Summer Escapes: Drift Away

By Janelle Nanos | Boston Magazine |

Siasconset

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.

 

CHEAT SHEET
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.

  • Tourist

    Awful, run-down, overpriced, understaffed.

  • Duncan

    Folk such as me, my family, and my friends, who are blessed to have raised their children in ‘sconset never go near the Summerhouse, which, while located near our charming village, is totally not of the village. A better idea is to drive your leased Escalade to the Hamptons and hope you get to slobber during a celeb-sighting (and you’ll be doing ‘sconset a favor). If you must visit us, please do so on a bike and have dinner at the Sconset Cafe.