One might say a beach is a beach is a beach… but I beg to differ. Growing up in California, I’ve been lucky to spend time in my fair share of West Coast beaches; from the beaches far south in Mexico up through California, to Oregon and Washington, I’ve dug sand castles, looked for shells and caught a few waves. California beaches, especially, have this surfer vibe to them that is like no where else, and very familiar to me. So, when I was invited to head to Nantucket, Massachusetts for a wedding, I was so excited. East Coast beach towns like Nantucket, the Hamptons, and Jersey Shore have such a mystic to them coming from the West, I couldn’t wait to find out if they lived up to their reputation.
Just stepping off the plane, it already felt different. Even with the breeze from the ocean, the humidity was a tell tale sign I was not in California any more. Then came the quintessential sights: the weathered shake houses, the old fishing boats, the blowing sand dunes, the picket fences, and the red, white and blue… just as I had imagined.
Although my stay was short, I feel I got a great taste of summertime in Nantucket. I was there in early June, before the hoards of summer inhabitants invade. Apparently the island swells in size from 10,000 inhabitants to 50,000, so perhaps my peaceful glimpse was not fully accurate , but what I did see, I sure did love.
Quaint is definitely the first adjective that comes to mind. Although some of the homes close to town are anything but small, the similar shake siding and color consistency evens the playing field from the mini-mansions to the true summer bungalows. I couldn’t get enough of all the weathered textures– the wood on the boats, the peeling paint on the picket fences, the moss on the shake, the island has a very casual “lived in” look, yet retains it’s classic charm.
But the true East and West coast difference for me had to be the beach. As we strolled along Jetties Beach, I couldn’t believe the number of shells. Piles and piles of them. This was definitely unlike any beach I’ve been on in California. Of course we have shells, and we have seaweed… but not to this level that I’ve found. We strolled for sometime and sat to enjoy the view of the sailboats and fishing boats trolling by… idylic Nantucket, that’s for sure.