On our walk into town we mapped out a game plan, deciding that visiting the Whaling Museum first would be the best bet, then zipping over to the brewery. Ratty and I were really interested in the history of Nantucket, as well as the whaling industry, so we wanted to make sure that we were not rushed or tipsy while walking through. The museum was really cool, starting with the earliest history of Nantucket, the Wampanoag Indians who were the very first inhabitants. They have a very cool story of how they believe Nantucket came to be. Apparently in the Native American legend, and I am paraphrasing and most likely not doing it justice, there was a giant who lived on the cape, and one night he woke up and found that both of his shoes were full of sand. He stood up and threw one into the ocean, which created Martha's Vineyard and then threw the second shoe, which created Nantucket. There was less sand in the second shoe, and that is why Nantucket is smaller. While the exact origin of the name Nantucket is not known, it is believed to have stemmed from a word that meant 'in the midst of waters'.
This is a sperm whale that washed up on the beach a few years ago. The government was so impressed with the way Nantucket handled the beaching and the efforts they took to try and save the whale, they let the museum keep the remains. It is believed that the whale died from a broken tooth, which caused an abscess and subsequent infection. It was insane to think that something as simple as a chipped tooth could kill a 40 foot long whale. For the record, this whale was HALF the size of the whale that rammed into the Essex. That whale was 87 feet long.
I was impressed that the museum included the Native American history, as well as its Quaker and more famous whaling background. I don't really believe in how Nantucket was colonized, how people just showed up, claimed the land and kicked out the people who had lived here for centuries. I mean, that is pretty much how all of the US was colonized, but I digress. Nantucket was 'sold' to the very first settlers by Thomas Mayhew in 1659 for 30 pounds and 2 beaver hats. How exactly someone could own and subsequently sell an island when it was already 'owned' and operated is beyond me. It was actually never substantiated, and the actual sale of Nantucket is still questioned today, because there is no real record of the original owner actually owning it. So, are you saying it's still up for grabs?
We were at the museum for a few minutes when we looked at the schedule of events and saw that there was a story telling taking place at noon about the Essex. Like I've mentioned in previous posts, the Essex was the whaling ship that inspired 'Moby Dick', and the book 'In The Heart of The Sea' is one of my favorites. We sat in on this story telling session, which was about 20 minutes and covered all of the events we had read about. It was very interesting and cool to hear someone else tell the story to us. After that we made our way through the rest of the museum, looking at scrimshaw galleries, photographs, relics and artifacts, before making our way to the Observation Deck. From up there we could see almost all of Nantucket.
Look at all the boats! I want one, please!
Ugh, so awesome.
After our fantastic experience at the museum, we headed off to the Cisco Brewery to continue our Nantucket tour. The brewery is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so we opted for a cab because taking a bus and walking would have wasted valuable time. I was expecting something similar to the Harpoon Brewery here in Southie, maybe a little smaller but along the same lines. I thought it would be a big building, where we'd go on a tour, then sample some small beers in their gift shop. I could not have been more wrong! This place was so awesome I could have stayed forever. It was all outside, breezy and sunny, with 3 little houses that were used for tastings. There was a beer house, a vodka house and a wine house. The all had large french doors that were kept open, letting people come and go as they pleased. In the middle of the 3 houses was a cobblestone courtyard, with tables, chairs and umbrellas for lounging. This place was seriously amazing. We went straight to the beer house, where we participated in a tasting flight where we got to sample all 15 of Cisco's beers. The price for this awesome time? 8 bucks each. Not bad AT ALL!
We got a seat at the bar and made friends with the bartender and the people next to us. When the girl got up to go the bathroom, the guy turned to us and said he had a ring in his pocket and he was so nervous about proposing. He blurted it out so fast my head almost spun around. All I asked him was where he was from and literally his deepest darkest secrets came spilling out. I almost fell off my chair and I could barely hold myself together when she got back. Thankfully they were on their way out, so I didn't need to hide my excitement that long. Here are a few shots from the beer tasting.
Some Grey Lady beer, so yummy! Be careful where you buy it, it can be expensive. Coming from the girl who accidently paid $18 for a bottle of it once. Only once, never again!
We got to keep these awesome little tasting glasses. Included in our $8, like, so amazing.
Sipping on some chocolate stout, which was not nearly as disgusting as I was expecting.
My favorite saying, you can't drink all day if you don't start first thing in the morning. Amen.
In the beer tasting house.
Shot of the vineyard house and the courtyard.
Sipping on cranberry/grape drink from the 888 Vodka house. You can see it behind me.
Ugh, how insanely awesome is this camera?!
The wine tasting house.
We got to keep these glasses too! $8 for 11 different kinds of wine. All the wine was really good, I even liked some of the red wine, which for me is a fete in and of itself. The vineyard has been around since the early 1990's, but is much less popular than the beer and vodka brands. You can only find Nantucket Vineyard wines in Massachusetts, unlike the other stuff that has made it into other states. Hm, I wonder why the wine market is different than the rest.
PLUS, I got a temporary tattoo. Win.
So, at this point it was about 4-4:30pm and we were having so much fun. Our ferry was leaving at 5:30 and basically, I didn't want to go. I literally could not pull myself away. I think I may have started to cry, but that probably had more to do with the beer, vodka and wine than anything else. Here I am calling the Steamship Authority to see what time the next ferry was, 9:30pm depart time it is!
This place was bumpin'. Casual Monday afternoon.
Enjoying our newly extended vacation.
So like, are you hiring? Do you need an event planner? Or a beer sampler? Or a coffee go-getter?
The brewery called last call around 7pm, and Ratty and I grabbed a cab and headed to our B & B to grab our bags. The cab driver was so awesome and offered to stop and pick up our bags and drive us back into town. Honestly you thought walking from town with pizza in hand was rough, you should see me trying to walk on cobblestone with a heavy rolly suitcase. We hopped right out near the dock and decided to grab some food. Since this was the second meal of the day, after our breakfast, we were starving and proceeded to eat about $40 worth of Mexican food. I had 5 beef tacos and nachos with a side of guacamole, while Ratty ALSO had 5 beef tacos, nachos with a side of macaroni and cheese. Honestly, we were borderline disgusting but I didn't care. I think we ate enough food to kill a small animal.
After demolishing our dinner we went off to sit by the boat basin and wait for our ferry. Here I am, contemplating the meaning of life, or trying to figure out how I could move to Nantucket. In any case, I definitely did not want to leave. Ever.