Summer Escapes: Drift Away
It’s funny, actually: Ever since Queequeg’s heyday, Nantucket has prided itself on being the most secluded New England island. And yet we defy you to walk unencumbered down any of its cobblestoned main streets in summertime. (If it isn’t an SUV cluster you’re running into, it’s a 12-stroller pileup.)
It’s a different story altogether in Siasconset. (That’s ’Sconset to you first-timers.) The teensy village at the island’s east end is less than a 15-minute car ride — 45 minutes by bike — from the frenzy of Nantucket Center, but feels like it’s an entire world away. The action (such as it is) centers on the Summer House — the easygoing microresort on a salty-aired hill above the sea. The roofs on its cluster of historical cottages are so low,they seem straight out of a hobbit shire. But who stays in them? Oh, you know, the usual: Katie Couric, Todd English, and the like, who come to get closer to the ocean and farther from the autograph seekers.
And if you do happen to trip over a celeb down at the pool, faux shudder as necessary and retire to the Chanticleer — the ne plus ultra of fine dining on the island — which offers thoughtful dishes like Moroccan chicken with fresh figs and arugula, madeira sauce, and chorizo. The next morning, recover from the feast by making a beeline for the outskirts of the abutting dunes, where you might see a dozen people all day. But with so much nothing to accomplish, who has time to count? >> The Summer House (starts at $600 per night), 17 Ocean Ave., Siasconset, Nantucket, 508-257-4577, thesummerhouse.com. — A.H.
Dining Out The Summer House restaurant sets out a tiny continental breakfast, but at night gets fancy with table linens, enormous floral bouquets, and a menu that focuses on (what else?) seafood.
Beach Time Need a change of scenery? You’ll get slightly larger crowds at Siasconset’s main public beach, but its cuteness (a lighthouse sitting at one end is well tended by a preservation society) makes up for it.