Island of Nantucket News & Information

NantucketCLAIM TO FAME: Pleasant isolation, cobblestone streets, some of the most historic buildings in the Cape area

HISTORICAL BRAGGING RIGHTS: Former whaling capital of the world

BEACHES: Brant Point, Jetties, Cisco, Miacomet, Surfside, Eel Point, Madaket, Great Point

DON’T MISS: Whaling museum, Cisco brewers, four lighthouses, Jethro Coffin House, rosehip and beach plum jellies, Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge

Situated about 16 miles south of the Cape Cod shore line in the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Nantucket is the largest island in the group that forms the county. At its greatest extremes, it runs about 15 miles from east to west and 10 miles from north to south.

Nantucket is a place of incredible natural beauty and unspoiled historic charm. For more than 150 years it served as the center of the world’s whaling industry. In recognition of this heritage, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the town a National Historic Landmark in 1966, claiming it is “the finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town.”

The name probably translates from the Native American Wampanoag terms natockenantaticunantican, nautica or natockete, which originate in the tribe’s early lore regarding the creation of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It may roughly translate to “faraway land” or “in the midst of water.”

The Wampanoag people lived here undisturbed until 1641 when the land was given to Thomas Mayhew by the English.  Many later homes and mansions from the 1700s and 1800s are still a part of the community and are open to the public as museums and historic sites.

The Nantucket economy is based upon tourism and second-home development. Connected to Hyannis by two ferry services and several airlines, Nantucket regularly peaks at approximately 40,000 in August. Residents and visitors alike enjoy Nantucket’s many bike paths and beaches, as well as seasonal events, including the Daffodil Weekend, Harborfest and the Cranberry Festival.

The Nantucket Land Bank was founded in 1984 as the nation’s first local land trust. Utilizing funding from a local real estate transaction fee, the Land Bank has purchased over 1000 acres of open space to date. The unique character of Nantucket has been carefully nurtured through open-space preservation and strict architectural and land-use controls. Nantucket is, for the many that make this their home or their vacation destination, a refuge from suburban sprawl and all of its negative connotations.

Nantucket Information

Nantucket Chamber of Commerce
Zero Main Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-1700
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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