Within the fairy-tale world of Nantucket, ‘Sconset feels especially magical. Riding into Nantucket’s second zip code feels like stepping into the pages of a book. The cozy artist’s cottages, old-world charm, and bluff-top views offer an idyllic example of life on Nantucket. Whenever we’re tired of our normal routine, we head out East for an epic ‘Sconset day.
It’s a great place for a few hours, but why not make a day of it? A Nantucket summer just doesn’t feel complete without a full day out in ‘Sconset. There are plenty of activities to pass the day away and, best of all, a bounty of delicious restaurants that’ll keep you full all day long. Here’s our recipe for a perfect day in ‘Sconset.
Usually, a few people will want to bike out to ‘Sconset in the morning, so it’s always great to pack a car with beach stuff and meet them there. At least once a summer, it’s worth it to stop by Serengeti Nantucket to see if some wildlife has appeared.
For breakfast, The Sconset Market is always an amazing option. We’re partial to the blueberry muffins, but they also have a large selection of sweet and savory treats. If you’re really craving a breakfast sandwich, head next door to Claudette’s—they have one of the best on island. While the food is still digesting, take a seat in one of the many benches around the rotary to people watch. The small village atmosphere comes alive as people go about their day, buying produce from the farm stands, hitting the courts at Sconset Casino in their tennis whites, or just reading the newspaper in the shade.
If you are entertaining kids, the Codfish Park Playground is one of the newer playgrounds on the island and lots of fun. It is handicapped accessible, fenced-in, has great structures for all ages and is a Nantucket Land Bank property.
Next, head out to explore the artist cottages scattered through ‘Sconset. They’re all within walking distance and all as cute as could be. We could recommend a few key streets to check out, but it’s more fun to wander. The scruffy facades and vibrant gardens of the cottages will have you dreaming of the artist’s life. To make it interesting, make a photo scavenger hunt out of it. A list might include: the oldest house (on the island), a quarterboard in French, the most vibrant garden, the view from ‘Sconset bridge, three different door colors, the tallest rose vines (in June), etc. ‘Sconset is an ideal place for picking out all those little magical details, so get creative!
If you’re in the mood for a snack, grab some cheese and bread from Sconset Market and make your way out to the bluff walk. Look for a small shell path on Front Street, take a left and there you are. If you’re afraid that homeowners will ask you to leave their property, don’t be! Walkers have been strolling along the bluff since the late 1800’s, so just enjoy the expansive view and the meticulous garden behind each home. Their gardens might just be the inspiration you need to give that extra boost to your own garden or window boxes.
When you reach the end, pop out onto the road and come back in front of the homes—you won’t get to see the ocean but there is home design inspiration that can’t be missed. Moving towards ‘Sconset center, take note of the gradual changes in architectural style as the homes become older.
For lunch, it’s tough to beat the vibe at Summer House’s Beachside Bistro. The restaurant is nestled into the dunes with sweeping ocean views and breezy outdoor seating. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, they have fresh seafood options (both raw and cooked), as well as flatbreads and pasta. If you’re looking for something more casual, Claudette’s is the perfect place for no-frills, beach-ready sandwiches.
When people think about ‘Sconset, the unique architecture and charm are usually the primary focus. But, as with most of the island, there’s also a great beach. Every beach on island has a different vibe and ‘Sconset is no different. Because most of their beaches are below the bluff, making them inaccessible by car, most of them are pretty empty aside from the section directly off the parking lot near Codfish Park. It’s an ideal place to play fetch with the dog or embark on a long beach walk—especially after that seafood feast.
At night, head to The Chanticleer for the full ‘Sconset experience. Its romantic garden setting and classic food will make you forget you’re not in France. The Chanticleer is a ‘Sconset institution, so expect to feel transported to a Nantucket of the past. If you’re still in beach attire, though, this is not the place for you.
The Chanticleer is upscale and the perfect to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, so reservations are highly recommended. Alternatively, for something more low-key, we suggest packing a cooler with hot dogs and buns, setting a grill up on the beach, and finishing the day out there. After all that food earlier in the day, a light, easy meal on the beach is the perfect way to cap it off in 02564.
But before you head home or to your Fisher vacation rental, there is one more destination that is a must-do. Head north on Sankaty Road, turn right on Annes Lane and left on Baxter Road. Do some house hunting until you get to the very end of the road and you can’t miss it… the Sankaty Lighthouse. With the iconic red and white paint, this will be a photofinish to your day!