IN THIS TOGETHERPeople 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.