The Union Street Inn

If you wander down the cobblestone streets of “faraway island” (as named by the Native Americans), you’ll soon find yourself at the door of Nantucket’s Union Street Inn.   Ken and Deborah Withrow are the experienced hoteliers who own this intimate boutique hotel, and make it the warm and welcoming place that it is.  It was my pleasure to design its public spaces and private rooms several years ago.  The circa 1770 Inn’s many fireplaces and historic town views provide the perfect setting for beautiful antiques and luxuriously duvet-covered beds, authentic period details and fine marine art, all signatures of Dujardin style. Come along with me and and experience the distinctive charm that makes the Union Street Inn one of my favorite places in the world.

What do guests dream about after a stay with Ken and Deborah?  Deborah’s homemade gourmet breakfasts top the list.  French toast, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, poached eggs and sausage greet you in the morning, and home-baked white chocolate chip cookies or double chocolate brownies tempt you in the afternoon.

The Union Street Inn is the only B&B on the island to serve a full breakfast. There’s a home cooked entree every morning.  Deborah is a fabulous chef!

Best place for breakfast and a cup of coffee on a warm summer morning?  The patio.

There are twelve guest rooms, all beautifully outfitted for your comfort.  The couple describes the Inn’s elegant feeling as “New England by way of France.”

Guests who return every year call it romantic.

The authentic period ambiance makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, but each of the guest rooms offers flat screen tv, complimentary wi-fi, private baths and air conditioning on warm summer days.  It’s the best of old and new.

After a day of sand, sun and surf, each elegant room promises a quiet night’s rest, so you’re ready for the next day’s island adventure.

Ken and Deborah utilize their shared backgrounds in hotel management to create an exquisite experience for their guests.  The Inn’s town location means it is only steps away from world-class restaurants, museums and shops. The town’s grey-shingled buildings were built to withstand seaside weather; they create a unique island look you won’t see anywhere else.

The Union Street Inn is the recipient of “Best Of” awards from Boston magazine (2006) and Cape Cod Life (2006-2010), as well as a “Fodor’s Choice Award” from Fodor’s Travel (2008-2010).  The rare beauty of “faraway island,” complete with skippers piloting their boats past lighthouses and rows of ship captain’s houses lining the streets a stone’s throw from wharf and waterfront makes a trip to Nantucket a memorable one.  A stay at the Union Street Inn makes it unforgettable. Visit the inn at www.unioninn.com.

Nantucket’s Cranberry Festival by Jim Lentowski

A Guest Post by Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Executive Director Jim Lentowski

The island’s cranberry harvest is a sight to behold and celebrated annually by thousands of islanders and visitors at the Foundation’s one-day Cranberry Festival held at the Milestone Cranberry Bog on Saturday, October 6 (11am – 4pm). We invite you to see berries being harvested, learn about the history of cranberry farming on Nantucket, participate in the family activities, or just relax and enjoy the setting and the spectacular autumn scenery of one of the most historic and memorable places on the Island.

It’s the fall season on Nantucket, a time when after several stimulating months of high-season excitement, the remote island and its year-round residents return to a more relaxing, more normal pace.

With shorter days and cooling temperatures the island’s largest landowner, the nonprofit Nantucket Conservation Foundation, pays special attention to its responsibilities as the steward of its two active cranberry bogs.  Established in 1963, the member-supported Foundation protects nearly 30% — 9,000 acres — of Nantucket for all to enjoy and learn from!  Its holdings include the 195 acre Milestone Road Cranberry Bog, a place where traditional cranberry culture has taken place since 1857, and the 25 acre certified organic Windswept Cranberry Bog.  Both bogs are revealing their fall colors – a rich maroon hue of the ripening fruit often back dropped during this season by intense, cloudless blue skies.

The magic of these natural processes is heightened during the October to mid-November harvest as sections of the bogs are systematically flooded and “water reeled” with the result that a solid layer of floating cranberries waits to be loaded into enormous trailers. These trucks will ultimately deliver to a mainland processor– via the freight boat and over the highway — more than 1,500,000 pounds of fruit.

Visitors, summer residents, and even long-time islanders are often surprised when they learn that the Milestone Bog is one of the oldest, continually operated farms on the Island. It is situated on a 1,060 acre conservation property owned and operated by the Foundation.

At the Milestone Bog there are 195 acres under cranberry cultivation with an additional 25 acres in production at the Windswept Bog on the Polpis Road. The Windswept Bog is especially notable because of its status as one of the few certified organic cranberry bogs in the country.

Cranberry Traditions on Nantucket

Cranberries have been grown on Nantucket since 1857 and were an important part of the Island’s economy until just prior to World War II. Before 1959, all 234 acres of the Milestone Bog were under cultivation, making it the largest contiguous natural cranberry bog in the world. Since that time, intensive efforts to conserve precious freshwater resources have resulted in the addition of ditches and dikes that subdivide the bog into smaller and more water-efficient units.These measures led to the Milestone Bog losing its status.

