Did you know…

Nantucket is a Native American term that means far away island in the language of Wampanoag Indians, who were the original islanders. The island of Nantucket was created around 12,000-10,000 years ago by retreating glaciers.  The land mass is 47.8 square miles, 14 miles long and 3-5 miles wide on average.  The island is located 30 miles from Hyannis.

Because of the islands geographic location (Longitude 70 degrees West, Latitude 41 degrees North), being surrounded by ocean and close proximity to the Gulf Stream, Nantucket is 10 degrees warmer than the mainland in the winter (when winds are calm) and 10 degrees cooler in the summer.

Nantucket Fresh Water

Nantucket relies on groundwater to provide their drinking water supply, tapped from an underground aquifer (created from glacial activity) hundreds of feet below sea level. The aquifer is a bowl-shaped store of fresh water captured beneath the island, in the sand, which serves as a natural filter. Groundwater filters down through the sand and clay, and the clay prevents sea water from invading the lens (water within the clay walls) and is replenished by rainfall. Nantucket does not add chlorine or any other additives to the water supply.

Historic Buildings

There are more than 800 buildings and structures built before the Civil War (1861) that are still in existence.

Brant Point Lighthouse, situated at the entrance to Nantucket harbor is the second oldest established lighthouse in North America. The first was Boston Harbor Light in 1716. The first Brant Point Light was built in 1746. The current structure, built in 1901, is the ninth lighthouse.  This is where Hy-Line passes daily and it is customary to throw a penny over board for luck and wishes to return to the island.  This is a nice walking distance from downtown Nantucket.

Sankaty Head Lighthouse on the eastern shore was built in 1850. The light can be seen 26 miles away. The lighthouse was recently moved 400 feet northeast away from the eroding bluff.  To see Sankaty, you would need to visit ’Sconset (Siasconset Village).  It’s a lovely drive up Milestone or Polpis Roads or there are bike paths as well.  Once you get to Sconset, stop in the marketplace for a cool drink or ice cream.

Great Point Light at the tip of the northeast end of the island was established in 1784. The current structure was built in 1986 replacing the structure built in 1818 and destroyed in a 1984 storm.  The only way to get to Great Point is by 4-wheel drive and you do need a permit.  Check with island car rental services and make sure you ask them about deflating your tires—be sure to bring them down to 15 pounds of air in each tire.

Main Street Cobblestones

Main Street is a one way street and is one of the most photographed historic streets in New England!

Where did the cobblestones come from?
In 1837, the first cobblestones were laid out on Lower Main Street, then called State Street. The stones had been brought from Gloucester, Massachusetts where they had been stockpiled after serving as ships’ ballast. The cobblestones enabled heavy, whale oil laden carts to move up from the wharves without sinking into the mud. Eventually, other streets in town were paved with cobblestones.