I just came back from spending two weeks on the island of Nantucket with my mom and my two kids. My husband was not able to join us for this vacation because of work (and the fact that he already took a week of vacation in May when we went to Paris for our anniversary.) So it was just me and my mom and the two kids in a slightly ramshackle cottage. Lucky for me, my mom is a very hands-on grandparent and we had tons of fun. But it was still exhausting in the way that only travel with young kids can be.
As I mentioned, I love Nantucket. My family has been vacationing there on and off since 1978. I love the island’s beaches; its frozen-in-time Main Street; the scrubby moors on the middle of the island and the smell of the salt air. We had a wonderful vacation with delicious food, relaxing days and great fun for the kids. But there were a few things I missed during my time on the Fog Island (also known as the Grey Lady). Here they are, in no particular order.
- 1. Starbucks. Okay, one of the best things about Nantucket is that the islanders have managed to keep all chains (except for banks and one Stop N Shop) off the island. Yes, I mean there is no McDonald’s, no Home Depot, no Target — nothing. Although I love the convenience and familiarity of national chain and big box stores when I’m at home, when I come to Nantucket, I love how the island looks so different from everywhere else. Part of that is the iconic island style — cobblestone streets and shingled cottages. But part of it is the absence of the stores that are ubiquitous in the rest of America. All that being said, I missed my Starbucks grande, skim, no water, no foam chai tea latte like nobody’s business. The cute local coffee house, which is called Fast Forward (awwww…) had tons of charm but its chai was wretched. Also, when I wanted to get Zuzu’s adorable, college-age camp counselors a little thank-you gift, I was stumped. At home, a Starbucks card would have been just the thing. In the absence of Starbucks, my mom and I had no idea what to get Gus, Jack and Helena to thank them for teaching Zuzu the wonders of sailing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Well, let’s just say that I hope they like their gift cards to the Fast Forward. Just don’t order the chai.
2. My Husband. I definitely meant to put that before Starbucks.
3. My DVR. My five year old simply does not understand the concept of a show being on at a certain time and not on at any other time. He wanted to watch The Electric Company when he got home from camp. Why was it not on then? Furthermore, why did it keep being on at 5:30 which was the exact time we had to leave to go out to dinner?
4. Central Air. It’s actually not so much the air conditioning that I missed as much as climate control. Nantucket is a small island thirty miles out to sea. It’s foggy and humid and just plain damp. It didn’t get that hot while we were on the island. In fact, the house we rented had window air conditioning units in the bedrooms and we only used them on a few nights. Usually, we could get the house plenty cool by opening the windows. But it always felt damp. One morning my mother said to me, “I haven’t felt fully dry since we got here.” I echoed that sentiment completely. Everything just felt a little damp and a little musty. I’d step out of the shower feeling fresh and clean and minutes later I would be back to feeling slightly ripe. Again, I think that’s the price of being on a low-lying island in the middle of the ocean. But it was something of a relief to return home to a dry climate and the miracle of central air conditioning.
Of course, now that I am back home in the land of Starbucks and every other chain on Earth, central air, endless DVR and On Demand shows, and, of course, my husband, I miss the light and the sea air and the cool ocean breezes of Nantucket. I’m already dreaming of our next visit.
What do you miss most when you’re away from home?