Living on the Edge


I love the energy and inspiration created when a group of people, all committed to a common cause, gather to share information and plans for action.  At  Living on the Edge, a Coastal Communities Conference held on Nantucket on September 29th and 30th, participants focused on the impact of how we use our waterways, the land/sea interface, and ways to knit together the shared edges between the blue water, the near shore, and the watershed.

By exploring new approaches and applying what we learn, we can help protect and preserve the health of our coastal communities.  The goal is to create a coastal waters management strategy that ensures that the sea remains healthy, and maintain the beauty of our oceans and our coastlines.

We were very fortunate to be able to screen a sneak preview of a wonderful new film, Ocean Frontiers:  The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship. The movie promises us a new way of thinking, and a new way of living, in concert with the sea. It includes stories and stunning footage from seaports and watersheds across the country, from Boston Harbor to obscure little fishing communities in the Pacific Northwest, from the Florida Keys to the Mississippi Delta.

I encourage you to visit the movie website at to watch a trailer, purchase the dvd, and find out what you can do to get involved with protecting our oceans.

Nantucket Conservation Foundation – Manual


At last count, there were 120 non-profit organizations on Nantucket Island. That says a lot about the kind of people who love this island and call it their home. I’ve written before about some of the good work being done by Nantucket-based organizations and their efforts to preserve the beauty and richness of this little spit of land out in the sea.

One of my favorites is the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Founded almost 50 years ago, the Foundation now manages 9,000 acres of property here. Its mission is to permanently conserve, maintain and manage natural areas and habitats and encourage an appreciation of the island’s natural resources.



Its doing a wonderful job. Four full-time scientists work with the Foundation to explore the future of fragile resources, and identify new ways to protect and preserve them. They are the caring stewards of our land, our beaches, our dunes and our uncommon heathlands. They protect wildflowers you might not have seen anywhere else, such as the New England blazing star, and the Eastern silvery aster.

They look out for ground-nesting birds, such as the rare northern harrier and migrating shorebirds that include the endangered piping plover. And not least to them, the least tern.

The walking trails, open roads and pastures we all take for granted are more than likely under the Foundation’s care as the island’s largest landholder. Its scientific research extends to the sheep grazing program you can witness for yourself at the Squam Farm property off of Quidnet Road.

I invite you to visit the Foundation at to see how you might help them in its efforts to preserve the island for everyone.

Don’t Miss Two New Films that Celebrate the Natural Beauty of the Island!

“Nantucket by Nature” is a singular celebration of the Island’s natural graces, and is an official selection of the Nantucket Film Festival. Featuring never-before-seen images of grace and beauty, it provides an extraordinary four season glimpse of the splendors of the Island. Supported by a stirring and poignant score recorded by local musicians, “Nantucket By Nature” is a remarkable chronicle of the Island in all its natural, jaw-dropping glory.

Watch a trailer of this extraordinary film at, or learn more at

You can purchase the DVD at Nantucket Bookworks Book Store for $24.95. Visit them at

Another new film made exclusively for the Nantucket Historical Association by Emmy award-winning Ric Burns is simply called Nantucket. This original short film showcases the island’s natural beauty and its significant role in history. Commentary is provided by historians, islanders and writers, including New York Times best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick, and long-time residents who share their personal stories and unique insights.

The film is being shown daily at the Whaling Museum, and can be purchased as a DVD at the Museum Shop or online for $19.95. Visit the NHA at

August is Wonderful on Nantucket!

When you come to the world’s most beautiful island, it helps if you plan to have fun.  There is so much to do to support so many very worthy causes, and August is the month when celebrations are everywhere you turn.  One fundraiser that I support is Walk Now for Autism Speaks:

Nantucket Walks to Support Autism Speaks on August 20th

There are so many important organizations we can support with our time, with our resources, or simply with a caring hand.  One that I believe in and support is Autism Speaks.

While no one has all the answers yet, I have long believed that it is important to protect your family from environmental toxins. The Autism Research Institute at has information about studies showing the possible relationship between chemicals in our environment and developmental delays.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication, and is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the U.S.  Symptoms usually start before age three, and can cause delays or problems in many different skills, according to the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

For families with a child with an autism diagnosis, there are many concerns, including higher medical bills, special needs in school, and a struggle to provide the treatment and therapies to help each child grow into his or her best self.


