Great Fall Getaways: Nantucket, Massachusetts

Photo via Kenneth Garcia/Flickr

Photo via Kenneth Garcia/Flickr

For the Epicurean

Off season? What off season? The Cisco Brewers, Triple Eight Distillery, and Nantucket Vineyard complex is open year round for daily tours and tastings. Bottles of the renowned Notch whisky go for $888, but plebes can score samples for a mere $44 (or $24, if you’ve already plunked down 20 bucks for the tour). Cisco’s annual Acktobeerfest on October 8 and 9 is the perfect occasion to raise a glass (or three) of spicy-smooth Pumple Drumkin, an ale made with island gourds. Prolong the celebratory mood on October 15 and 16 with a butchering class and whole-pig dinner at American Seasons’ HOGtoberfest. You can snag a seat at the standout restaurant (we prefer the heated patio) into early December, while Lola 41, home of craveworthy burgers with cheddar, onion compote, and foie gras dipping sauce (!), is open all year.

For the Adventurer

BYOB (bring your own bike) — or rent one — and hit the paved paths crisscrossing the Grey Lady. The ride from town to sleepy Siasconset via Polpis and Milestone roads is about 17 miles round trip and takes you past heathlands and ponds. Hop off and explore hardwood forests and salt marshes at the 13.5-acre Masquetuck Reservation, accessed by Quaise Pastures Road, by foot; be sure to keep an eye out for egrets. Other autumn diversions include Sankaty Head Golf Club, an 18-hole course open to the public fall through spring, and Capt. Tom’s Charters, on which you can reel in the false albacore and bluefish that abound in the fall waters around Nantucket. Boats leave from Walter S. Barrett Public Pier.

For the History Buff

The Nantucket Historical Association’s new house tours — which include a stop at Greater Light, the barn transformed by artists Gertrude and Hanna Monaghan into an offbeat summer retreat in the 1930s — run daily at 2:15 p.m. through October 10. Catch a glimpse of quirky island artifacts at the Whaling Museum exhibit “Nantucket’s Cabinet of Curiosities: A to Z.” And don’t miss a screening of the new short film Nantucket by Ric Burns (Ken’s brother). For panoramic views of the harbor and sound, the 94-step climb up the bell tower at the First Congregational Church on Centre Street delivers; it’s open to the public for a $5 donation through mid-October.

Where to Stay

The Centerboard Guest House (fall rates from $125) has seven rooms overseen by cheerful innkeeper Lyn Francis. And at many of the island’s luxest lodgings, rates drop with the temperature — rooms at the elegant Wauwinet, for example, start at $225 in October.

Save this Date: October 8

Work up your thirst for a tangy Cape Codder at the Cranberry Festival (

The Essentials

Trip time: One hour, 30 minutes driving plus a one-hour fast ferry