Apartments with kitchens that can accommodate cereal breakfasts, late-night snacks, and any amount of post-nap milk breaks and a pool right off Main Street make this centrally located resort ideal for families with kids in tow.
While hotels can be lovely for romantic weekends with your partner, for our money, apartments win when traveling with kids. White Elephant Village offers luxuriously appointed apartments with real kitchens, vast beds with luxury linens, deep slipper tubs, and roomy showers. The two- and three-bedroom units even have iPod docks, gas fireplaces, and elegant living rooms. Tea is served daily in the main lobby down the road, but the killer amenity for guests traveling with kids is that White Elephant Village has a large pool located steps from Main Street—ideal for parents seeking quick, energy-burning dips without a schlepp to the surf-swept beach. Of course, the beach is also an option—and the hotel’s complimentary bus will take you there (along with boogie boards, towels, beach chairs, fishing rods, etc., all provided free of charge by the hotel).
In town, there is the Nantucket Historical Association’s fabulous Whaling Museum, with exhibits and lectures geared for all ages (though you might want to skip the Whaleship Essex presentations: its highpoint is a nightmare-inducing act of cannibalism). It offers an educational Children’s Discovery Room with games, crafts, and activities geared to explore the Island’s history. Look for story times and special kid-focused events, too. Admission to the Whaling Museum also buys admission to the Jared Coffin House (the Island’s oldest), plus the Old Mill, Old Gaol, Greater Light, and Fire Hose Cart House.
Near the historic center of town, Children’s Beach offers the dual amenities of a playground and a harbor-bathing beach that’s sheltered from surf by a barrier island. For parents with energetic children, this can be a lifesaver near the crowded sidewalks of town. A visit to Aunt Leah’s Fudge on Main Street is a must do. This sugary wonderland makes some of the best fudge in New England—don’t miss the traditional penuche, all brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Both Sayle’s Seafood and Cisco Brewery make ideal restaurants for families with kids, but a trip to Nantucket doesn’t feel complete without a meal taken at the Brotherhood of Thieves. This ancient, subterranean tavern feels ripped from the pages of Melville— happily, its craft beers are not, nor is its classic American fare. Also—to give the kiddies a sense of the Nantucket that was—drop into Congdon’s Pharmacy This old-school drugstore has a lunch counter with spinning stools and a worn laminate counter and has seen generations of Nantucketers chow down on grilled cheese sandwiches and slurp ice cream sodas. It’s ideal for kids, and a bit of old-time Americana—a holdout on Nantucket’s increasingly glitzy shopping strip.
On the ferry back to the mainland, introduce your kids to Nantucket’s popular tradition: Throw a penny overboard as you pass Brant Point Lighthouse to ensure a safe return to the Island.
Details: At White Elephant Village (www.whiteelephantvillage.com), summer villa rates range from $595 to $3,800 per night. Book a three-bedroom apartment and receive a complimentary 2014 BMW SUV.