Dogs on Nantucket holidays (part 2)

Girl Friday ACK
Hudson enjoying a Nantucket beach.

Following on from my last post, here are the remaining 5 tips to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday with your canine companion.

6. Places to walk

Girl Friday AC
Happy walking on Nantucket.

There are a ton of great places to take your dog on island. For helpful trail maps and information visit Nantucket Dog Walk. Please remember though that there is a leash law and your dog must always be under your control. While your dog may be “friendly” it doesn’t mean everyone else has to or wants to say hello to him/her! As for the beach, your dog should not be with you on beaches where there is a lifeguard in attendance. And please don’t forget to pick up the poop.

7. Dinner time

For health and safety reasons, dogs aren’t permitted inside restaurants. There are a few places to eat with outside terraces where it’s possible to sit fairly close to your dog without them actually being in the food service area. If you can’t leave Fido back in your accommodation you’ll need to arrive early to ensure you have your choice of tables. Lunchtime is definitely easier – think sandwich spots like Something Natural, Bartlett’s Farm, Claudette’s in Sconset or Millies in Madaket. All are great picnic spots.  While well-mannered dogs are welcome at Cisco Brewery, be warned that this is one of the busiest spots on the island after a day on the beach. With lots of people, children running around, live music and other dogs, is this really going to be a happy outing for you and your pup?

8. Doggie supplies

If you’ve forgotten any of Fido’s essentials Geronimo’s and Cold Noses are the places to go. From eco-friendly poop bags to Nantucket themed collars and leashes, you should be able to find anything you might need. For prescription diets Offshore Animal Hospital may also carry your preferred brand – worth calling them first before you drive over.

Girl Friday ACK
Geronimo’s of Nantucket has everything you might need for your companion animals.

9. Pet services

Girl Friday ACK
The Dog Wash

There are dog walkers and pet sitters aplenty on the island but do your research and book well ahead of time. The adage “you get what you pay for” is as true on the island as it is anywhere else. Offshore Animal Hospital offers outside daycare within an enclosed area making it a good choice for pups that might otherwise stray. And for the times when Fido finds something super stinky to roll in, clean him off at The Dog Wash.


10. Lost pets

With all the bunnies, deer and fabulous places for a dog to run, it’s no wonder that pups and people do get separated. Store this number for just such an emergency: 508-825-2287. This is the phone number for Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for Animals (NISHA) – the island’s shelter for lost and abandoned animals. Any stray dogs picked up by the Animal Control Officers, or by the public, are brought to NISHA. You’ll need your check book, proof of identification and a rabies certificate to be reunited with your four legged friend. Consider a visit to them in any event and see first-hand the great work they do on the island. And their logoed merchandise could make pretty cool souvenirs too!

Girl Friday ACK
One of NISHA’s amazing volunteers.

Dogs on a Nantucket holiday

Thinking of bringing your pup on vacation this summer? Nantucket is a great place for dogs. Here are my first 5 (of 10) tips to ensure you and Fido have a wonderful time.

1. Check your accommodation

Before making further plans double-check that Fido is welcome where you’re planning to stay. Not all hotels or inns are happy to accept our four-legged friends and boarding options are very limited once you reach the island. If you’re still looking for pet-friendly accommodation, check out the awesome Woof Cottages at Nantucket Island Resorts .

2. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date

Rabies is the big one. We don’t have it on the island and we don’t want it. Rabies vaccination is the law in Massachusetts. Fleas and ticks are prevalent on the island so ensure you’re using an effective treatment as well as a heartworm preventative. If you’re worried about Lymes Disease, speak to your vet about the vaccination well before you travel.

3. Emergency veterinary treatment

Make sure you have easy access to Rover’s veterinary and vaccination records. It could make all the difference in the (hopefully) unlikely event you need to seek emergency treatment. Know your local vet’s contact details and save this link for Offshore Animal Hospital – the island’s largest provider of veterinary care.

4. Transport

There are only two ways to get to the island – by boat or by plane. If arriving by air, check with your carrier for their requirements. If coming by ferry, you have a choice of a two-hour traditional car ferry or a one hour fast boat. The fast boat is always busy in the summer. There may be many other dogs and very little space. Dogs are not allowed on seats. Please consider your pet’s comfort as well as other passengers’ safety. Packed boats and big anxious dogs aren’t always a great match. Have lots of distracting treats with you to keep your pup as calm as possible. While the journey is a little longer, bringing your dogs in your own car means they have a quiet and familiar place to relax before and during the trip.

