This also happened to be our first ride on the high speed ferry. Because we were staying just a few miles from Hyannis, we were close to the Hy-Line ferry terminal. Hy-Line operates a fleet of high speed ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard and is the company we used for both island trips.
And high speed is an appropriate adjective to use as I clocked the Nantucket ride at 36 mph. This is not a little boat (158 feet) and it probably had at least 200 people on board, not to mention all of the luggage and other "freight" type baggage. Being a guy... I was really interested in how they made this thing move so fast... and the reason is below.
The Grey Lady IV is the newest vessel of the Hy-Line fleet. It is one of the few high speed ferries that has 3 passenger decks, and when fully loaded, can carry 493 passengers and their baggage.Sleepy passengers
Measuring 153.5 x 34.5 feet and a draft of approximately eight feet loaded, the vessel is powered by four Cummins QSK60-M EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each delivering 2,200 Bhp at 1,800 rpm. Each engine propels a Hamilton HM721 water jet through a Twin Disc MG61500SC horizontally-offset gearbox. The ferry’s top speed is more than 34 knots (39 mph) with a fully-loaded deadweight of 64 metric tons.
I have a few short videos of the ferry leaving the Hyannis Harbor and cruising across Nantucket Sound just to give you an idea of the views and the calm water.
There is a HUGE Preservation Society in charge of everything. Even 2% of real estate sales go to this establishment. Not sure of the political inclination, but if they are responsible for actually preserving this incredible island, then they are doing a mighty act. Only 12 colors can be used on exteriors and Billy spouted them off like the days of the week. The average home is $2.5 million (and I’ve always considered myself above average. HA! and Zillow sales confirm. LOOK!) and they just got squirrels. Can you believe that? Only sweet animals allowed here. I think rodents came over as stowaways. Gasoline is $4/gallon, there are NO traffic lights (Steve can put it on cruise and never stop), there has only been one murder in 150 years, one stucco house (before the conservation society), and CRANBERRY bogs galore. There are 11,000 residents year round and 60,000 during the summer. Oh, and the two hotels run $1000-$1500/night, so this sheds new light on the phrase “DON’T miss the BOAT!” You may end up sleeping on a bench!
The history was fascinating! It embraces you and makes you a part of the island story. So much has stayed exactly the same since the island was placed on the National Historic Landmark District in 1966. It is considered the "finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th and early 19th century New England seaport town". I LOVE that.
This is where naming your vessel began to identify the numerous shipwrecks. The island is referred to as the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea” and our ferry boat was the “Grey Lady IV.” There is a Whaling Museum with a remarkable scrimshaw collection and the quaint shops are curiously inviting. We saw the little airfield where “Wings”, the TV show, was filmed. Our stop at Sankaty Head Light and exclusive golf club was spectacular. The most amazing views and lighthouse stamped golf ball (found courtesy of Steve) were the bonus takeaways.
This island tour was an additional service available through Hy-Line cruises and was $25 per person. It is highly recommended by both of us in order to gain an understanding and appreciation of the total Nantucket experience . Billy’s narrated tour was truly a MUST in our schedule.
Amy and her new lifelong friend
"In 1881, William Hadwen Starbuck presented the Town of Nantucket with an E. Howard No. 3 flatbed striking clock. Manufactured by the E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. of Boston, it was installed in the tower of the Unitarian Church and began operating on May 28, 1881. It powered the four clock faces of the south Tower and the church’s familiar bell, 52 chimes, three times a day, until 1957, when the dials were electrified.
The Howard clock was donated by the Town to the NHA in April 1972 and was moved to the Peter Foulger Museum. It was restored in 2004–2005 to be installed in the glass-enclosed three-story stairwell of the Whaling Museum for its grand reopening in 2005, a location that displays the clock and its intricate mechanism in full view. Today, from the lobby to the museum’s rooftop belvedere, visitors can closely observe the clockworks chime the hours."
With newfound energy, we footed on, did a little more shopping, and enjoyed all that we could before leaving for Hyannis on the 4:15 pm ferry. We had planned on returning on the 5:40 pm, but by that time we were done so they let us swap.
Both of these links are pretty explanatory, but if you'd like to see all of the Nantucket pictures, click on the first link. It seems I've probably lost about 100 pictures or so and can't find them anywhere, but the remaining pictures are located here.
This link is to our YouTube playlist that has about 35 videos (still adding some) from the entire trip.
New England YouTube Playlist
So a great day with great weather, and it just so happens that this wonderful weather will be our traveling companion over the following 9 days. We were both blown away by the beauty and charm of the old seaside port and the staggering amount of documented history. It's amazing and not uncommon to see building's from the 1700's that are meticulously maintained and still in use today. The fact that the brick and cobblestone roads and sidewalks have withstood the wind and weather and 300 years of use is amazing. Overall, our island trip was surreal and exceeded our every expectation (as each day has so far). I came as a visitor and left as a faithful friend, and this visit would be tough to beat. But what we didn't know was that the next few days would end up being even better. :-)
Leaving Nantucket Harbor
Entering Hyannis Harbor