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


THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER ON NANTUCKET ISLAND

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.







Friday, May 1, 2020



Some people say that the daffodil is the harbinger of springtime.  Shaped like a trumpet, it announces to the other plants and flowers that spring has arrived!




This year’s vernal equinox marked the beginning of the earliest spring in the United States in the past 124 years, and also the most unusual spring in our lifetimes. On March 20th, the sun appeared to rise exactly east and to set exactly west in Nantucket, and night and day were equal. Since then, the days have grown longer, the sun has glowed brighter (between the showers that April brought), the birds have sung louder and the earth busied itself nurturing glorious new life. As we enter May more secluded than all of the previous Mays I have known, I have become acutely aware of the rebirth that spring embodies. The early morning wake up calls of the beautiful cardinals, chickadees, and red breasted robins start each lengthening day off with the purest of songs. Each sunrise is a new beginning. Each bud a miracle, each flower a gift. Rain or shine, the offerings of a spring day provide a wonderful reminder of all the hopefulness and beauty that exists in our world and on our island 26 miles out to sea. And each signifies a healing and new beginning.






As some of you may know this past weekend would have been Nantucket’s 46th annual Chamber of Commerce Daffodil Festival. Due to the current COVID situation, the regular Daffodil festivities were postponed.  That didn’t stop the spirit of Nantucketers though! 




Beginning Friday, April 24, Nantucket kicked off the iconic rite of spring weekend with a virtual Flower Power Party via @ACKHistory Instagram live and on 97.7 ACK FM radio. In the true spirit of our wonderful community, and to honor past tradition, a group of individuals decorated  a parade of cars and drove them out to ‘Sconset.  Some folks parked and enjoyed picnics in the ‘Sconset sunlight, complete with gentle ocean breezes, while socially distancing, of course.   


Courtesy NISHA


On Facebook, #dailydaffodil had members posting photos of daffodils every day in the month of April for folks far and wide to enjoy.  The Chamber set up on Instagram the hashtag #ACKDaffy, and tag @ACKChamber.  People posted photos of the event from past years. Many held picnics in their yards, decorated hats with glorious, imaginative designs.  The NISHA Daffy Dog Parade even went ahead virtually with pets sporting their best daffy attire.


Every week from April 9-April 30, The Inquirer and Mirror ran a Virtual Daffodil festival, featuring stories of the history of the festival, of how to hold your own backyard daffodil picnic (with recipes by Sarah Chase), and of how to pick, preserve and place your own daffodils in a beautiful arrangement.  And between the local news and the miracle of social media, everyone world-wide was able to partake in the ebullient spirit of this beloved event that has for almost 50 years marked the real start our island season.


Although we were not able to share all the Daffy-delights  with you in person,  it is heartwarming to watch the  island awaken and the people who love Nantucket come together in person and virtually,  with spirits uplifted, to celebrate life, friendship, nature and springtime.  While we are facing an unknown, we find our joy where we can, and there is a spring in our step as we honor our traditions.  


Seneca said that “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”  We look forward to a sweet, post-COVID era when it is once again safe to welcome you to our shores and through our doors.  You are the reason we became innkeepers.  We enjoy your company, your stories, your ability to lift our hearts just by being here.  Until we meet in person again, we will continue to reach out to you virtually, to remind you of the beauty that is Nantucket, and that you are a major part of what makes it a place to love!

Be well, stay safe, stay in touch (albeit from a distance), and Happy Mother's Day!


Searching for a Mother's Day gift idea?  Martin House Inn gift certificates, when purchased in the Month of May 2020, will receive a 15% discount on future stays.*




*Cannot be combined with other offers. Not available for holiday or special events.


Friday, April 3, 2020


IN THIS TOGETHER
People are drawn to Nantucket’s timeless shores, cobbled streets, gourmet restaurants, unique shops and historical treasures.  At Martin House Inn, they are catapulted back to a simpler time, to a slowing of pace, an allowance of connectiveness, the joy of reading a book, feeling the caress of a sweet breeze as it glides across our veranda, sipping wine to the peaceful sounds of water trickling from the fountains in our serenity gardens, watching the sun dawn on another new day or set on the sweeping horizon visible from our roofwalk.

But people come back to Nantucket, again and again, to revel in our unique sense of community. Our people, and the guests we attract to this beautiful island 30 miles out to sea, are our true treasures. We support each other, and celebrate both our individuality and our sameness.

