Tag Archives: MimboloveIsland Life
Guys, tomorrow is December 1. IT’S DECEMBER. I know people say something to that effect every single year, but seriously, 2017 – where you at? Maybe I shouldn’t complain. Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of telling us that this year was a dumpster fire and we’d all be a lot better off if it quietly showed itself out. But I’m not here to remind of us of the current state of things, instead for #ThrowbackThursday, I’m taking a little stroll down memory lane… literally.
If you caught up on my most recent post, you know that I am no longer residing on the island of Nantucket and instead now have planted my feet firmly in the continental U.S. (If you’re like hey girl, I have no idea what you’re talking about, you can read more about it here.) Even though it was totally the right decision and there is really is no good time to make a major life change like that, one of the things I will really miss about the island is Stroll Weekend, which happens to be starting in oh, less than 24 hours. In case you don’t know, Stroll is this amazing time of the year when the island is transformed into what can only be described as a Norman Rockwell painting, Hallmark Christmas movie, and an episode of Gilmore Girls on peppermint-flavored crack. It’s busy and amazing and expensive and the most festive thing you will ever experience in your life. Dare I say, it’s downright magical.
Last year, my friend Molly and I (the social media-savvy lady seen above) decided to get up early before the crowds and hit downtown to fully experience Stroll before it becomes a madhouse of silly Christmas hats, off-islanders, and just sheer holiday madness. Despite the fact that both of us had lived on-island for a few years, we hadn’t really gotten to take it all in and we wanted to snap some photos of the scene.
Ah, bloggers. Who else would indulge your need to take so many photos not looking at the camera? (If you don’t recall, Molly captured some amazing outfit photos for me last year, like this one and also these. I miss her so much since she moved back to the West Coast and I swear it’s not just because she takes awesome pics of me “looking at the ground” as Steve says of blog photoshoots.) Also in case you haven’t had enough of reading about people’s experiences moving off the island, Molly has a great post about it here too.
Any good morning for us on Nantucket started at Petticoat Row. Between the sweets (the secret ingredient in everything? BUTTER), the proximity to our office, and the inviting interior, Petticoat was always like Visa – everywhere you wanted to be.
With no real schedule for the day, we explored all the streets and storefronts with displays that I snapped not only to capture the moment, but to remember for any and all future homes I might be able to decorate. I mean, the window boxes at Greydon House are my kryptonite. This updated inn was across the street from my office, and I can’t tell you how many times I hung out in front of the building in all seasons, taking pictures of their most recent window displays when I was supposed to be checking my mail. Hey, if it’s good enough for AD… well then it’s probably way too good for me. But a girl can dream.
I know, more window boxes. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t care for greenery or plants or anything that I have to keep alive without a pulse. But man, Nantucket changes you in a lot of ways, and for me? It made me want to have a green thumb (or, enough money to pay other people with those thumbs to do this for me).
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good theme. One of my other favorite places on Nantucket, The Corner Table (I swear we did more than just eat) incorporated actual food into their outdoor decorations. FOOD. Get it? Because they’re a culinary center? I can’t, it’s just too good.
Since my dog cannot be trusted to walk around downtown or wear accessories no matter how much I bribe him, I had to settle for getting a shot of this cutie instead.
More Culinary Center goodness. Every year during Stroll, they have live free demos that just any ragamuffin off the street like me can walk in and watch (and more importantly, try the food). This is Sarah Leah Chase, who has a very well-known Nantucket cookbook that I have personally tried things from that she has made and oh my God is it like heaven in your mouth. I mean, not enough to make me actually want to cook anything, but enough to get me to show up at things when I hear she’s in town.
And how much was I coveting one of these N.TUC Marché bags depicting the story of Moby-Dick? (It doesn’t seem to be available anymore on their website but OHMYGOD THERE’S A DRESS VERSION.)
I kid you not, I had basically no knowledge of Jeep Wagoneers before I moved to Nantucket. Now of course I’m obsessed and I want one and I see them everywhere I go, like on these adorable ornaments at Vineyard Vines.
