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 celebrated sculptor David L. Hostetler exhibits his work in one of the little galleries along Old South Wharf, at 2 Old South Wharf (tel. 508/228-5152; www.hostetlersculpture.com). Private viewing appointments are also available in his large showroom. His work in various media appears as spiritual icons expressed in the female form.
Exquisite art-glass pieces, as well as ceramics, jewelry, and basketry, can be found at Dane Gallery, 28 Centre St. (tel. 508/228-7779; www.danegallery.com), where owners Robert and Jayne Dane show top-quality work. You'll be amazed at the colors and shapes of the glassware.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital Thrift Shop, 17 India St. (tel. 508/228-1125; www.nantuckethospital.org), is where you go to find a Dior gown -- or just an elegant summer dress -- at bargain-basement prices.
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.
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; www.auntleahs.com) is where you find cranberry port-wine truffles and other undreamt-of delicacies, only with basic bonbons. Petticoat Row Bakery, located at 35 Centre St. (tel. 508/228-3700; www.petticoatrowbakery.com) has beautiful cupcakes, cookies, and muffins ready for purchase, but also excels in special orders.
Sweet Inspirations, 26 Centre 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.
Allure, 21 Main St. (tel. 508/228-2611) sells makeup, skin-care and body-care products for people who prefer to use natural, organic cosmetics. There are lovely handmade soaps.
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.
Eco-fashionista Cheryl Fudge, 24 Easy St. (tel. 508/228-9155; www.cherylfudge.com), sells what she calls up-cycled clothing, turning scarves into halter tops, for instance. Her funky dresses and vintage jewelry and ACK Green line of organic clothing have a passionate following. 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), 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.
Hepburn, 3 Salem St. (tel. 508/228-1458), sells ultrafashionable women's clothing and accessories, a cut above the usual fare.
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's In The Pink, which has sensational minidresses, at 5 S. Water St. (tel. 508/228-0569).
Ralph Lauren's store, at 16 Main St. (tel. 508/228-9451), 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.
Zero Main, at 0 Main St. (tel. 508/228-4401), has a limited but fine selection of elegant yet casual women's clothes, shoes, and accessories.
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.
The also eponymous Claire Murray, 16 Federal St. (tel. 508/228-1913; www.clairemurray.com), is famous for its elaborate hand-hooked rugs. As a New York transplant running a Nantucket B&B in the late 1970s, Murray took up the traditional art of hooking rugs to see her through the slow season. She now runs a retail company grossing millions a year and is so busy creating new collections that she has hundreds of "hookers" (probably an old profession, but not the oldest) working for her around the world. Do-it-yourself kits ($100-$500) are sold in the shop here for about two-thirds the price of the finished rugs and come with complimentary lessons.
Diana Kim England Goldsmiths, 56 Main St. (tel. 800/343-1468 or 508/228-3766; www.dianakimengland.com), is a team of five goldsmiths that have almost 70 years of combined experience in making jewelry. You'll find gold baskets and pearls, as well as unique custom pieces.
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), offers a selection of newspapers, magazines, and books, as well as greeting cards by local artists.
The Toy Boat, 41 Straight Wharf (tel. 508/228-4552; www.thetoyboat.com), is keen on creative toys that are also educational. In addition to the top commercial lines, owner Loren Brock stocks lots of locally crafted, hand-carved playthings, such as "rainbow fleet" sailboats, part of the Harbor Series that includes docks, lighthouses, boats, and everything your child needs to create his or her own Nantucket Harbor. There are also stackable lighthouse puzzles replicating Nantucket's beams.
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.