 

As the island awakens this spring, we find ourselves in uncharted territory. We want to be surrounded by friends and family, but we keep our distance. And in the process, we somehow become closer to who we are, to those we love. We lament that our family, guests and friends can not necessarily be here during these uncertain times of social distancing, but hope that steps that separate us today assure a safer and healthier future. That memories of times together, of prior visits, of plans for future gatherings bring solace. We miss you, our guests.

While most restaurants and businesses are closed and many events have been cancelled or postponed, those who live here in the off-season have, of necessity, embraced social distancing in our vast open spaces - enjoying long walks on beaches and through our bogs and hidden forests and conservation lands, practicing yoga and tai chi on our beaches. While at home, we try new recipes, read our local artist’s works, write, work out via video with yoga or dance or Pilate’s instructors, and reach out virtually to friends and family.



During these days of sequestration, our community rises to become part of the solution, with beautiful and astounding collective generosity of spirit. The medical professionals bravely showing up each day, our government officials providing timely information and assuring that help is on the way in many forms, our restaurants opening for take-out and also partnering with Nantucket Public Schools and the Health and Human Services Department to provide free meals to school children and to seniors, yoga and other fitness instructors providing free or contribution-based on-line classes, mental health organizations and the animal hospital continuing to provide much needed support, individuals grocery shopping and picking up medications for those who cannot risk doing it for themselves, adults and children alike making masks and sanitizer.  On island, there are fuel assistance programs, home deliveries from the food pantry, small business loans, bank mortgage deferrals. People show up every day to provide essential services- grocery stores, take-out services, fuel providers, the Chamber of Commerce and town officials and the vast network of unsung heroes who keep our essential services intact.  And the island responds with gratitude every night at 8 p.m. when, inspired by a program originated in the U.K. and now practiced world-wide (Clap for Carers), people stop whatever they are doing and clap to show their appreciation to those caring for people affected by Covid-19.   The list goes on and illustrates what we most love about our community.  


Some examples, as well as links to help you stay connected to this beautiful island and community while you cannot be here in person:

  • To keep theatre alive in our hearts, The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket is producing a virtual show, featuring anyone who submits a video of themselves singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.
  • In an effort to help spread happiness and good cheer during these difficult times, The Nantucket Comedy Festival,  in partnership with Nantucket Community Television, will be broadcasting live on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. a new weekly comedy show called "The Best Medicine".  You can tune in to channel 18 (locally) or via YouTube. 
  • Nantucket Book Festival is working to produce a “virtual Festival” this year, featuring conversations with its 2020 authors, and hopes to celebrate our local authors later in the year.
  • The Nantucket Film Festival, in celebration of its 25th anniversary, will soon announce new festival dates, but in the interim, in an effort to offer inspiration, beauty, humor, solace, it is sharing with us one to two films from each of its last 24 years of programming .
  • Nantucket Cycling and Fitness is offering online workouts via YouTube, and Caitlin Marcoux and other instructors are offering online workouts via Zoom.
  • The Nantucket Historical Association is providing its own “University”- a weekly resource featuring videos, history topics, artifacts, transcription projects.  This week, with our friends in New York City in our thoughts and prayers, we were delighted to read about the commonalities shared by the islands of Nantucket and Manhattan and the fact that Nantucket was actually a part of New York until 1692!
  • The Maria Mitchell Association has ‘re-imagined’ its Science Festival as an online event.  Visit their website and explore fun, educational, and easy to do at-home experiments developed by the association’s science educators and partnering organizations.
  • The Nantucket Atheneum is offering virtual classes, online virtual story breaks, and an online writer’s group. 
  • And, to raise money for the Nantucket Cottage Hospital while bringing the community together and emphasizing the importance of staying at home for now, The Front Steps Project is photographing families on the front steps of their homes during this time of isolation.  

The adherence to social distancing, while difficult for all of us, is the most important act of love we can give each other at this time.  And at each turn, we know that, while we are an island, we are not alone in this.  In 2020, we finally view our world with the 2020 clarity that we are interconnected, globally.  While we keep our distances physically, we come together in all the important ways, as part of the same world-wide community.  We heal, the earth heals, and before too long, our worlds will right themselves.   And we will be welcoming you back to our inn and our magical island with open arms and hearts full of gratitude. 


Thank you all for being a part of our family.  We wish you good health and safe-keeping, until we meet again.  Sending love from our hearts to yours.