Fun fact: My husband wired these lights at Beauty Counter on the wharf. All I got out of it was him yelling at me when he realized I was buying their lip balm that costs $10 a tube (but seriously, it is the best).
Later we headed down to the Easy Street basin to see the annual Christmas tree floating in a tiny boat. For those of you on my Christmas card list, you may recognize this from our first year on Nantucket, as well as in pretty much any tourist’s photo during the month of December.
It was there we stumbled upon a mother trying to capture a photo of her toddler on her iPhone for a Christmas card that he was having no part of. Molly helped distract him and I snapped a couple shots of him with my Canon and assured his mom that I would send them to her to use for her card. She thanked us by promising to send me a copy and taking the only photo of Molly and I together the entire day.
I told you – craziness. This is literally how the streets look from the time when Santa is about to arrive until people head to their dinner reservations.
Speaking of Santa, he arrives by boat with the Coast Guard, and it led up the wharf by an actual town crier. For those that think I say this in jest, see Exhibit A (above) and Exhibit B (below).
I mean, after all that excitement, where does one go?
To a party in the back of bike shop, of course. (Again, I couldn’t make any of this up.)
And of course, we always take advantage of when our favorite stores that were closed for the season open back up again, so we would make a point to visit Follain any time they opened their doors.
As day turns to night, the island becomes even more of a movie set when you see all the community-decorated trees that line Main Street (and all the people are pretty much gone, either at one of the restaurants that are only open again for the weekend or at fancy holiday parties).
All joking aside, Stroll Weekend is one of the best times to be on the island, if for nothing else than that there doesn’t seem to be anything like it anywhere. I know lots of vacation towns do their own version of a holiday festival, but this one is really unlike anything else I’ve seen in any New England town ever.
I’m so glad that we did this last year, because 2017 is definitely going to be less festive for the Scouras’s. With the move, and me living in America and Steve still coming back and forth from Nantucket, it just doesn’t make sense to get a tree or decorate for the holidays this year when we’re actually trying to pack all of our belongings (don’t even get me started on my Christmas card or lack thereof right now). If you need me, I’ll be reliving all the holiday hubbub with these photos and sustaining myself on the Buddy the Elf diet.
My outfit details:
Old Navy coat [sim] & scarf (mine’s old, but they have some newer colors here)
Nautica jeans [sim] via the Lightship Basket Museum Yard Sale
L.L. Bean socks & boots
The Lovely hat [sim] (I have no idea what brand it is but it came with a second interchangeable pom pom in another hue)
Kate Spade purse & earrings (these are both old but there’s sometimes similar styles at the outlet)
Primark scarf [sim] (I know because we both bought the same one last year – they don’t have it on their website but I feel like that pattern is everywhere now)
Gap pea coat [sim] (Disclaimer: I lent Molly this jacket because she is from California and therefore doesn’t exactly have a rotating wardrobe of wool coats. I have to tell you that I have had this coat since my freshman year of high school. I still don’t even know how that’s possible)
Yikes. It’s certainly been awhile since we caught up, hasn’t it? The last we chatted I was still reveling in the glow of birthday gifts and sunny beach days. And now, here we are – living in a perpetual state of oversized sweaters and nonstop Hallmark movies where no doubt a big city curmudgeon learns the true meaning of Christmas (usually on a tree farm – big ups to Canada and their tax breaks for the film industry).
The biggest news ’round these parts is that I am writing to you from the continental U.S. Yes, that’s right – after four and a half years on a little elbow of sand called Nantucket (or ACK depending on how freely you like to throw around abbreviations), I booked a one-way ticket on the slow boat headed for America. There were so many reasons for this move, and it was definitely a long-time coming. I don’t want to bore you with all the specifics, but the underlying issue that Steve and I had been aware of for quite some time is that life on Nantucket (for us, at least) wasn’t sustainable for the long-term.
Some people make it work for years, they do the shuffle – move in and out of housing they can (sort of) afford depending on the season, or like us, live in a very small space (a friend once told me he would have murdered his wife if he had to live in our studio apartment with her) with no stove and no hopes of ever being able to afford anything else. For us, it just wasn’t the life we wanted to live anymore, and having an ocean in between you and most of the things you love (like TARGET… I mean, my friends and family) gets old eventually.
