishings and the carefully curated bric a brac.  This morning, as I sit surrounded by bountiful Hydrangea bushes, their branches staggering under the weight of late summer blooms, a soft breeze and a quiet hum in the air, I feel the need to contest their assertion that you can “capture the spirit of Nantucket” by clicking add to cart.

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OKL – Could be Nantucket

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but some things simply can’t be bottled up and sold.  The cloud formations that float by in skies that feel vast, and unending.  Honey Suckle and cobblestones, fog horns and ship’s bells, vine ripe tomatoes and Pocomo oysters – salty and sweet all in one.  It’s old money and new, it’s battered, bright and briny, it’s quiet contemplation and sing-along yoo-hooing.  It’s the feelings you feel when you slow to a stroll instead of panicked run.  Those feelings you feel that speak truths about you, that can’t be captured in a painting or postcard.

Wharf Cottages . In town.

The writer suggests that you can recreate this feeling in your home, wherever it may be.  Perhaps that’s true, if the truth is that you’ve never been to Nantucket before, and your basis for recreation is the photograph they provide.  Still I discourage you not.  This place is special enough to give it a shot.

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Sconset Cottages

Me, I like my walks on the wharf, my voyeuristic tendencies kick into high gear as I peer, not so subtly into the home lives of the well-to-do, and connected.  I recently saw one of the cottages go up for sale.  A two bed for over $8M!  These are exposed stud, uninsulated, summer hide-aways.  Split swing front doors to let the breeze pass through, a hook here and there for a straw hat.  A bed, a book, a cooking nook.  Everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

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Peek-a-boo

Island living.  Oh I’ll take a piece of it here and there to sustain me through the long winter, but the charm of Nantucket for me, will always exists right here, 30 miles south of Cape Cod.

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ACKt 1: Arriving on island

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ACKting peaceful.

I made the boat with 4 minutes to spare.  Not exactly a relaxed entry into vacation mode, my sister’s Mercedes tailgating every unlucky tourist on 28 she happened to be behind.  She asked “Are you worried you wouldn’t make it?” She’s a speed demon, a hot dog, a lead footed roadster.  I wasn’t really afraid.  If you are going to be late, be late with Jo-Jo.  She’ll get you there.

I love and look forward to my annual visit to the island – this being suitable in its timeframe, not a fly-by.  Arriving by water allows for that relaxed dismissal of the world you are leaving behind.  The mainland retreats in the distance, a wake forms in your path, and it’s not too long at all before you spy Brandt Point Light in the distance.  I take deep gulps of air, a luscious mix of salt and oxygen filling my lungs, awakening my senses, anticipating what’s to come.

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Slow it down. Take a peek. 

I’ve stayed in lots of different places on this island, but the last few years, we’ve gravitated to places that surround town, or are cozied in and among the cottages of the boat basin.  There’s a freedom to being close to town that appeals.  Coming and going doesn’t require a taxi ride, a coordination effort, a render-vous point – though don’t get me wrong, I love to render-vous.  It’s free and easy.

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Willow in a haystack.

Dolphin Court might be little, but this house that I am staying in —- is not!  Four bedrooms, all en-suite baths, living, dining, den, kitchen, patio, deck, widows walk.  Serene and simple in its detailing, extravagant in its art.  No brand loyalty, but not a no-name brand in sight, it even has a mud room, and I’ve always wanted a place I could get dirty in, or arrive that way.

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Live like a child.

I spend a lot of time looking at places and asking myself why one pleases me or it doesn’t.  I’ve decided I can be won over – that’s right – I have a secret weak spot for perfect details, for beautiful craftsmanship.  It doesn’t even have to be my style or color palette.  If I feel that it’s been executed flawlessly – I’m in.

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Gone Fishin’ . See you in the fall.

Beyond that – what’s not to love about the magic number, on whatever old street she’s on in Nantucket.  She’s lucky and I am lucky to call this my vacation spot for a week.

The Original Tiny: lives large.

Nantucket has such depth – I fear that many that visit today have little idea of the magic of its beginnings – and of its staying power.  Known by the settlers as “Nantocket” meaning “At the Land far out at Sea”, Nantucket was thought of as little more than a sandbar.  Founded in 1676, Sconset – short for Siasconset is the last original settlement on the island.  The Indians came before the “New Englanders”, and lived in Wigwams – Archeologists unearthed evidence that these tiny homesteads existed.

The wigwam

A Tiny Dome . The Wigwam

Once on island, the New Englanders discovered the profitability of the Whaling trade.  Early construction of Whaling Stations, a barracks for 6 men housed the crew when ashore (a tiny house).  Year round residents lived in abodes fashioned by the influence of Georgian Style homes, which became the quintessential cottages of Sconset, and housed many a retired Whaling Captain.  Coveted for their simple shingle exteriors, the gardens, accented by wild roses, and ocean views.  The artist community thrives there today, which is no surprise as the seaside location, the abundance of natural light, and the gardens that are adjacent to most of the cottages offer an ideal setting for a Painter.

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Tiny – the island certainly contains much more than tiny today.  Mansions dot every beachfront patch of sand….but tiny attracts a certain type.  Those that don’t demand distraction, those that can sit in a moment, capture a sunset for future reflection, read a book in a nook, lay their head down on a pillow in a hanging bed, and feel grateful for the roof over their head.  There’s community in tiny living.  There’s connectedness – to nature, to one’s space.  It’s special and comforting, and I am fascinated by it.

I love the apartment I live in now.  I am wowed by the number of pathways I find to circulate from bedroom to kitchen, kitchen to bath, bath to living room, living room to bedroom and I can’t forget the deck.  At just 800 square feet this space feels enormous to me.  An acquaintance visited and said – “so it’s a studio”.  I chocked on my words, and thought oh…you aren’t my kind of person.  The vastness of this space is too much for me, and YOU find it limiting.  Me I can find and define myself by a small space, and make no mistake…..I am going to built one.

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A version in the works.

The world is a very small place – build tiny and be nice.

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Design Mom’s Hanging Bed….