Friday, October 2, 2020

Come Home To Us                                               


Autumn in Nantucket, especially at the Martin House Inn, is a step back into simpler times, the familiar feeling of a free-fall into the pile of leaves you loved in your youth, a sweet respite of ocean air, gentle breezes, comfortable beds with fluffy down comforters, fireplaces, and the pampering we all need, especially now. 


Despite the turmoil of this year, the fall of 2020 keeps getting better for the Martin House!  Recently voted the best bed and breakfast on Nantucket, featured on Bloomberg news, the subject of at least three videos you can view on our website, our property glowing in three recent photo shoots by Jack Vatcher, Michael Silvia/the New Bedford Guy, and Georgie Morley/Happy Place, the Martin House Inn is feeling grateful and loved. 

As we move into Indian Summer, the season extended by our fire towers and fire pit, we urge you to come for a shoulder season visit, when our rates are significantly lower, the island is still vibrant (but less crowded), and the autumn wraps around you like its hallmark sweaters.  Fall is a beautiful time to discover and enjoy all that Nantucket has to offer. While there won’t be a formal cranberry festival this year, the cranberries will still turn crimson, ripen and be harvested, and we will be offering decadent chocolate/cranberry scones, and many other seasonal treats.  And maybe Halloween won’t happen in its traditional sense, but we have hundreds of candy bars for the taking! 


From the moment the sun peeks over the horizon, the colors of autumn will continue to intensify and you will be greeted by the golden and orange hues of changing leaves, the pumpkins and scarecrow on our porch, the fall offerings in our serenity gardens, and so much more.  Or you can sit inside in front of a roaring fire with a good book or enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of wine on our roof walk, observing the routes of ancient sailing ships and reveling in the timelessness of island life.


Once you are here, there is much to fill your days. Enjoy beaches, hiking and biking trails, the crashing surf, outdoor dining, glorious sunrises and romantic sunsets,the magic of  

the island's vibrant night skies, repleat with bright planets and thousands of stars.  Nantucket is truly a haven in the autumn- leisurely shopping, fall fishing, sunset cruises, the harvests at the cranberry bogs and at Bartlett’s Farm (be sure to visit Cisco Brewers while you are out that way), and so much more. 


Getting here is easier now with Southern Airways new fast daily flights from Boston/Norwood, New Bedford, Providence and Hyannis airports.  Flights take less than 30 minutes!  So why not treat yourself and someone you love to a weekend or even an overnight stay at the Martin House soon!  Southern Airways is offering Martin House guests a 20% discount for travel through December 22, 2020. Book online at, or call Southern at 800 329-0485 and use the code ONESOUTH25.  Or if you prefer to come by boat, both the Hyline (508 778-2600) and the Steamship (508 477-8600) offer daily service and are just a short walk from the Martin House.  For new bookings for stays between October 15 and Thanksgiving Day, we are offering a 15% discount from our regular rates if you mention FALL-FOR-US when you book direct. 

Looking forward, you may have read that Christmas Stroll 2020 has been postponed until 2021.  Certain events that involve large gatherings - the Stroll parade, the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and the in-person red-ticket drawing will not be a part of the island’s holiday activities this year.  With public safety a priority for all of us during these days of Covid, however, the Town of Nantucket has reimagined the Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations, to spread out the festivities from November 27th through December 31st this year.  Come home to the Martin House during our extended holiday season and enjoy a Dickensian old-fashioned holiday and a 10% discount from our regular rates for a 2 night stay (or a 15% discount for a three night stay) for new bookings simply by mentioning the code NANTUCKETNOEL.  The Nantucket Noel is a shop-local initiative which has been created to allow residents and visitors alike to safely enjoy the magic of the holiday season on Nantucket and to find unique Nantucket gifts for the holidays.


Our partnership with Southern Airways will make getting here easier, quicker, and less expensive, or you can simply hop on a ferry (taking the slow or fast boats offered by the Steamship and/or the Hyline) for a more leisurely journey.  For those who worry about going inside restaurants during their Nantucket Noel visit, we have you covered.  We have partnered with the Centre Street Bistro  on-line and the Nantucket Tap Room to offer take-out dinners and will continue to explore additional take-out options which you can enjoy in the comfort of your room or in one of our several gathering areas if you book your stay with a dinner package.  An added bonus, for your December stays, this year’s holiday gift from us to you is homemade and will serve as a sweet reminder of your stay with us throughout all of 2021. 

We are still here for you.  Come home to us!

Thursday, September 3, 2020


September on Nantucket


On this first day of September, we woke to cool, crisp air, blue skies with wispy clouds, and a subtle woodsy  scent carried by gentle breezes.  There is a magical quality to Nantucket in September– as the days shorten, at once a saudade for the light and joy of the Nantucket summer and a longing for the slowing and colors as well as sweet treats (sweater weather, tomato and pumpkin picking and Halloween candy) that autumn offers.   


