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What is Nantucket?

Nantucket is a small glacial moraine (sandy deposit), about 30,000 acres in area and peaking out at about 108 feet at the highest elevation. It’s sandy shores face the Atlantic on the East and South and Nantucket Sound to the North and West. The island was first settled by human habitants around ~5,000 BC and remained a native settlement until 1610 when the first Europeans sighted the island. The island served as a major whaling port until the mid-1800’s when steam-powered vessels made the port obsolete and the land based oil exploration snuffed out the whale oil trade. For almost 100 years the island consisted of a small year round fishing and agricultural community, with a small cohort of nautically inclined visitors coming each summer. A major revitalization of the town occurred in the 1970’s, headed up by Walter Beinecke, with a focus on building the current marina on Straight Wharf and rebuilding the waterfront facing the harbor. Since then Nantucket has become a summer haven for visitors around New England and the world over.