Photos: Courtesy of Wauwinet (top) and White Elephant (bottom)
Need an easy to-get-to, long-weekend beach honeymoon? Summer is almost here (yay!) which means that my favorite East Coast island getaway, Nantucket, just opened for the season. I'll give you the quick sell: the pace of life on this 105-square mile island is beyond relaxing; the beaches are great for surfing; and there are two top-notch properties, the Wauwinet and the White Elephant, that cater to couples.
Overlooking a three-mile beach on the secluded northern tip, the Wauwinet (top) has that typical Nantucket exterior—gray, weathered shingles—and 32 unique rooms, many with four-poster beds, gas fireplaces, and bay views. I loved that it has a homey, B&B vibe, but it's big enough that you don't feel forced to talk to random guests, one of my pet peeves with B&Bs. There's gratis port and cheese in the afternoon, the perfect snack after a day of bike riding through moors. (The bikes are free to borrow, too.) Rooms from $195, with breakfast.
But the Wauwinet's real draw is Topper's—the best restaurant on island, by far, and a meal I can't stop talking or thinking about. You could easily lose three hours here. The chef, Kyle Zachary, is an alum of Chicago foodie-favorite Alinea, and his three-course, $70 tasting menus are outstanding: milk-fed piglet, butter-poached lobster, truffle gnocchi with nettles and sweetbreads, hand-cut fries. Totally worth the big price tag, especially since the attentive staff brings out umpteen little treat courses in between. You will leave fat and happy.
If you'd rather be in the heart of cobblestoned, colonial Nantucket town, try the White Elephant. They've got 54 comfy rooms, a bigger spa, and a little more bar and nightlife action at Brant Point Grill. And destination wedding alert: The White Elephant can host groups from 30-150 on their gorgeous front lawn, with the harbor and sailboats for a backdrop. Rooms from $225.