Bob and Suzanne Wright discuss autism on Plum TV.


Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, grandparents of a child with autism.  The organization is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

On Saturday, August 20th, thousands of islanders on Nantucket will turn out at Jetties Beach to help raise funds for vital research.  Walk Now for Autism Speaks can change the future for all who struggle with autism.  Join us!


Find out more at

Don’t miss a  new film made exclusively for the NHA by Emmy award-winning Ric Burns, simply called Nantucket. This original short film showcases the island’s natural beauty and its significant role in history. Commentary is provided by historians, islanders and writers, including New York Times best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick, and long-time residents who share their personal stories and unique insights.

The film is being shown daily at the Whaling Museum, and can be purchased as a DVD at the Museum Shop or online for $19.95.

August Race Week:  August 13-21

The eight day Race Week brings the entire Nantucket community together for regattas, award ceremonies and parties. There’s fun and sport for all age and sailing levels.  The week is hosted by the Nantucket Yacht Club and Great Harbor Yacht Club and benefits Nantucket Community Sailing.

Nantucket Race Week is proud to be a Clean Regatta as certified by Sailors for the Sea.

For more information, visit

Nature Conservancy Cocktail Party

Last but not least, Frank and I are pleased to host a cocktail party reception at our home on August 25th, to benefit the Nature Conservancy.  The Nature Conservancy works to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities of the earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive, in order to leave a sustainable world for future generations.

Dujardin Design Associates will provide the raw bar, food and beverages as our contribution to the evening and to the good work of the Conservancy.  Island caterer Simply with Style will make this a delicious and fun event!

For more information on how you can help this wonderful organization, visit

The Ultimate in Green Design: Antiques

There is a peaceful presence in a room with classically designed furniture, especially those with the patina of age.  No matter how you express your personal style, every home has space for antique pieces:  a writing desk in the corner, reclaimed barnwood on the floor, or a wing chair handed down through generations.  There is an added beauty to the natural grace of aged furniture:  they are the ultimate in “green.”

All Wood Comes From Trees: And trees come from forests.  Yet lovingly cared for antique wooden furniture was cut from old-growth forests long ago.  No new resources are used in its construction, making its restoration and re-use a loving part of caring for the earth.

No Chemical Fumes Arrive with the Furniture: Your home’s interior should be a place of fresh air and health.  Yet any new piece of furniture, cabinetry, flooring or finished wood may have strong chemical odors.  Off-gassing is the process of releasing the vapors that are the residue of many fine finishes.  Antiques were created long ago, with less toxic products, and any off-gassing has long been complete.

No Negative Environmental Impact is Created: Beyond the health issues in your own home are the costs to the planet.  Manufacturing plants, even the very greenest, distribute impurities into our air, waste systems and water.  New furniture requires the production of finishes, dyes and sealants; shipping them demands the creation of packing materials; they arrive in retail stores via large fossil-fuel burning vehicles.

Antique Pieces Bring Unique Craftsmanship to a Room: Even in a contemporary home or modern space, the gentle lines of antique furniture can add a special eye-catching detail to the design.  Rather than a mass-produced item, what you buy and bring home was likely made in a small workshop by a craftsman who made good use of few resources.

Antiques are Recycling at its Best: The sofa your grandmother loved, the barrister bookcase you find at the auction, the softly faded colors of the old Turkish rug don’t belong in a landfill.  The treasures from another time can be loved and used again.  And again.  And again.

Antiques Have Stood the Test of Time: These classic pieces are sturdy and well-made; they wouldn’t still be here if they weren’t.  The quality of their wood is usually stronger, created from timber with tighter growth rings, making repair a simple task when necessary. Furniture that is unworthy of a craftsman’s repair time often ends up in the landfill, adding to our cycle of wasteful consumption.

Antiques Add Beauty and Joy to Life: There is a thrill when you spot the perfect ship’s model, campaign chest or weathervane.  You feel an immediate connection to the beautiful collectible candlestick or Chinese export porcelain.  When you place it in your home, among other well-loved and cherished pieces, you can feel good about your purchase, your home, and reducing your footprint on the surface of the earth.

Remember, It’s Not All Furniture: You can find antique cabinetry, flooring, doors, beams, posts, mantels and other architectural details.  Have fun, and happy hunting!