It’s always hard to say goodbye to summer. We miss the carefree days of splashing in the ocean and lingering long into the night on a secluded beach. As we slide into September, we focus on our top five fall activities on Nantucket. It’s a time when we look forward to all the magic that autumn brings. We celebrate fall on Nantucket and embrace the changes that come to the island when the days get shorter and the nights grow cooler.
Traffic thins and it’s decidedly easier to score a reservation at our favorite restaurants. We start to layer up and our flip-flops disappear. The hustle and bustle that defines July and August relaxes and a sense of peace descends to usher in the beauty of autumn on Nantucket.
The island explodes in color. A golden hue washes over the moors. The sky seems an almost impossible blue. And a faint scent of pumpkin spice seems to permeate the air. It’s truly one of our favorite seasons for so many reasons. But let us share with you our top five ways to celebrate fall on Nantucket.
# 1: It’s Scallop Season
While you’ll need a permit to harvest your own, when scallop season opens in October, these succulent bivalves appear on menus at most island restaurants. The silky texture and almost candy-like sweetness of bay scallops seem to thrive in the cool, clear waters off Nantucket. Typically eaten raw (ceviche-style), the sublime taste combination of sweet and salty may just be the perfect bite. But no matter how they are prepared, baked, broiled, battered, or pan-fried, take our advice and try them. You’ll understand why we rave about them from the first bite.
#2: Nantucket Harvest Fair
A combination of the Island Fair and the Nantucket Cranberry Festival, the newly coined Nantucket Harvest Fair brings frivolity to the island as we celebrate everything we love about the fall on Nantucket. Held at the Milestone Cranberry Bogs on the first weekend of October, the festival offers something for everyone. Fun games, agricultural exhibitions, contests, live music, and even a dog show are sure to entertain all who visit.
#3: Biking Through the Moors
If you’ve ever seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you may remember the montage of Paul Newman riding a bike through the pasture trying to charm Katherine Ross, with Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” playing in the background. That’s how biking through the moors on Nantucket feels. The rolling hills along the Polpis Road bike path propel you gently through a lush landscape to the quaint village of Siasconset or “Sconset” for short. There you’ll find Sankaty Head Lighthouse, charming bistros, and boutiques to visit before heading back into town.
#4: Fall Restaurant Week
Sample the epicurean delights of our renowned local chefs when Fall Restaurant Week returns to the island. Dozens of restaurants all over the island prepare prix fixe menus of 3-5 courses from $25-$50 per person. It’s a great way to try a new-to-you bistro or show your loyalty to your favorite chef. Experience some of the finest culinary creations, superb wines, and our fabulous Nantucket hospitality. This tasty celebration generally occurs both in the spring and fall.
#5: Nantucket Walkabout
Getting out and about on foot is one of the best ways to explore Nantucket. From shuffling through the fallen leaves on the cobbled streets of Nantucket Town to the many paths that weave through the moors, miles of serene hiking trails crisscross the island. If you’re not familiar with the trails, or simply want to go with an experienced guide, check out Nantucket Walkabout. This year-round guided hiking service offers hikes throughout the island taking you deep into protected land and providing insight into the natural landscape, the island’s history, and the forces of geology that formed the island.
As proprietors of the Seven Sea Street Inn, we pride ourselves on creating an environment in which our guests can relax and enjoy everything that our island home offers. Lovely in any season, Nantucket truly shines in autumn. Come visit us this season and help us celebrate fall on Nantucket.
Updated August 2022