As we do every year, Karen and I packed up the dogs and headed off to Nantucket for Christmas Stroll. It's a tedious trip involving 6.5 hours of boring driving and 2.5 hours of even more boring sailing. With stops and check-in at the Hyannis Steamship terminal, we generally leave Brooklyn at 8am and arrive at Karen's house near town in Nantucket around 6pm. Or about the same time it would take to leave NY and check into a hotel in Moscow.
If it wasn't for this annual break from my work schedule, my Christmas spirit would last as long as the buzz from two Christmas Eve margaritas. But as soon as you step off the dock in Nantucket, the town envelopes you with the sights, sounds and smells of a 19th century Christmas. Which, of course, is what it's intended to do.
While I always bring my ubiquitous electronic leashes -- my cellphone and laptop -- I rarely use them. It's basically five days of rest, relaxation and sore feet from negotiating Nantucket's slippery cobblestone streets. And unending heartburn from the gallon of quahog chowder, five pounds of prime rib and the hot eggnogs I scarf during the trip with no regard for the consequences.
It also gives me a chance to get away from the often ostentatious and overly precious rehabs and restorations of Brooklyn to study the subtlety of understated Nantucket architecture and to possibly steal a few ideas I can use for myself.
Love it or hate it, Nantucket's strict architecture codes have resulted in an island where you won't find five different kinds of siding and three different styles of modern windows on the same house. Nor a beautiful old Victorian obliterated with vinyl siding, a Home Depot metal entry door and a stainless steel fence surrounding a concrete slab where a lawn is supposed to be. Even the island restorations are made to look like they were done twenty years ago.
As a result, you won't find a single example of "eyesore" on Nantucket.