Among Nantucket’s defining landmarks are its three historic lighthouses: each a sort of quintessence of coastal New England beauty, and also of course a vital piece of safety infrastructure on an island whose waters have bedeviled countless mariners.
Stay with us here at Greydon House in Nantucket’s historic town center, and you’ve got the perfect launchpad for exploring this trio of noble, long-serving lights. Let’s take a look at each of them to whet your appetite!
BRANT POINT LIGHT
The best known among Nantucket’s lighthouses and an iconic welcome sign for ferry passengers arriving on our island, Brant Point Light also ranks among the very oldest in the country. The modern version, which has been watching over the entrance to Nantucket Harbor since 1901, is only the latest in a long line of beacons: Its eight forerunners were either taken down or destroyed by the elements—the second, a 1758-built light, having been wiped out by what likely was a rare tornado.
Brant Point Light, a National Historic Landmark, isn’t open to the public, but you certainly can admire its visage up close from the adjoining beach (and, of course, from the ferry into Nantucket).
GREAT POINT LIGHT
Set far out on Nantucket’s northernmost extremity, Great Point Light (aka Nantucket Light) stands as a replacement of the original, built in the 1810s and destroyed in a 1984 storm; the modern replica incorporated some of the original exterior stones. Encompassed in the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, this handsome 60-foot light looms from a wonderfully remote sandy perch, accessible only by foot or (with a permit) by oversand 4WD vehicle. The Trustees of Reservations leads tours of the lighthouse.
SANTAKY HEAD LIGHT
Over on the easternmost point in Nantucket, meanwhile, Santaky Head Light occupies nearly the same bluff-top ‘Sconset perch it did when it was installed back in 1849; the threat of coastal erosion prompted the move of the striped tower a few hundred feet from its original footprint in 2007. You can explore the grounds of the Santacky Head Light each and every day from sunrise to sundown, and climb up to the top for the dazzling view on select dates.
EXPLORE NANTUCKET’S VENERABLE LIGHTHOUSES & OTHER HISTORIC SITES WITH A GREYDON HOUSE GETAWAY
Visiting one of the above lighthouses—and, really, you should see them all—serves as an emblematic Nantucket experience, summoning a whole lot of stormy history and distilling the island’s beauty to a ravishing, exceedingly photogenic point. Come pay your respects to these grand old beacons on your next visit to Greydon House!