Nantucket: blogging in America’s Finèstre


With the setting sun, a glorious September week on Nantucket is drawing to a close. As I hear the slow-pulsing beat of waves on the shore, my peripheral vision tells me that stray rays of the sun are breaking through a cloudy sky low on a horizon of ocean and moors. Soon, gopher-looking beach houses peeking over the hills will become mere silhouettes. But unlike past evenings, this evening they’ll miss being washed by the most unnaturally intense riot of crimson and yellow imaginable. Tonight’s view will remain a tone poem of soft blue-grays. Six in the morning, let me tell you, was another story: the eastern sky was ablaze, ushering the sun’s rising. But red sky at morning…


IMG_1378All for the best. It seems a natural way to wind down a wonderful week of painting and partying on this amazing island. With my friends, Nancy and Sue, I had my final 60th birthday dinner at Todd English’s Figs Restaurant. A Patois heaven it was, from walking through the front door to savoring the last bite. Make that sip. Housed in a venerable, 300 year old New England clapboard edifice, graced with low slung beamed ceilings, fireplaces and wide plank floors, my eyes were feasting before my mouth had a chance to savor a morsel. One more reason to return to this far-distant island.

IMG_4696 With barely two towns to its name(add a settlement or two), the towns of Nantucket’s shoulder-to-shoulder buildings and cobblestone streets framed by brick sidewalks fill me with the same mind-spinning excitement I feel when visiting ancient french villages. Especially the doll-sized fishermen’s cottages of Siasconset. Oh-la-la! How can houses so tiny one must duck to enter pulse such charm? I woke every morning ready to charge there to paint with the verve of a racehorse waiting to be cut loose from its stanchion.  Stay tuned for the results. And painting en plein air is pretty much public license to voyeur. No one questions why you’re peeking.


All told, France has her Finestre, but we have our Nantucket. Both are distant and isolated regions oozing with the heritage of the sea. And as Nancy so aptly said, after taking car, plane, bus and ferry to reach this enchanted island, no one gets here by accident. Maybe that’s why the days here seem so pregnant with purpose. And so rich with leisure.


9 thoughts on “Nantucket: blogging in America’s Finèstre

  1. Bruce, you are in my all time favorite vacation spot. I haven’t been in several years, but I hope to go again soon. And, my favorite time is even later than this. I love to go in late October, early November when the nor’easters blow through and the wind does the impossible, straightening every curl on my head. And, it is when the ghosts of Nantucket are the most active. Something about the weather, the rawness, the primordial feel of the island gets them stirring. It is quite the place of magic with the thinnest of veils at that time. Anyway, make sure you get to the Brotherhood of Thieves. I’ve enjoyed many glasses of wine in that lovely, decadent den. And, there is a wonderful candy store one one of the streets with chocolate covered cranberries that you HAVE to buy. So, have a glass of wine, a bowl of lobster bisque, and one perfect chocolate covered cranberry for me. Much love, my dear.

    • I did all but the lobster bisque, having turned vegan for health reasons. However, I did break the fast and have a tiny nibble of Nancy’s amazing lobster at Languedoc across the street from Den of Thieves. I’m in Nantucket, after all, right?! And by the way, you should write your own blog. You make me want to return in a month or so!

  2. Jealous of you at this moment…not insanely so, given that I’m in Rome, but jealous nonetheless. Safe travels, dear friend. See you and your new oeuvres at home!

  3. Wow! Bruce looks stunning & your descriptions just make us want to be there!!! So happy to hear your out & about doing what you love best. We send much love & hope we see you in the not too distant future….your Limousin lovelies Christopher & Frankie xxxx

  4. We get to see these beautiful places through your amazing lens; thank you, Bruce! I especially loved the Adirondack chairs — with the little bitty chair at the end!! Thanks for letting us travel with you again. xo!

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