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Nantucket or the Vineyard?

FallGirlFallGirl 8281 replies28 threads Senior Member
H and I will be flying to Boston on the Wednesday before Memorial Day and plan to be in New Hampshire Friday afternoon/evening for a family event. Thinking about driving to the Cape and taking a ferry to either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard on Thursday morning and staying over Thursday night. We have been to the Cape before, but never to either of the islands.

So any suggestions? Which island? (I have always wanted to see both, but we just don't have time). Suggestions on places to stay? Anything we should know about taking the ferry? Is this feasible at all?
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Replies to: Nantucket or the Vineyard?

  • thumper1thumper1 77096 replies3425 threads Senior Member
    See where you can get reservations and go there. For the Memorial Day weekend, you may find you don’t have a choice!
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  • ams5796ams5796 556 replies4 threads Member
    Are you planning to take your car over on the ferry?
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8281 replies28 threads Senior Member
    @thumper1 - we will be there before the weekend so hopefully it won't be that much of an issue.

    @ams5796 - we will have a rental car, so yes we would likely take it.

    Another option is to stay somewhere on the Cape and just take the ferry over (with or without car) for the day. Might be more feasible given our timeline.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6435 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Nantucket is very doable with a bike (weather permitting, and May isn't really summer on the Cape) if you are so inclined. That would allow you to go without the car.
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  • CT1417CT1417 4462 replies24 threads Senior Member
    It is quite expensive to take your car over to Nantucket or the Vineyard. Maybe $150-$180+ R/T to MV and $400-$450+ to Nantucket. Trip to MV is 45 minutes vs two hours to Nantucket.

    You can pay to park your car ($15/day) at the ferry terminal and stay overnight. Since you only have one day, you will either want to take the Fast Ferry to Nantucket or the regular ferry to the Vineyard. There is a beach quite close to town.

    You can bike everywhere easily on Nantucket, and all commercial activity is centered on where the ferry comes in. (Except 'Sconset, but you could fill a day without traveling out there.) The Vineyard is larger with several distinct towns. I believe there is some sort of bus system but have never used it so cannot advise. There are definitely taxis and Ubers, if you wanted to see another area.

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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24053 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Not taking your car opens up a lot of options. Car reservations are much harder to get than people reservations.

    If the ferry is half the fun, go to Nantucket - longer ride, ocean conditions, not as crowded. MV is an easy day trip, more ferry options. If you can find a nice hotel, you can stay but it is just as easy to go, stay all day and come back and sleep on the Cape. If you need to head out to NH early Friday, I'd probably do that. Traffic will start to pick up (in both directions and through Boston) on Friday.

    I don't think I'd stay on Nantucket and then try to head out to NH on Friday morning. Check the schedule, but there might not be an early enough ferry to get you on the road before noon.
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  • CT1417CT1417 4462 replies24 threads Senior Member
    P.S. Steamship Authority runs the car ferry to both islands. There are a number of fast ferry options, so just google the term fast ferry if you want to go to Nantucket without your car.
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  • abasketabasket 20525 replies896 threads Senior Member
    This is no basis to make a decision but I'm reading some fiction right now that involves both - it makes it sound like Nantucket is more stuffy and the Vineyard is more relaxed - but that could totally be wrong! :)

    @Bromfield2 might have some good advice if I'm remembering correctly?
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  • doschicosdoschicos 25793 replies255 threads Senior Member
    abasket wrote: »
    it makes it sound like Nantucket is more stuffy and the Vineyard is more relaxed - but that could totally be wrong! :)

    IMO, that is not wrong.

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  • GKUnionGKUnion 411 replies12 threads Member
    abasket wrote: »
    This is no basis to make a decision but I'm reading some fiction right now that involves both - it makes it sound like Nantucket is more stuffy and the Vineyard is more relaxed - but that could totally be wrong! :)

    BINGO!

    Day trip to the Vineyard. You’ll want to leave the Cape by 10 a.m. to beat Boston traffic. MANY people go north to the Lakes Region of NH for holiday weekends. As the unofficial kick-off to the summer season you can expect people to leave early for the weekend.

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  • travelnuttravelnut 2033 replies15 threads Senior Member
    The islands are well worth a visit and yet with this time frame, there may be some challenges.

    In case it helps, there are fast people-only Sea Streak ferries to MV (45 minutes to 1 hour trip) and Nantucket (2 hr trip) from New Bedford MA. with pay parking lots near dock. New Bedford is not on the Cape. May be worth checking it out and using ubers on-island. The ferry is a 40 minute drive from TF Green airport in RI; just over an hour from Logan if light traffic.

    Agree with others that traffic north to NH on Friday will be very dense. Those fast ferries may make a day trip possible, allowing for a smoother drive up on Friday if that is important.

    All the best with your trip.
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  • abasketabasket 20525 replies896 threads Senior Member
    So fiction IS sometimes the truth! ;) Sounds like a wonderful opportunity either way @FallGirl
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1437 replies38 threads Senior Member
    I'm partial to MV - we go every year. But there is so much to see and do that for a quick trip I would choose Nantucket. Yes, it is more stuffy but very quaint and really only one main "village." Would not take a car. Ferries likely booked, at least to MV. Not as many options for lodging so you want to get right on that.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 25793 replies255 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    A quick tripadvisor search for that night shows that accommodations can still be had with plenty of choices on Nantucket. It's been awhile since my last visit to the island but we enjoyed our stay at White Elephant which offers a nice harbor view and easy walking distance to the downtown shopping and dining areas.
    edited February 23
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 40297 replies2204 threads Super Moderator
    We love MV. We never take a car. They have a wonderful bus that gets you wherever you want to go. We enjoy the western side of the island, which is quiet and rural. But then we’ll take a bus to one of the towns on the eastern side for dinner and shopping. People are so friendly! More than once we’d be walking along and people would stop to offer us rides.
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  • fendrockfendrock 2930 replies297 threads Senior Member
    You may have some trouble in either case finding accommodations that don't require a two or even three night minimum.
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4138 replies84 threads Senior Member
    You can also fly from Hyannis to Nantucket. It's a 15 minute flight. No car, of course, so you'd need to take a taxi to your accommodation and rent a bike.
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8281 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Thanks to everyone for your comments/suggestions. This has been very helpful. At this point we have pretty much decided not to take the car. We are also considering staying in New Bedford or flying from Boston (we will arrive at Logan Wednesday afternoon).

    I wish we had more time...but this is being squeezed in between D's MBA graduation in the midwest (Monday night) and and my niece's boarding school graduation in NH on Saturday, thus the timing.

    @Bromfield2 - I will PM you.
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5826 replies53 threads Senior Member
    Both are lovely. You can't go wrong. We are fortunate to have friends on both islands who invite us every summer. [ShawWife is generous and charming]. We have more friends on MV and know it better.

    We prefer MV. Nantucket does seem a little stuffier. MV friends are more Boston-based and professor types with side businesses (so they can afford homes there) whereas Nantucket people we've met tend more towards New York private equity types. Not sure if this is true -- sample size is small.

    Your life will be a lot simpler if you skip the car and either bicycle or take an uber/lyft (I've only used uber/lyft on MV so I'm not sure they exist on Nantucket).

    Have a great time.
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