Since the early 1950’s, one Nantucketer has been synonymous with cranberry farming on the island — Tom Larrabee, Sr. Described as having “cranberry juice running through his veins,” Tom has managed the planting, growing, and harvesting of cranberries at the Milestone Bog for nearly 60 years. When visiting the bog there is an excellent chance that you will see Tom (pictured here) driving a “water reel.” You may also see his son, Tom Jr., who is now following in his dad’s footsteps, extending the 150+ year tradition of cranberry farming on Nantucket.

FAVORITE CRANBERRY RECIPES

CRANBERRY CRISP

Two cups whole, unfrozen cranberries; 3/4 cup sugar; 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts); 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; 1 large egg, beaten lightly; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg; confectioners’
sugar for garnish, vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment. Spread the cranberries in a well-buttered shallow 8-inch round baking dish. In a small bowl combine 1/4
cup of sugar, nuts, and 2 teaspoons of butter and sprinkle the mixture over the cranberries. In a bowl beat the egg with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until well combined, stir in the flour mixture, and add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Spread the batter over the cranberries in an even layer and bake the crisp in a preheated moderate oven (350° F.) for 45
minutes. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the dessert and serve with the ice cream. Serves 6 to 8.

CRANBERRY BUTTER

One cup fresh, unfrozen cranberries; 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar; 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the cranberries with the sugar. Add butter and lemon juice and blend the mixture until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill until firm. Serve the butter on toast, waffles, or biscuits. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE


Two cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 cup water; 1 package orange gelatin. Boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and cook slowly without stirring until berries break open—about 5 minutes. Pour off liquid and add it to the gelatin. After the gelatin is fully dissolved, add 1 additional cup of water to this mixture. Add the cooked cranberries, pour into a mold and chill.

CRANBERRY UPSIDE-DOWN MUFFINS

Two cups unfrozen cranberries, coarsely chopped; 1 1/4 cups sugar; 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg; 2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 large egg, beaten lightly; 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; 1 cup milk. In a heavy saucepan combine the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and nutmeg and cook the mixture over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Cook the mixture, covered, for 3 minutes and cook it, uncovered, over low heat for 3 minutes more. Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt. In a small bowl combine the egg, butter, and milk and stir this into the flour mixture until the batter is just combined. Divide the cranberry mixture among 16 well-buttered 1/3 cup muffin tins, top with the batter, and bake in a preheated hot oven (400°
F.) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden. Let the muffins cool in the tins for 2 minutes, invert a serving dish over them, and flip the muffins onto it. Makes 16 muffins.


The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a member-supported nonprofit organization. Jim Lentowski serves as its executive director.

Photo:  Mary Haft

For additional information visit us at: www.nantucketconservation.org

 All photos (except recipe photos and Jim Lentowski photo) courtesy of Jim Lentowski.

 

 

 

 

Driving Down Electric Avenue

Imagine a perfect world, or a world close to perfect:  one without noxious CO2 emissions and a rapidly declining ozone layer caused by millions of gas-guzzling vehicles crowding the streets of the world.   The possibility is closer than ever, when automakers plan to have as  many as 30 different electric cars driving down U.S. avenues by 2015!  (Although visionaries have always planned for electric cars, as seen in the 1905 version, above!)

Unlike hybrid cars, which are still powered by a battery and a gasoline engine, electric cars today are powered exclusively by electricity.  What’s changed?  Battery technology has improved, meaning that batteries stay charged for longer distances, and auto makers are better able to respond to consumer demand.

Electric cars reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Drivers of EV’s (Electric Vehicles) charge their cars at home, never go to gas stations, and never have to schedule oil changes or emission tests.  Some, like the Chevrolet Volt, retain their hybrid status, giving drivers the option of using gas for longer journeys.  With an MSRP of $31,645., the Volt is typical of the new brand of affordable EVs, very different from the six figure Tesla.   (Even they have a new Model S rolling out this fall, with prices beginning at $49,999.)

Today, you can buy a Chevrolet Volt, a Nissan Leaf, or a Mitsubishi i-MIEV, all for under $50,000.  There’s also a $7,500. federal tax credit available Take a look:

Chevrolet Volt owners only go to the gas station once a month, according to the manufacturer.  Launched in 2011, new models have an extended range and the option of electricity or gas.  MSRP:  $31,645.

There are already 36,000 Nissan Leafs on the road,  With no tailpipe and no emissions and no gas station fill ups, the starting MSRP of $35,200. has become affordable to more environmentally-minded consumers.

The Mitsubishi i-MIEV claims to be the most affordable electric car available.  The starting MSRP of $29,975. gets you a car with a markedly different appearance:  the company says it’s their “eco-status symbol,” designed to get people thinking about creating a different world.

Charging your car on the electric grid means that the environmental cost is transferred to the utility company rather than OPEC oil dealers.  Although that’s still not a perfect solution, it maintains a stronger local economy in our own country, rather than paying for high priced oil.  At a cost to operate of 2 cents per mile, versus a gasoline powered cost of 9 cents a mile, and no emissions, it clearly seems as if we should support the new technology.  The more electric cars we purchase, the faster the solutions will be developed.

The future belongs to us and to the decisions we make about how to live.  I believe in the Power of One to make a difference in the world.  My next car?  I’m not sure which I’ll buy, but it’s going to be electric.