by Carson Griffith
With few exceptions, any Nantucket residents, both year-round and migratory, would tell you that the best shopping and entertainment could previously be found in the historic heart of town, along Main Street. But recently that is up for debate as unique pop-ups and one-off boutiques have found their way to the South Wharf (or just “the Wharf”), an area also referred to by some as the Boat Basin, due to its proximity to exactly that: The Nantucket Boat Basin.
For decades, the South Wharf was a better spot for walks along the harbor and picking up inexpensive souvenirs than high-end shopping but an influx of young entrepreneurs and broad-minded vendors have set up shop in the picturesque area.
Skinny Dip Nantucket, a new boutique featuring a number of brands that also features a major calendar of events for the community, was brought to the island in May 2016 by designers Taylor Ivey, Milicent Armstrong and Sara Rossi, who all previously featured their designs at Town Pool. “Our main focus is to bring designers to the island that people really haven’t seen before,” says Ms. Armstrong, whose own line, Artemis Design Co., features loafers, travel bags and home goods designed from Turkish rugs and other foreign unique goods for both men and women. The store features a bevy of designers for both men and women, including Ellsworth & Ivey, Bask, and Orlebar Brown, and a wide array of events including cocktail parties, yoga classes and flower arranging classes (such as “Peonies and Prosecco” or “Roses and Rosè”). “We always have something going on here, so it’s always a fun space just to come in to. We’re really trying to bring the community in. We’re trying to make it a space that is more than just a shop,” says Ms. Armstrong.
Another store new in 2016 to the South Wharf area is The Styleliner, whose original outpost is in Sag Harbor, New York. “Nantucket is also a vacation destination like Sag Harbor,” says Joey Woffler, who owns the store that carries Lazuli, Alix of Bohemia, and her own line, The Joey Woffler Collection. Ms. Woffler is also a co-owner of Woffler Estate Vineyard, located in Sagaponack. “I feel that the customer is similar in that they are ready for something different. They all shop the big brands but are on the hunt for your unique pieces that will make them stand out.” As for her choice in shop location: “The South Wharf sort of fell in our laps but the space is perfect for us and really fits our brand.”
Also new to the area and worth stopping into: Love Shack, an actual beach shack selling over a thousand different handcrafted pendant designs, each with an individual message (two are related specifically to Nantucket), Ice, an authentic Italian ice bar that serves a good alternative to ice cream from The Juice Bar (especially when the lines get lengthy) and Table No 1, an increasingly popular wine and cheese bar that’s perfect for a pre-dinner appetizer or a post-dinner snack.