Already, the momentum has slowed just a bit.  The traffic on streets and beaches is lighter, restaurants have more availability and it remains temperate enough for meals Parisian style at outdoor bistros, and people are wrapped in comfortable sweaters at nightfall. 


Indian Summer on Nantucket may be our favorite time of the year here. The days are still warm enough to visit your favorite beaches to revel in a sunrise or walk or bike one of the meandering Nantucket Conservation trails.  Their Family Staycation Scavenger Hunt is back!  September 1st to 15th there are 6 new self-guided path to enjoy. 


Evenings are cooler- perfect for cozying up for a romantic evening in front of our fire pit in the beauty of our serenity garden, or simply relaxing on our veranda in the warmth and glow of our standing fire towers.


In between, there is much to do, starting with our wonderful breakfasts.  Cranberry season is fast approaching and soon, you’ll be able to take Nantucket cranberries, home with you to use in your favorite recipes.  Just this morning we served our dark chocolate cranberry scones!  

From stores and restaurants, to Cisco Brewery or a sojourn to the quaint village of ‘Sconset (and its sweeping views of the Easternmost shores of the United States) or Madaket for its magnificent beaches, or to simply an afternoon reading in one of the Martin House nooks, you won’t be disappointed.


We enter this September with a deep sense of joy and gratitude for the honor bestowed upon us by our family of guests in voting us Number 1 Bed and Breakfast in Nantucket.  Thank you for all the love and support!  In return, we are offering a 15% discount for new September stays if you book direct and mention Best of Nantucket!  Be safe, and come home to us soon!



Monday, August 3, 2020

If You’re Lucky Enough to Be on Nantucket, You’re Lucky Enough

Early morning on Nantucket is my favorite time.  Whether the day is sunny or blanketed by a thick fog, swelteringly hot or bitter cold, I breathe in the fresh Nantucket air, revel in the melody of birds’ songs and the rhythmic rush of the waves to the shore, and I take time for myself.  The first part of my morning walk is the time I devote to making a mental list of everything I am grateful for.  Having done this for many years, I have learned that the saying that “we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time” is true and that as I practice gratitude, thoughts of whatever I think I lack dissipate until all I feel is a sense of abundance.  And so each day begins.

As I walked back from Sankaty lighthouse on the cliff walk overlooking the pristine easternmost shores of the island today and contemplated the blessings we share, I saw the tagline of this blog painted onto a piece of driftwood.  

And it reminded me, once again, of how privileged we all are to spend time on this magical island thirty miles out to sea.  It reminded me of the rich history of the island, its people, its architecture, its ecosystem, its healthcare and its governance.  It reminded me that a very small island can engender a very large amount of gratitude.  And it reminded me of why I first came to Nantucket, and of why you come back to us again and again.

 Today, the State’s travel order becomes effective, adding another challenge to an already faltering Nantucket economy- especially in the hospitality sector which already faced a 3 month shutdown, an influx of new rules and a need to implement new safety and serving standards to protect our guests and staff.  The order requires that visitors to the island complete an on-line travel form and quarantine for 14 days or test negative for Covid-19 in a test taken within 72 hours of arrival unless they are coming from one of the states labeled “lower risk”.  To those of you coming from one of the 42 states that are not lower risk states who cannot get a test result in that timeframe and don’t have the luxury of staying for 14 days, we are truly sorry, will miss you and hope that you will come back to us when it is safe to do so.  The good news is that both the State of Massachusetts and the Town of Nantucket and its various departments take the health of all residents and visitors very seriously and have consistently made difficult choices in their quest to balance serious health and safety concerns with the health of the State’s and Island’s ailing businesses.

A 100% woman-owned and operated business, we are honored to be the custodians of the over 200 year old Martin House, a piece of Nantucket history, formerly a sea captain’s home and now a gracious inn making Nantucket accessible to you. 

We are grateful that, despite all the uncertainties swirling around the pandemic, you are still traveling to us when permitted to do so.  We are in this business because we love to host you.

We are indebted to and blessed by the selfless dedication of Claire, our innkeeper, and Sari, our head of housekeeping who are truly the faces of the inn, as well as our other staff.   All have gone above the call of duty and are working harder and longer to make the inn a warm and welcoming respite that complies with all CDC guidelines.

We are thankful for our own good health, and that of our families and friends, staff and guests, and are committed to taking good care of you when you visit. 

We are happy to welcome you into the Martin House, your Nantucket home, when you come.  We find your joy and relaxation infectious and your presence makes us joyful in turn.

