welcome back, nantucket {life}


There is, I think, something really special about going back to a place that you love. Even better when you're heading there to recreate traditions with dear friends. And you know what's funny? I was on the phone with my friend Megan yesterday and we were already talking about next year! But let's talk about this year before it gets to be next year, shall we? It's taken me forever.

I don't know if you remember, but there was a bit of a storm barreling down on the East Coast on Thanksgiving Week this year. Horror stories of travel snarls had us a bit worried, even though we were traveling a day earlier than we did last year. Our main concern was beating the storm to the ferry, because once the winds get up the ferries don't run.

When we got up, (early, early,) that Tuesday morning in Mystic, the wind was blowing, and the whole of the 100 mile drive to Hyannis, we felt that wind at our backs pushing us toward the island. But we made it. The crowd in line wasn't nearly as full as last year, nor as jolly and there was much talk of being stranded on or off island. I didn't really feel good until the boat pulled out of the harbor. By that evening, the winds picked up and all the boats were canceled.

That night, lying in bed (Cal was in a single bed bunk above the double Neel and I shared below), the wind shook the house so hard that we all woke up, Cal startling, "Oh my God!" The whole of the rest of the day was like that.

It felt, Neel and I thought, rather hurricane-y. Bands of rain and wind, rather than a steady blow. While my friend Megan taught a yoga class, he and I took refuge in a coffee shop to read and watch the town come to life. That afternoon, we took the two youngest kids to several beaches (Sankaty Head Light first and then Cisco Beach, where I filmed the wind video from a few posts back.) to watch the wind and the waves. It was thrilling and exhilarating and some of the best fun I've ever had.

By Thanksgiving morning, all was calm and bright for the Cold Turkey Plunge, a tradition Neel and I are proud to watch from the sidelines. (wink) Everyone else (brave or foolhardy?) plunged though. Negative 22º wind chill with 44º water temps. You be the judge.

After the big blow on Wednesday we were graced with clear skies and crisp air straight through the remainder of the week. Long walks, windy strolls through quaint shops, and lunches bellied up to the bar. We did it all. How we crammed everything in, I'll never know. There's never enough time. And I still haven't quite got a handle on how to photograph this place. While my family is used to my lagging behind, I'm keenly aware of others needing me to catch up so I tend not to linger. I think I need to go back with photography my sole concern. Yes? Yes!

Still, before we knew it, we were back on the ferry, sitting high atop the bluest water you've ever seen, our pennies ready to throw at the Brant Point Light to ensure our return. Headed home.

I have more to say about Nantucket and this trip, and I'll probably bore you with a couple more posts on it. But what I was struck with most this time is how special it really is to come back to a place you love. These friends that we spend this holiday with are some of our dearest in the world, and we took that newly-coined hash tag #friendsgiving and ran with it, I'm afraid. I could spend a weekend (or week!) with them anywhere and it would be wonderful, but I love Nantucket, and to have to have it grow familiar alongside my loved ones is something special indeed.