With its picturesque coastline, peaceful harbors and old-world charm – not to mention its secluded location 26 miles out to sea - Nantucket Island is an idyllic setting for a relaxing getaway. But when relaxation is not on your agenda, there are plenty of fun and festive seaside events happening around the Island in every season!
Each spring, over three million daffodils of every color, shape and size bloom throughout Nantucket Island. The Nantucket Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Daffodil Festival (April 24-26, 2015), in its 41st year, is a full-scale jubilee celebrating winter’s thaw and the arrival of these colorful blossoms, which grace roadsides, gardens, window boxes and shop windows.
The Antique Car Parade is the festival’s signature event, showcasing over 100 daffodil-bedecked vintage cars. After winding through town, the cars make their way across the island to the charming village of 'Sconset for the Tailgate Picnic. Or, bring a blanket and picnic lunch to Children's Beach to enjoy local musicians, rides on the Nantucket Hotel & Resort’s 1945 vintage fire truck and a variety of children’s activities.
Other festival highlights include the Nantucket Garden Club’s Annual Daffodil Show, a Scavenger Hunt and a Daffodil 5K Race.
Nantucket Wine Festival
Since its debut 19 years ago, the Nantucket Wine Festival (May 13-17, 2015) has become one of the most celebrated wine and food events in the country. The annual event is held each spring, beginning with an opening reception where festivalgoers can meet and mingle with vintners and chefs, while sampling exquisite wines and savory bites.
The Grand Tastings – “the heart and soul of the Nantucket Wine Festival” – are an opportunity to experience over 600 different wines from more than 150 prestigious wineries from around the globe. New wineries are featured each year, and artisan foods and gourmet delicacies complement the flavorful wines.
Local island restaurants also embrace the festival spirit, hosting wine dinners, lunches and other special events throughout the weekend.
A true harbinger of summer, the annual Figawi Race from Cape Cod to Nantucket (May 23-25, 2015) has earned widespread recognition, not only as a prestigious sailing event but as one of New England’s best parties of the year. People from all over swarm the Island on Memorial Day weekend – decked out in Nantucket Reds and other nautical attire – to be part of the Figawi scene.
The weekend festivities begin on Friday, with a kickoff celebration at Hyannis Yacht Club. The next morning, over 200 sailboats can be seen gathering off Hyannisport to await the 10 a.m. start. The beach at Brant Point Light is a perfect vantage point to catch the boats as they complete the 25-mile race at the entrance of Nantucket Harbor and parade into Nantucket Boat Basin.
Figawi Weekend continues Sunday with an awards ceremony and the Figawi Invitational, which sees Cape & Islands high school sailing teams competing for the coveted Figawi Jr. Trophy in races that take place off the docks of Nantucket Boat Basin. The closing race on Monday, dubbed "Redux," ends in a neutral location to allow skippers to head north or south towards home.
Also part of the Figawi festivities is a formal gala, held on Cape Cod the weekend prior to the race to raise money for local charities.
Nantucket Noel and Christmas Stroll
Cobblestone streets lined with glittering fir trees, strolling carolers in Victorian garb and the scent of wood smoke wafting through a bustling marketplace…this picture-perfect backdrop is what makes Nantucket's annual Christmas Stroll Weekend a truly enchanting experience.
Nantucket Noel festivities kick off the day after Thanksgiving with the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Community Caroling. Locals and visitors alike gather at the top of Main Street at dusk to watch over 100 Christmas trees come alive in a blaze of colored light, as joyous caroling fills the air (be sure to download the new Nantucket Arts App on your Smartphone to follow along with the lyrics).
Now in its 42nd year, Christmas Stroll Weekend (December 4-6, 2015) is a holiday tradition. Santa Claus arrives on Saturday via Coast Guard vessel and is escorted up Straight Wharf by the Town Crier. Children delight in the Magical Talking Tree at the top of Main Street, while carolers in period costumes stroll the streets. Holiday craft shows, exhibitions and performances – including the popular Christmas House tour on Friday evening – add to the festivities. And don't miss the Annual Festival of Trees running throughout December at the Whaling Museum!
IF YOU GO
Cliff Lodge Bed & Breakfast
Jared Coffin House
Martin House Inn Bed & Breakfast
The Nantucket Hotel & Resort
White Elephant Hotel
Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant Hotel
TOPPER’s Restaurant at The Wauwinet