Back in 2009, I took a little trip over to Nantucket Island for work and as always I found some time to explore the area. The town of Nantucket is actually a combination of Nantucket Island, Tuckernuck and Muskeget islands. Together they also make up Nantucket county which is the least populated county in the state with an estimated year-round population of 10,000 residents that jumps to over 50,000 during the summer tourist months.
Home to a few lighthouses Nantucket home prices have skyrocketed over the years and is now in line or even higher than Long Island or the Hamptons of New York. Nantucket Island was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1966 by the National Park Service.
I found time to visit two of the three lighthouses on Nantucket, Brant Point which can be seen from the ferry boat on the way into the harbor has to be by far the most photographed lighthouse on Nantucket due to it easy viewing from the ferry and short walking distance from the downtown area. Brant Point was the first lighthouse on Nantucket and was built in 1746, burnt down in 1757 and rebuilt in 1758. Up until 1856, the wooden lighthouse was burnt down, damaged by nature and a tornado a few times before it was replaced by its current brick and cement structure.
Sankaty Head Lighthouse was the last of the three built on the island built in 1849, but ended up being the brightest and most powerful one in New England and was considered one of the best in the country due to its Fresnel Lens which enabled the light to be seen 20 miles away. The lens was removed in 1950 and replaced with a newer one, but it is preserved and on display at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Nantucket was inhabited by the Wampanoag Indians which is also where it gets its name from and once belonged to Dukes County New York and was given to the Province of Massachusetts Bay as the Europeans began to settle the island in 1691.
Today Nantucket along with Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod Massachusetts have become the most popular tourist areas in the state. Thousands and thousands of people flock to the area for its relaxed beach life. Small cottages, campgrounds, restaurants and small businesses most of which make most of their money while the tourists are in season and many of them close the rest of the year.
I spent a few days working mostly mornings while I was on the Island which left me plenty of time to get out and find a couple lighthouses to explore as well as the downtown shops which lined the cobblestone roads. As you can guess Nantucket, The Islands, and Cape Cod are home to many boats and it’s always cool to see so many kinds docked or tied up to the moorings with their owners in town doing some shopping and exploring.