So I am on Nantucket for a woefully brief time this Summer, and I've been looking at it with a more critical eye. Not for any particular reason, but just to help me understand the Why of "Why I love it so much."
First off, for my first thought - let me start with I had very romantic ideas about posting one of these a day for the 5 days that I was here, but then I remembered I am on vacation, and that just seemed a lot like work to me. So I have just been brain writing this week and I'm hoping to get them all out and in the world by sometime next week.
What I've discovered about Nantucket is it is an island of paradoxes, of "this or that's" of "what kind of people are you?" It permeates every part of your stay. For most people who only go once or twice - it probably doesn't register, but once you can no longer count the visits on both hands you realize just how picky/a jerk you are.
Getting to Nantucket is no easy feat. That's the problem with an island 30 miles out in the Atlantic.
When I was a kid, and when my Mom was a kid (which is as far back as this train goes) we were slow boat ferry people. It is about an eight hour drive from the D.C. area to Hyannis and depending on a variety of factors (age of children, boat reservation, traffic, sanity etc) this drive can take one to two days. If you're on the two-day side of things, then you stay in a hotel in Hyannis. Its almost always a Days Inn, and on very rare occasions it has a pool. Sometimes your bike gets stolen. Every now and then you get a cheeseburger or a doughnut.
We are Steamship Authority people. This used to be the only game in town, but then the Hyline showed up with its fancy seats from this decade and its speediness, but my family are staunch supporters of the Steamship Authority. When we were kids, and my Great-Grandmother was alive, we used to take our car over, because otherwise we would be stranded, but even once we stopped driving and walked on the boat - the first choice was the slow boat from the Steamship Authority.
The slow boat takes at least two hours (if not 2 and a half?) depending on the weather its a bumpy and monotonous ride, but it is the beginning of vacation. In fact, I've already waxed poetic about it.
Occasionally the fast boat becomes a necessity and it is fancy pants...but not the same.
Since moving out to Chicago, my only realistic option has been to fly over (normally on JetBlue - which I have a very tumultuous relationship with - because its almost affordable). This has been, for the most part, incredibly stressful what with tornadoes in Brooklyn, lost pilots and (of course) fog. Fog makes flying into Nantucket the most inexact annoying science every and leaves me longing for the days when I could get there by boat - as it should be.