Rafael Osuna Auctions is the island's top antiques vendor, where the high prices reflect the high value of the items on view. Specialties include highly sought-after examples of Nantucket crafts like lightship baskets, scrimshaw, and sailors' valentines. It is located at the American Legion Hall at 21 Washington St. (tel. 508/228-3942; www.nantucketauctions.com). Auctions take place May to December; see website for dates and viewing times.
Art & Crafts
The Artists' Association of Nantucket has the widest selection of work by locals, and the gallery at 19 Washington St. (tel. 508/228-0294; www.nantucketarts.org) is impressive. In February and March, it's open by appointment only.
The Gallery at Four India Street (https://thegallerynantucket.com) is at that address, on the second floor above The Bean Coffee shop. Primarily a purveyor of contemporary art from Europe and across the United States, it hosts a sculpture garden in the park on India Street, a good reminder that many of the sculptures they carry work as lawn ornamentation.
The celebrated sculptor David L. Hostetler was the founder of the Hostetler Gallery (tel. 508/228-5152; www.hostetlergallery.com), today located at 42 Centre Street. His work in various media appears as spiritual icons expressed in the female form, and is still often featured at the gallery, alongside works of other noted American artists.
Mitchell's Book Corner, 54 Main St. (tel. 508/228-1080; www.mitchellsbookcorner.com), features an astute sampling of general-interest books and an entire room dedicated to regional and maritime titles. Nantucket Bookworks, 25 Broad St. (tel. 508/228-4000; www.nantucketbookworks.com), is a charming bookstore, strong on customer service and with a central location. The two stores are affiliated, and both are very involved with the annual Nantucket Book Festival which brings notable authors to the island each June.
Ambrosia, 29 Centre St. (tel. 508/292-3289), is an exquisite little organic chocolate and spice shop. Its specialty of the house is the otherworldly hazelnut "noisette," a delicate treat for coco connoisseurs. Aunt Leah's Fudge, located in the courtyard on Straight Wharf, a few steps from the Hy-Line ferry (tel. 800/824-6330; http://auntleahs.com) is where you find cranberry port-wine truffles and other undreamt-of delicacies, only with basic bonbons. Sweet Inspirations, Zero India St. (tel. 508/228-5814; www.nantucketchocolate.com), has been satisfying sweet tooths on Nantucket since 1981. This is artisan chocolate, carefully crafted on-site. Even better, the beautiful Nantucket-themed packaging makes this a great place to come for gifts. The Rainbow Fleet tin containing chocolate scallop shells, clipper-ship medallions, and Nantucket mints, among other chocolates, is a delight.Fashion
Blue Beetle, 12 Main St. (tel. 508/228-3227; www.bluebeetlenantucket.com), is the place to find summer cocktail dresses, cashmere throws, and bling to pull it all together.
Current Vintage, 4 Easy St. (tel. 508/228-5073; www.currentvintage.com), is one of the most original shops to open in recent years. Beth English, who is known on the island for exquisite taste, sells gorgeous vintage gowns and accessories, such as antique bags and jewelry, as well as special wines from small wineries.
Haul Over, 7 Salem St. (tel. 508/228-9010; http://haulovernantucket.com), is where you go for basic, wear-it-all-summer-long sportswear, perfect for a day on the sailboat or an evening singing oldies at the piano bar at the Club Car.
Martha's Vineyard may have spawned "Black Dog" fever, but this island boasts the inimitable "Nantucket reds" -- cotton clothing that starts out tomato red and washes out to salmon pink. The fashion originated at Murray's Toggery Shop, 62 Main St. (tel. 800/368-2134 or 508/228-0437; www.nantucketreds.com). Legend has it that the original duds were colored with an inferior dye that washed out almost immediately. However, customers so liked the thick cottons and instant aged look that the proprietor was forced to search high and low for more of the same fabric. Roland Hussey Macy, founder of Macy's, got his start here in the 1830s. Today's management also keeps up with current trends.
You'll find Lilly Pulitzer Nantucket, which has sensational minidresses, and other items in orchid colors, at 5 S. Water St. (tel. 508/228-0569; https://www.lillypulitzer.com/store/details/?StoreID=80228-290).
Ralph Lauren's store, at 16 Main St., scandalized Nantucketers when it first opened (there are no chains here, not even upscale ones), but now everyone is used to it. The store is stocked with high-end resort wear.
Nantucket Looms, at 51 Main St. (tel. 508/228-1908; www.nantucketlooms.com), is the place to ogle exquisite brushed-mohair chaise throws and other handmade woven items. The weaving studio is upstairs, where they also make blankets and sweaters of cotton and cashmere.
Erica Wilson Needle Works, 25 Main St. (tel. 508/228-9881; www.ericawilson.com), features the designs of its namesake, an islander since 1958 and author of more than two dozen books on needlepoint. The shop offers hands-on guidance for hundreds of grateful adepts, as well as kits and handiwork of other noteworthy designers.
Murray's Liquor Store, 23 Main St. (tel. 508/228-0071), has the best prices and is conveniently located just a couple blocks from two very good restaurants that are BYOB: Centre Street Bistro and Black-Eyed Susans.
The Hub, 31 Main St. (tel. 508/325-0200; www.thehubofnantucket.com), offers a selection of hats, games, mugs, greeting cards by local artists and reading material. It's also a good place to stop for a cuppa Joe.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.