While visitors flock to our shores during the summer months, our year-round residents have the privilege of experiencing a completely different side of our island. Bustling downtown streets transform into quiet, frosted storefronts, and sandals are traded for cozy hats. While Thanksgiving and Christmas Stroll often bring hoards of temporary visitors, we’re here to highlight some of the simpler pleasures of year-round island life. Because whether it’s your first or your 25th Nantucket winter, there’s always something new to discover.
Sunrise on The South Shore
One of the most difficult parts of the winter season is how little daylight we enjoy. However, these cold winter months bring an often overlooked perk- a later sunrise! For those of us who love the idea of seeing the sun peek over the clouds but have trouble getting out of bed, December is your chance to enjoy first light without sacrificing sleep.
In late December and early January, sunrise arrives around 7am. This gives you plenty of time to grab your coat, hat, and gloves, and head to the beach! During the winter the south shore offers a breathtaking view of the sunrise over the water. You may be greeted by another early riser or dog walker, but most likely you will have the beach to yourself. There is no better way to enjoy the serenity of our beaches, a peace that is so hard to come by in July and August!
Hot Drinks with Good Friends
Winter can be a great time to get together with old friends and make new ones. In the winter months, Cisco Brewery at 5 Bartlett Farm Road transforms from a bustling outdoor patio to a more relaxed, heated indoor tent and outdoor firepit. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a hot cider or egg nog- check their website for a weekly event schedule! Winter events include the Pints & Paints, wheel throwing demonstrations with the Artists Association and wreath making with Hafsa & Co. Kids and pets are always welcome, and there is no cover.
If you prefer, grab a buddy and cruise around downtown on a hot chocolate tour. While many retailers are closed, browse their window displays, then dip inside a cafe (or two!) for a steaming cup of chocolate. The spiced hot chocolate at Corner Table is a must try- it’s blended with cinnamon and topped with a giant, hand-cut marshmallow.
Settle Down with A New Read
Blustery February days are the perfect time to settle in next to the fire. Why not crack open that novel you’ve been meaning to get to? The Nantucket Atheneum is open year round, and is a great place to borrow books, movies, magazines and more. If you have a Kindle or other eReader, you can also borrow digital titles right from your home! Alternatively, head over to Nantucket Bookworks or Mitchell’s Book Corner, then enjoy your new read in one of our many cozy downtown coffee shops.
While our Nantucket Ice Rink offers weekly public skates, there’s nothing like the crisp winter air and un-groomed surface of one of our island’s many frozen ponds. Set up a pick up game of hockey, or simply lace up your skates and cruise. Of course, make sure the pond is completely frozen and safe for skating before you head out.
If we’re lucky enough to experience one of our rare snowfalls, head to Dead Horse Valley. It’s located near Prospect Hill Cemetery and has excellent sledding. Speed down the hill on a sled, toboggan, or trashcan lid, then race back up again for another run.
Start a New Craft
A new skill lasts a lifetime. What better time to hone yours than when the weather gets chilly? The Artist’s Association of Nantucket offers countless classes at their beautiful new visual arts studio on Amelia Drive. Try your hand at printmaking, wheel-thrown ceramics, or drawing, and you may find you just keep coming back. You can even host an Art Party for up to 20 friends! You supply the guests, and the AAN takes care of the rest.
If knitting is your style, you won’t want to miss the chance to stop by Flock on Orange Street. Browse beautifully colored yarns, and inquire about their occasional class offerings.
Born and raised on Nantucket, Lisa is incredibly excited to be starting her senior year at Dartmouth College. She feels most at home on the water and has an immense appreciation for the beauty and entertainment it provides. During the school year you may catch her taking a break from her economics studies to sail New Hampshire’s lakes. When she’s not assisting with marketing at Fisher, you can find her working on a new ceramic piece or catching the sunset from the mountains or the beach!