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Without a doubt, though, Nantucket comes alive like few other places during the summer months. August in particular always brings much more than just sunshine and soothing sea breeze to the island, as a number of favorite events return each year before September arrives.
For anyone mulling an end-of-summer trip, the full schedule provides a most convenient excuse. Here’s what’s on the docket.
Getting There & the Nantucket Music Festival
Before you can relax on the island and hop from event to event, you’ll need to get there, of course. Ferries flit in and out of Nantucket Harbor multiple times a day during peak season, arriving from Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. For anyone seeking a quicker trip across the water, Cape Air services the island from Boston and Hyannis, and flights take all of an hour, at the most. JetBlue also gives travelers an out-of-state aerial option, with flights that come in from New York.
The new month starts with a bang on the island, as the Nantucket Music Festival swings into action on Saturday, August 2 and lasts through Sunday. The gates will open at 10 a.m. each morning and welcome festivalgoers to Tom Nevers Field, where they’ll find a variety of acts that range from local up-and-comers to household names, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Bruce Hornsby. Both days will feature artisans selling their crafts, too, and you can find the basics about transportation, what to bring and more here.
Tickets on sale for the 2014 Nantucket Music Festival via Facebook
Boston Pops & Nantucket Race Week
On the heels of the music festival, the Boston Pops will arrive the following weekend and perform an August 9 concert on Jetties Beach for the benefit of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Tickets to this show are routinely prized commodities, so those looking to attend would do well to snag them along with hotel reservations well in advance.
The Pops concert night also happens to be the first day of Nantucket Race Week, a nine-day extravaganza that celebrates the island’s nautical heritage with regattas, award ceremonies and parties. A family barbecue, Shipwreck Ball and the unmistakable Rainbow Fleet Parade are a few of the events and activities that make Race Week special, which you can explore in full here.
Photo: Rainbow Fleet off Brant Point by Michael Galvin
The Opera House Cup Regatta & Big Game Battle
After eight days of fun, Nantucket Race Week will culminate on Sunday, August 17, with the 42nd Annual Opera House Cup Regatta, a staple of summertime on the island. Many moons ago, this race became the first all-wooden, single-hulled classic boat regatta on the East Coast, and it attracts some of America’s best sailboats to this day. Multiple former America’s Cup winners have taken part in the chase for the cup in years past, so any observers with an eye for sailing are in for a good time.
For those who enjoy their time on the water but prefer it to be a bit more leisurely, the weekend of August 16 and 17 will also have the Big Game Battle, a noteworthy Nantucket invitational summer fishing tournament. Impressive catches will no doubt be prized, but the competition is a low-voltage affair where the main idea is to have fun. For a look at the entry form, just click here.
Beyond the various events on the island, August is as good a time as any for some seasonal shopping, and Nantucket has plenty of places to do it. Island Weaves and Leslie Linsley are both great gift shops, as is the G.S. Hill Gallery.
Photo: A handmade rug from Island Weaves via Facebook
When it comes to eats, Something Natural is tasty and easy on your wallet, making for a great lunch stop. Centre Street Bistro is another good option, and for seafood, try a night out at Oran Mor.
To rest your head, opt for a night or two at the Jared Coffin House or Nantucket Inn, or, for a truly luxurious experience, a stay at the White Elephant. Since reservations on the island do get gobbled up pretty quickly during peak season, it’s best to book well in advance, too.
To take a look at a few other events happening on Cape Cod and the Islands this summer, click here. You can also thumb through a nice rundown of Nantucket events for the rest of 2014 here.
Where in Massachusetts do you like to spend your August days? Let us know in the comments!