We appreciate everything the Town and the State are doing to keep the island thriving.    Because of their insights and foresight, the island is open and adjusting to the impact of the pandemic as the community and visitors work together to flatten the curve.  The Martin House is open for business and offers many open air gathering spaces for you and your friends.   

If you are coming from one of the 8 lower risk states, please consider visiting us.  While many events are cancelled, there is still much to do while you are here.  Restaurants are open with new al fresco dining reminiscent of outdoor cafes in Paris and Italy; fishing and excursion boats and tours are running, the island’s multitude of trails and beaches and bike paths are open and offer opportunities for solitude and unprecedented beauty, and our own veranda and roof walk and serenity garden provide forums for reading and quiet times with friends.  Come home to us and make new memories.  We remain grateful for and honored by the opportunity to host you! 

Lisa Soeder, Owner (On behalf of Martin House Team)
August 1, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020


For many of us, the phrase “dog days of summer,” evokes images of the seemingly endless sun-soaked days of July on Nantucket, the restorative combination of gentle ocean breezes, the sweet wafting scent of flowers in full and glorious bloom, the beauty and uniqueness of the island’s cobbled streets, increasingly earlier sunrises and ever later sunsets, moon and star-lit skies - the days and nights we wish would never end.  The season we used to anticipate and appreciate with the innocence, abandon and lack of self-consciousness reserved for children and puppies.  These are the simple pleasures we come back to Nantucket to recreate.  Because that kind of magic and escape to simpler times is possible on island.  People from all over the world step onto our shores and breathe a collective sigh of relief, leaving the real world behind, if only for a while, and embracing the child within. 

The dog days of summer fall primarily in July (July 3rd to August 11th), but are named for the Sirius the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky, in the constellation of Canis Major.  On Nantucket, 26 miles out to sea and far from the bright lights of larger cities, one can actually see the stars and planets with bare eyes, the luminescence of the evening sky, and our places in the universe more clearly. 

Here at the Martin House Inn, during a summer that is different from any we have ever known, we are reveling in the slowdown, the gift of time, and the opportunity to savor the more subtle offerings of the island.  While there may not be as many events and physical festivals or galas, opportunities to dine or enjoy theatre inside or to feel our hearts leap at the crack of fireworks, there is still much to do.  We are resilient and stronger than we know.  We adapt as we remember the wonder of the sun inching over the horizon, the breeze on our face as we bicycle on one of the many bike paths, the wild and beautiful vegetation and wildlife that a beach walk or a hike on one of the islands countless trails offers. 

While there may be less to do indoors, in July in Nantucket, there is much to do in our beautiful scenic outdoors.  Start the day with breakfast on our comfortable veranda or in our serenity garden where there is ample space for social distancing, and enjoy gourmet coffee, homemade scones and pastries, yogurt parfait with our famous granola and fresh berries.  Vacation offers opportunities we don’t always have in our daily lives to exercise a little more.  You might start your day, even before breakfast, with an early morning walk from Steps Beach to Brant Point for a glimpse of the sea’s morning offering of thousands of delicate shells in hues of pink and tan.    Or yoga at the grandstand at Children’s Beach. Or a bike ride.  For a shorter stroll, you can walk out our front door down Lily Street to Lily Pond, over its wooden bridges and trails, or through our crooked streets to Something Natural for the world’s largest sandwiches.  From there you can cut through to the Oldest House or you can take your sandwich to Jetties Beach and walk further down to where no one has ventured for an afternoon of solitude. Later, you might settle into a comfortable couch or one of our lounge chairs (in the yard or on the roof walk) with our homemade afternoon snacks and your book or journal.  Or you might head downtown and find a quiet nook behind the Handlebar Café to enjoy an iced coffee or tea, or stop at the Juice Bar for a waffle cone filled with homemade ice-cream and eat it on one of the benches by the harbor as you watch the boats come in. Or partake of some retail therapy perusing the offerings of our wonderfully unique local boutiques, galleries, antique stores and jewelry stores. 

The island has closed streets and opened new opportunities for alfresco dining, and promoting the sustainability of our world renowned restaurants.  Enjoy fresh caught seafood, locally sourced foods and vegetables and the alchemy of the island’s inspired chefs as you people watch in downtown Nantucket. 

