Nantucket Area Overview
Nantucket Village, the most concentrated part of the island, is situated around the harbor. Most businesses and accommodations are here, so if there is no town named in an address for any of the following listings; assume it is in Nantucket Village. We'll tell you if a business or accommodation is found in any of the outlying villages, which are less populated and more seasonal. The village of Madaket, to the west, consists of residences and a few businesses. The residential village of Cisco is on the island's southern shore. The village of Siasconset, more commonly referred to as Sconset, is a bustling summertime resort on the eastern end of the island known for its excellent restaurants and rose-covered cottages with sweet names such as Little House and Auld Lange Syne, the oldest cottage on the island. Look for the images of spouting whales cut into the privet hedges. The old schoolhouse, now a fire station, was used until 1957.
If you're an artist, bring your sketchpad. Nantucket's air is full of moisture, and it is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the rest of the area, which results in beautiful flowers and gardens. You'll want to take lots of photographs or at least pick up one of several good pictorial books on Nantucket.
Wildlife you may see on Nantucket includes deer, pheasants, rabbits, and squirrels. Forty years ago, squirrels were nonexistent on the island because they, like the deer, had been hunted out. They recently reappeared, and it is believed they arrived as stowaways on logging trucks. Today the island is host to several grassland-nesting bird species, including short-eared owls and northern harriers that are scarce on the mainland but thrive here because there are fewer natural predators. Nantucket is a popular spot for birders, and it's easy to see why: Some 354 bird species have been recorded here. The island abounds with wild blueberries, blackberries, beach plum, and elderberries. The 260-acre Milestone Cranberry Bog is one of the largest in the United States. The highest point of land is Folger Hill, which at 109 feet, is a foot higher than Altar Rock.
It's true that much of Nantucket shuts down in the off-season, but even in the quiet months, it's a beautiful place. Nantucketers, however, may be less than eager to share that. "Don't tell anyone how great it is in the off-season," said one resident. "We like it quiet then."
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