Here’s What to Do in Nantucket in the Winter
April 12, 2023
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Nantucket is a renowned destination with some of the world’s most fascinating attractions, mostly during the summer. In winter, it’s a whole different experience. By then, the temperatures go down, and many tourists who flock to the place are not around. The place suddenly regains its original looks, from around a century ago.

With activities scaling down, most tourist sites like the lighthouses and wharf go quiet, and the city suddenly seems ghosted.

That is not to say Nantucket has nothing to offer over the winter. With fewer crowds and calmness, this is the time to experience the scenic place differently.

Some of the top activities to engage in Nantucket in the winter include:

Visit Nantucket Whaling Museum

The Nantucket whaling museum remains one of the best places to visit during winter to learn about the island’s historical past. The museum is a former spermaceti candle factory, where workers convert sperms into candles. It contains the skeleton of a massive sperm whale, artifacts from whaling vessels, and photos and portraits of sea captains.

The museum hosts a special exhibit of Christmas trees for the Nantucket Historical Association’s Annual Festival of Trees in Winter. Every year, the Christmas trees come in unique designs by local artists.

The museum usually closes in January and opens in the second week of February. You can check out the museum’s website for the exact dates.

Catch a Sunrise (Or a Sunset)

One of the most aggravating aspects of staying in Nantucket over the winter is how early the sun sets. However, this comes with a good part: the late sunrises. For those who love watching the sun getting over the clouds but don’t want to lose their sleep, winter in Nantucket is your time.

The Winter Solstice is characterized by some of the shortest days around late December and early January. In this period, the sun does not rise until after 7 am. Find your place at Sconset beach, on the East side of Nantucket Island, to get the best view of the sunrise.

With the island deserted by tourists, you will have a whole place to yourself. You only need a warm drink for company. Also, you may catch the sunset early in the evening. Madaket beach has one of the best points to view the sunset. With the sun setting as early as 4:15 pm, you want to arrive in time to watch its rays magically disappear over the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean.

Explore the Empty Coastline.

While the island is already popular for its beaches, the crowds in the summer can, at times, shift your attention. The empty coastline over the winter makes for a rugged space that will rejuvenate memories of the earlier days of the island before the transformation.

Most of the coastal areas are a little hard to access in Winter. Among the few accessible points is Great Point. It is the place to enjoy the new species of seals and harps that come to the island’s coastline in winter.

A free walk on the beach with the chills and quiet in the air will provide the peace you need for a fulfilling winter.

Catch up with Friends Over a Hot Drink

Winter is a relaxed time when you can catch up with old friends or create new ones on the island.  Cisco Brewery at 5 Bartlett Farm road is one of the best points to hang out. Even though famed for its outdoorsy bubble over the summer, it turns into a more comfortable heated tent and an outdoor firepit in the winter. It offers a wide range of winter activities, from Pints & Paints to wheel-throwing demonstrations and wreath-making. The place is kid and pets friendly. Alternatively, You can also opt for a cruise with a friend around the island on a hot chocolate tour.

Catch a Show at Nantucket Dreamland

Nothing makes for more fun in winter than a show at the Nantucket Dreamland Film, Theatre, and Cultural Center. The place offers various activities like live performances, movies, and other community events. Comedy shows, film screenings, live theater, and musical performances are all part of the events within Dreamland that will make for an entertaining and fulfilling experience.

Enjoy the Christmas Festivities

Nantucket is the place to be if you want a unique way to enjoy your festive season. The place is always set up sparkly with annual traditions like the iconic dory moored off the shore and the whaling museum’s Festival of Trees.

One of the most popular Nantucket Island Christmas activities is the Christmas Stroll weekend which occurs on the first weekend of December. The event features a range of activities like carols, live entertainment, holiday treats, and Santa arriving by boat. The downtown streets of Nantucket often get lit by Christmas decorations giving it that festive aura. It’s also the perfect time to shop and get great bargains.

Learn a New Craft

With almost everything slowing down, the winter is the perfect time to learn a new skill on the Nantucket. Choose from the wide range of classes offered by the Artists Association of Nantucket (AAN). They have a visual arts studio in Amelia Drive from where they offer the classes.

Some of the crafts to learn include; drawing, printmaking, and wheel-thrown ceramics. You can also host up to 20 friends for an Art Party, where you invite friends while the AAN covers everything.

If you want to try a hand at knitting, then check out Flock on Orange street. They have beautifully crafted yarns and offer classes from time to time.

Final Word

While Nantucket can seem devoid of life over the Winter, it’s never short of what to do. Take the downtime to enjoy the fresh air as you catch sunsets and sunrise. It’s also the best time to catch up with friends and loved ones and explore more about the island. Moreover, you can sharpen some skills or gain new ones.

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