5. Safety

We have beautifully warm sunny days and while not as hot as on the mainland, please don’t plan on leaving your dog in your car for any length of time when you reach the island. Temperatures in cars ramp up quickly. Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar with your on island contact details – no point having a phone number which you’ll be away from for the next month! Chipping your pet is a great way to ensure you can always be reunited even if a collar comes off.


Springtime in Paradise


Earth Day 2017 and life is definitely returning to the island. How better to celebrate this time of year than with “Spring Fest”. By bringing together a number of local organizations devoted to promoting and protecting the island, its heritage and the well-being of everyone living here, the Rev. Tamara Grenier and Nantucket Eco Group artfully put into perspective just how much Nantucketers have to be grateful for.  I braved April showers to attend and was so pleased I did as I was able to see a big screen viewing of the beautifully shot “The Last Bay Scallop” . In just 30 minutes local filmmaker John Stanton brings the Nantucket Bay Scallop industry to life and hammers home how its future rests uneasily on the quality of Nantucket’s water. Why specifically is it under threat? Mainly because of the decrease in “Eel Grass” around the island – on to which the baby scallops latch for survival. And the principal contributing factor for that decline appears to be high use of fertilizers on the island. It was a fascinating glimpse into Nantucket’s last commercial fishing industry.

Next weekend is the annual Daffodil Festival and those bright yellow flowers really are an incredibly welcoming sight at this time of year. Although this winter hasn’t been very harsh in the scheme of things, warm and sunny days can’t come soon enough.

The “off-season” whisked by in a bit of a blur. Islanders take advantage of the quieter months to travel and to brace themselves for another busy summer. While I spent the winter of 2015/2016 undertaking a dog training course at the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy, this year I had the incredible opportunity of putting my newly acquired skills into practice by teaching a “Basic Manners” class at the Nantucket Community School. My first students have been so much fun and I’m eagerly looking forwards to the next class which starts this coming Tuesday.

Staying on the subject of dog training, in March I attended Clicker Expo in Stamford, Connecticut – a huge conference for advocates of positive reinforcement/force-free teaching methods.  Wow, was that ever a mind-blowing experience. Talk about some really inspirational speakers and heaps of food for thought. I was lucky enough to listen to some of the most engaging figures in the positive reinforcement training world and even met Karen Pryor (author of “Don’t Shoot the Dog” and a leader of the Clicker Trainer movement).  I came back to the island absolutely buzzing with new ideas and thoughts to put into practice. Of course I might also have picked up some new equipment in the conference shopping arena.

Buster on his new k9FITbone

On the travel front, this time last weekend I was back in the motherland visiting family. Home really is a wonderful place to visit.

From the tulips in St. James Park to Daffodils on Old South Road, it’s the season of new beginnings. Girl Friday ACK is eagerly looking forwards to welcoming everyone back to the island.



Welcome winter

I haven’t posted for months. Which excuse should I use?

I was asked recently what there is to do in Nantucket in the winter. The answer is a resounding “that depends on what you like doing”. If you’re unhappy with anything but a fast paced way of life 7 days a week, Nantucket can be a challenge in January, February and March. But if you like to bundle up and go for rugged walks, or curl up at home with a good book, there’s always something to do.


Walking dogs every day, I experience a fair amount of Nantucket’s rugged side. And winter here can be harsh. While we don’t get a ton of snow, we get freezing winds that cause the boats and planes to cancel and leave you literally stranded on the island. Winter vacations necessitate planning an extra day of travel to ensure you can leave or return to the island. Boats were cancelled last week and many travellers found themselves on the wrong side of Nantucket Sound. There will be more delays and cancellations as the first big storm of the winter arrives this weekend. As winter progresses, ice rather than wind becomes an issue.


With that said, the deserted beaches on blue sky days like today are more stunning perhaps than in summer.


One of my favorite events on the island at this time of year is “One Book One Island” presented by our incredible library the Nantucket Atheneum and sponsored by a number of local businesses . One book is chosen each year and island residents are encouraged to pick up and read one of the free copies before enjoying themed exhibitions, discussions and films. It’s a great talking point and a wonderful way to come across a new read. This year’s selection:authorbooklg

Work continues for many of us through the winter months, and for those it doesn’t, extended trips await. Nantucketers are a pretty well-traveled bunch. It’s not uncommon to be in a fairly remote part of the world and stumble across someone you recognize from back home. And before long the countdown is on until the Daffodil Festival in April and the constant escalation of activity and excitement of the approaching summer. At least that’s what we all remind ourselves in the depths of winter.

The Grey Lady

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 Great Point Nantucketthe 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.