In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Brilliant Disguise.”
The houses are grey. The frequently visiting fog lies on the island like a grey blanket. When the ocean temperatures drop and cold winter winds move in the lush summer foliage disappears leaving everything a monotone grey. It’s pretty easy to see why the island is often called “The Grey Lady”.
During my fist visits to the island I was totally confused where anything was. How could you establish where you were when everything looks the same? Little by little I got my bearings – mainly through necessity as without a US driving licence I spent a lot of time on my bike. You tend to figure out the lay of the land when you’re looking for the shortest points from A to B on a hot and humid summer day. And now, when I hear tourists make similar observations about the likeness of everything, I think to myself, “Just wait and the island will reveal herself”.
Nantucket is a vastly different place from America. Apart from the lack of traffic lights, McDonalds and shopping malls, the island prides itself on its historical and ecological preservation. Main Street is cobbled with stones allegedly carried as ballast by the earliest ships visiting the island. To explore the historical downtown area is to step back in time. Vast amounts of the island are undeveloped and remain covered in scrub brush making a haven for deer. Born in the English countryside and having lived in London, I am at home with both the rural and historical beauty of the island and it’s not at all difficult to see why the island receives so many accolades. Spend just a little time here and the island starts to reveal her many layers.
One of my favourite places on the island is Great Point. That’s Great Point Lighthouse in the picture at the top of the page and in the aerial photo to the right. To reach the lighthouse you drive approximately 3 miles on sand along the narrow spit of land at the northeastern most point of the island. It’s a stunningly beautiful spot and a fun place to fish in the summer – if you can beat the crowds of seals to anything biting on your line. And if you’re brave enough to face the bitter winds raging across the peninsula in the winter you’re likely to be rewarded with the sight of a majestic but ghostly white Snowy Owl. It’s incredible to think that anyone could ever live on this sandy spit. But they did, and you’ll pass houses which are still lived in (ok, mainly just in summer).
Access to the lighthouse is restricted in early summer owing to nesting “Piping Plovers” but otherwise, it’s a must see stop if you’re really trying to explore the island. The only thing grey on Great Point by the way is the colony of seals.