People refer to certain life situations as bittersweet, and that is 100% what I can say this decision was. There were a lot of great things about that island, from the beautiful sunsets to the opportunities to do things that you could never do in the “real” world (Steve was a DJ on the radio and I got to be on TV – things we probably would never have been able to do anywhere else). And depending on how you feel about it, the local community vibe, complete with town meetings, people that know your name on the streets – it was all very Stars Hollow-ish (including the lack of privacy). Not to mention it’s freaking gorgeous. Seriously, an Instagrammer’s dream. The blogger in me fears I will never ever get as many “likes” as I did living on Nantucket.
But by far, the best thing that Nantucket gave us was the people. Most of my friends I met through my job, because when you live on an island and you work your ass off, they’re the ones you spend the most time with. They become family when you feel like you’re alone, drifting out in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, most of us knew that the way we were living wasn’t forever, with a lot of us residing in dorm-style staff housing due to the lack of affordable options on Nantucket. In a lot of ways, it was awesome. The people you loved the most were just always there, kind of like on Friends. We often spent all day at the office together, then worked after hours for programs, and we would still choose to have dinner with each other or go out for a drink later. Many weekends I would roll myself up the stairs at the duplex I lived in, still in my pajamas, to recount our stories from the night before and make plans for the day. Schooner was the one really living the high-life, man. He had more dog moms than he could count.
With all of us being vaguely around the same age, this thing started to happen where we all realized that as strong as our bond was, it would never be enough to keep us all in a lifestyle that wasn’t attainable for us. No matter what stage we were at, all of us wanted more. Houses, better jobs, kids, the ability to travel – things that couldn’t happen here.
So for the last year, every few months or so, we lost one of our “group.” Our favorite off-season activity was this thing called Fight Night at Backyard Barbeque, one of our favorite restaurants. They partnered with Cisco Brewers and every Wednesday night, it was a challenge of beer vs. wine, wine vs. spirits, etc., with four courses to accompany each round of beverages (rest assured, they were small pours. But we still often had to hang out a bit before we drove home!). Steve was their best customer – the first year they offered it, he attended every single one. Seriously, they gave him a t-shirt at the end.
At the height of our time on Nantucket, we had a standing reservation for fifteen people practically every single week. The first deflectors left in September. Then there was the holidays, and we lost a few more in the months after. By the time that season of Fight Nights finished, we were down to four of us at a table. Don’t get me wrong – we were so happy for those who figured out their exit strategy, who found a good enough reason to finally make the jump, book the boat, take a chance on something new. But boy did it suck to lose those people that became woven in the fabric of your life every day. Things like this don’t happen other places. You know why? Because your friends move a town, or even a state away – and you can still drive to see them! In addition, part of the cache of Nantucket is that it attracts really interesting people from all over the world. From our “group,” there are now people living in Indiana, California, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Shang freaking Hai – not exactly places you can easily get to.
Losing our tribe wasn’t everything, but it sure made all the other parts of life that weren’t perfect a lot more obvious once they were gone. These people were an amazing distraction from the things about Nantucket that we didn’t enjoy. So this fall, Steve and I became some of the last people in our “group” to leave… well, correction. I left.
Yes, you read correctly. After all this, Steve is still on Nantucket, and I’m well… I’m hanging out in the good old U.S.A. Steve has a great gig there with his boss and still lots of work, therefore $$$ happening, so it’s hard to give that up. I got a job in the South Shore in an industry I’m super passionate about, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So we packed up my stuff, and I left my guy and my pup behind on the rock. My inlaws were nice enough to take me in, and for the last month I’ve just been working, getting used to having a forty-five minute commute (I drove just over a mile to work everyday before), and figuring out our next steps so our little family can be reunited on land.
