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.

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