Nantucket. I grew up spending my summers in our little cottage called Witsend, which was at the end of a three mile dirt road. There was no electricity, just a pump for water and gas lanterns for light. We went to bed early, woke up early and spent as much time outside as possible. Every morning I would roll out of bed, climb down the loft latter and taking my cup of tea to the cliff's edge to check the day's surf conditions. I'd stand there for a few minutes with the wind in my hair staring out at the expanse of Atlantic Ocean in front of me, and I'd be totally at ease. I'll never forget the storm that kept us up all night (it sounded like rain would come through the roof) or making pesto with a mortar and pestle fashioned from a Perrier bottle and salad bowl or the excitement of having real live lobsters in the house (we all know how that ends)...and so many more. Pretty much all my best and strongest childhood memories took place at Witsend.
For complicated reasons we had to sell that magical house, but my family still goes up for a few weeks every summer. Since I was living in Australia I hadn't been in years, but I made it there for a few days back in June. It's still hard adjusting to not being at Witsend since that house has so much to do with why I love the island, but this past trip reminded me what a special place it is. If you haven't been, I highly suggest you try and make it there. And when you do, make sure not to miss: enjoying a cup of clam chowder with a side of Cap Cod potato chips, a fresh meal prepared with produce from Bartlet Farms (the corn is sensational), smoked bluefish before dinner, a swim on the south side of the island at Cisco or Surfside, a bike ride along the Polpis Road, a walk along the cliffs in Siasconset, a beach drive on Couteau, a visit to each of the three lighthouses (Brant Point, Sankaty Head and Great Point), a coffee frappe from the Juice Bar, fresh lobster. I could go on, but you'll figure it out yourself once you get there.