We’re trying to make the best of it. Steve has come to visit a few times with Schooner and I’ve been back once so far. There’s still an apartment to be packed and lots of loose ends to tie up, but we’re going to make it work. And of course, we’re already planning our next Nantucket reunion 🙂 #TribeTrip2018
All in all, I am so grateful for the time I spent on Nantucket. When I interviewed there, following the Nemo blizzard and getting on the first boat that had run in days, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was convinced that I was unqualified to work in a museum (which to be honest, I really kind of was) but the great thing about Nantucketers is they’re willing to take a chance on people. And trust me, the people and the island will test you. There were so many times I cried or I wanted to give up, thinking that Nantucket was going to chew me up and spit me back out the sea. But it didn’t. I spent four and a half years at an amazing institution that taught me what it truly means to be a professional. I stretched my creativity in new ways. I experienced so much joy and a bit of heartache too. But most of all, I grew up. And now I’m ready to grow some more, but in a new place where there’s a bit more opportunity to have some of those real-life experiences.
So thank you to everyone who in some way, shaped this experience for us. Not many people get to say “I lived on Nantucket year-round” – seriously, it is quite the conversation starter.
Speaking of words, there really aren’t enough to describe our lives the past few years. So of course, I avoided gathering up all my earthly belongings and instead spent hours making this video of as many of the high points as I could squeeze into four minutes. This could have gone on for hours, but I know we’ve all got things to do. Like packing.
P.S. There’s so much more I could say about the island than would fit in one post. I’m going to do some follow ups on my favorite experiences, shops and restaurants, and more post-Nantucket life updates. Stay tuned!
This month, I will have officially lived on the island of Nantucket for three years. I would say in that time, I’ve accomplished maybe half of the things on my Nantucket bucket list (and most of them involve eating so I don’t know if that counts). Well in February, we checked off another as Steve drove us and our friends Jessica and Jonathan (and our respective pups, of course) out to Great Point to check out the lighthouse!
Okay, disclaimer: I have been to Great Point one and a half times already. The one time was on Easter 2015, but it was dusk and I could barely see anything, let alone take photos. The half time was when we tried to take our friends Alisa and Kevin out there and Steve’s engine overheated and we had to turn back. Oops.
Nantucket has three lighthouses, and Great Point is by far the most challenging to get to. It sits on the very tip of the island on the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. You need a certain type of car that can drive through sand (which is very soft), a special permit, and you have to let a bunch of the air out of your tires before you hit the beach.
The lighthouse was built in the late 1700s, and it still operates today (with helpful modern additions like solar panels). Nantucket doesn’t have a lot of particularly large structures, so at seventy feet high, it’s definitely a sight to see!
We brought lunch with us and used our convenient L.L. Bean compact camp table to enjoy our meal by the lighthouse.
Given its remoteness (and the fact that it was February) it was nice to be totally alone on the beach and let the pups run free. Normally I’m worried about Schooner stealing beach toys from small children or going up to old people and barking in their faces, so that was a nice change.
I somehow forgot to ask someone to take a photo of me. But I promise, I was there.
The only company you really have to worry about there? The seals. So many seals! Frankly, I think this is what Jessica and I were most excited to see out there! Since it’s mostly unoccupied, seals just like hang out there all day long. I was worried that Schooner would try and attack them (after all, they are “pups”) but he wasn’t particularly intrigued.
I kept pushing my luck, trying to get as close to the seals as possible to get photos. Like seriously, when again in my life will I ever do this?! Totally worth a potential seal attack (I’ve heard they’re pretty mean and territorial when provoked).
If anything, the seals were quite aloof. Every once in awhile they would check us out, and then turn back around like they couldn’t care less that we were there. I found this adorable.
Sometimes I wish I was a seal. Sun bathing on the beach, a few dips in the ocean. They just look so content hanging out there all day!
Can we talk about the spots? I loved the spotted ones! They were like little dalmatians. And by little, I mean they were kind of gigantic (you would be too, if you just laid around all the time).
I seriously wanted to take that piece of driftwood home. I swear you would pay thousands of dollars for a chandelier made out of it from one of the fancy home stores downtown.
All in all, it was a great day (especially when you think about what the weather was like a year ago in February – yikes), and definitely a quintessential ACK-perience that we won’t soon forget.
If you can make the trip out there, I definitely recommend it because it’s a totally unique experience and not something that all of the usual Nantucket day-tripping tourists are able to do. Just watch out for those seals.
Until next time,