On Saturdays, you can stroll through our artisans, crafts and farmer’s market and then take a bus to the storybook village of Sconset, where you can walk through streets of 18th century rose-covered cottages and see artists painting plein aire scenes more beautiful than you can ever have imagined.  Enjoy lunch overlooking the ocean at the Summer House Bistro or pick up a sandwich from Claudette’s or a meal from the Sconset Café or the Sconset Market and seal watch while you eat, or enjoy fine dining in the gardens of the Chanticleer.   Don’t leave the village, however, without finding your way to the picturesque cliff walk and its panoramic vistas of the island’s easternmost shores.  On another day, head due west to Madaket and its windswept beaches and watch the sunset at Millie’s with a Madaket Mystery and a delicious healthy meal.  You may need to stay awhile, as there’s also the famous Cisco Brewery, with live music and craft beer, Nantucket wines and spirits (including the award-winning Notch).  And Quidnet Pond, with its warm shallow waters great for children and pets, Squam Swamp great for hiking through lush wooded areas or the moors and cranberry bogs for more open spaces, three different lighthouses to explore, fishing excursions and delightful open air boat rides to Toppers at the Wauwinet which offers exquisite outdoor dining.  Or if you can’t stay (or cannot get here this summer), take a step back to simpler times and bring Nantucket (and the Martin House) into your home on July 26th at 6pm by tuning into The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s first ever old-fashioned televised variety show/telethon which will feature performances, interviews, messages and reflections of familiar and well-known performers. 

In its timeless and ageless manner, Nantucket offers all who come to its shores the greatest gift- a journey back towards youth and childlike innocence and optimism, the space and opportunity to rediscover oneself, an immersion into a world with less stress and negativity, akin to a dip in the fountain of youth, a reset.  We hope that we can lure you back to Nantucket Island and to the Martin House Inn during the dog days of summer and that the experience illuminates for you the strength and healing powers inside each of you that are triggered by time, relaxation, exercise and gratitude.  And if our words aren’t enough of a draw, perhaps the 15% discount we are offering for new July reservations will entice you back to our shores and doors.  Mention “Dog Days of Summer”.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to welcome you home to us.

Monday, June 1, 2020

photo - Immanuel Chac

Nantucket - A Blissful Oasis During Troubled Times

photo ~ Immnuel Chac
Finally, we are nearing our June 8th anticipated re-opening!  Like the rest of the Massachusetts hospitality industry, the Martin House Inn falls into the second phase of the reopening guidelines. In anticipation, we have been bustling about, energized by the thought of welcoming you back to this beautiful oasis of an island!  Ferns rustle gently in the breeze on our gracious veranda.  Our window boxes and planters are filled with vibrant flowers; the herb garden is bountiful, overflowing with fresh herbs to complement our recipes.  The fountains again create a peaceful trickling backdrop to our serenity gardens, awaiting only your presence.  In our many gathering areas, there is ample room for relaxation and social distancing.

We are excited to welcome you home to the beauty that is Nantucket, to the endless walking trails and empty beaches, the island’s culinary and cultural offerings, and to the extraordinary health benefits of being ocean bound.  Restaurants island-wide have opened for curb-side pick-up and will open further during this next phase.  Once again, we savor the tastes of a Nantucket summer- the sweetness of Bartlett’s fresh tomatoes and corn, ice-cream in waffle cones at the Juice Bar, Sayle’s lobster bakes, Wicked’s morning buns, the ‘Sconset Market’s croissants and coffee, and Cisco’s cold beers.  We revel in how the sun and the breeze feel as they move across our skin, and we awake and end the days to the haunting  sound of the ferry’s horn as it rounds Brant Point, reminding all of how carefree and timeless a summer day on island can be, and knowing it will soon bring you to us.   

COVID has changed us in ways we couldn’t have envisioned- allowing us to catch up on our reading, learn to cook, bake or meditate, take a virtual course, get in shape, and fall in love with ourselves and others and Nantucket all over again.  We have had time to adapt, to reinvent ourselves when we needed to and to find ways to adjust the parts of us that needed adjusting.  Each day, we learn how little we really need to survive, and in the process we learn what is truly important.  Put simply, we consciously choose positivity and possibility, and connection, as socially distanced as that may have to be; we stay connected through social media and the wonders of technology.  As we moved through these months, we have been increasingly astounded and inspired by the sense of community that has enabled Nantucket to reenvision the summer of 2020.   Our island and its businesses embraced the necessary changes with creativity and optimism, sustaining residents and visitors alike in the knowledge that we are all interconnected and that we will all do everything we can to foster and ensure the safety of all who come to our shores. 

As our shelter in place orders slowly lift, and the island reopens in baby steps, there is still time to love ourselves and each other more fiercely, to cherish our time together and our time apart, to believe in the best that is in us, to redefine success and to be governed not by hope or by fear but by the realization of how interconnected we all are - each person and each nation.  We can learn to remain open to the future unfolding in all of its tainted glory, and to love it nonetheless.  We move forward in  the knowledge that in the end, we become only what we believe we can be.  So believe in the best that is in you and in each of us. 

We at the Martin House Inn look forward to welcoming you home, to a sweet and peaceful respite, on a magical far-away island.