Martha Reed is an award-winning, independently published crime and mystery fiction author who loves travel, big jewelry, and simply great coffee. She delights in the never-ending antics of her family, fans, and friends, whom she lovingly calls The Mutinous Crew. Learn more about Martha and her books at her website.
I fell in love with Nantucket the minute I laid eyes on it. I’d heard of the island, of course, 30 miles off the Massachusetts coast when I was a student at Boston University, but it took me seeing Nantucket rise up from the bottle green ocean like a distant purple horizon, and then watch it resolve into a harbor town of trim shingled homes and classic church steeples to completely capture my heart. As the ferry rounded Brant Point I heard a soft voice in my head sigh, and say: ‘home.’
I live in Pittsburgh now, but I do try to go back for a visit every couple of years. Nantucket is such a wondrous destination that I never have any trouble finding a friend or two to travel with me. The last time I visited, I took three girlfriends from work, and it took some convincing, because instead of flying directly to Nantucket, I insisted that we fly from Pittsburgh to Boston, rent a car, drive down Cape Cod to Hyannis, and then catch the ferry, adding hours to our trip.
There was a bit of muttering and a whiff of mutiny over this decision from the Mutinous Crew, but in the end, I believed I carried the point.
Nantucket needs to be seen from the water for first-timers. Nowadays, high-speed hydrofoil ferries and short-hop airline options are available, but I’m still convinced that taking a slow ferry over is the only way to go. There is something essentially liberating about leaving your worries behind on the dock that helps you relax, and you need to experience the watery 30-mile distance from the mainland shore to Nantucket’s harbor side to truly appreciate how special - and how isolated - the island really is.
Herman Melville wrote this in Moby Dick:
Nantucket! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off-shore … a mere hillock, an elbow of sand … made an utter island of by the ocean, that to their very chairs and tables small clams will be found adhering, as to the back of sea turtles …”
Nantucket is many things: it’s a county, an island, and a town. It’s a walker’s paradise filled with cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks lined with gracious 18th century homes. The town offers a plethora of terrific restaurants and specialty shops, charming and comfortable B&Bs, and multiple bookstores and museums. There are beaches everywhere, and the center of the island is crisscrossed with miles of sandy trails, scenic vistas, and easy rental bike paths.
If you need a break from modern life (and who doesn’t?), you won’t find a better escape than by planning a long 3-day weekend visit to the Far-Away Isle. My advice? Go off-season in May or October, when the weather is fine, the rolling moors are filled with color, and the rates are more reasonable. Be sure to buy a ticket on a slow ferry going over. Life is short. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
No Rest for the Wicked, Book Three in the Nantucket Mystery series
When state archaeologists uncover a suspicious steamer trunk in Nantucket’s landfill, the contents reactive intense interest in the Baby Alice Spenser kidnapping of 1921. As Detective John Jarad pursues the Baby Alice investigation, myriad family scandals emerge from the Spenser’s privileged and Gatsby-esque past. Modern day events flare white-hot when a copycat criminal snatches a second child.