For Christmas, Mike surprised me with a trip to Elin Hilderbrand’s Bucket List Weekend in Nantucket, MA. It actually made me cry because it was something I’ve always wanted to do, but never thought I’d actually get to do!
Nantucket is amazing- it’s a beautiful island, even in the winter, and getting to see where one of my favorite authors finds inspiration was so much fun. I imagine the island is just breathtaking in the summer and would love to return then or in the springtime when more businesses and restaurants are open.
I have been reading Elin’s books since probably 2005- post college when reading was once again fun- and they are pure escapism into romance, food, summertime. She has a big following now, which was evident on this trip, but it did take her time to build her fan base, and she is very good to her fans. She’s always willing to answer questions, share how she came up with an idea, who characters are based off, and how her writing process works.
I will say, I was a little disappointed to learn that her publisher wanted her to cancel due to the latest COVID variant concerns. She and the Nantucket Hotel + Resort didn’t want to let everyone down, so the event went on, but she wasn’t allowed to post any pictures to her social accounts from the event and had to wear a mask indoors.
COVID was a concern for my husband and I, who graciously escorted me to the event, and since there were no refunds, we decided to go and make the best of it as safely as we could. Luckily, we stayed virus free but I think that was due to our vaccinations, boosters, and upgrading our masks and limiting our time in big groups.
Overall, the three-day event offered a lot of activities and events where you could meet Elin. You had to sign up for what you wanted to attend, but there was plenty of availability, so no one had to miss out.
Events included a book sale, book signing, island tour of Nantucket history and sightseeing of specific spots in Elin’s books, cocktail receptions, and two themed dinners. They also hosted a panel discussion at a local theater with her ‘work husband’ Tim from Mitchell’s Book Corner, trips to Cisco Brewers and the Chicken Box, a Sip & Shop event downtown, and a preview reading of her book being published this year, “The Hotel Nantucket”.
Due to the virus, we decided to stay at an Airbnb versus the resort, which honestly, turned out to be THE best decision. We found a beautiful little place where we were the only people staying and it was a simple 5-minute walk from the hotel. It was PERFECT. It used to be the Centerboard Inn Bed & Breakfast, but was acquired a few years ago by a kind woman named Joan who remodeled it and now manages the property.
Quiet, beautifully decorated with a private bath, fridge, and microwave, the suite offered us a romantic spot to relax and escape. It was so peaceful to have the place to ourselves and not be caught up in the resorts’ activity. With a talkative 5-year-old, the quiet that the suite offered was pure bliss. When we return to the island, we plan to book return to this Airbnb because it was so wonderful!
As for restaurants, we mainly ate at the hotel’s restaurant, Breeze, because so many other places were either closed or booked. We did find a cute little coffee shop for breakfast the one morning, but sadly, outside of that, we just dined at the hotel.
During our bus tour of the island, we had a great overview of the history and iconic spots. We learned that Nantucket has 14,000 year-round residents, which balloons to 100,000 during the summer! It’s a small island, with narrow roads, so I can’t imagine how hard it is to get around when the tourists inhabit it. Also, most of the houses on Nantucket are summer homes, with some open only for 6 weeks out of the year. Which is mind blowing as most house cost $$$$ and are costly to upkeep.
Getting to Nantucket was no easy fete, we flew to Boson, rented a car to drive to Hyannis where we boarded a ferry to the island. If the winds go above 30mph, they don’t run the ferry, so when it was time to leave and a winter storm was approaching, we decided to leave early to ensure we could get off the island in time.
Overall, if you’re an Elin Hilderbrand fan and have the funds, I would recommend attending the Bucket List weekend. It was a lot of fun and it was great to meet other readers who geeked out over her stories.
During the event, she said 2023 will be her last Bucket List weekend in Nantucket, and then she’s going to offer one in Lovongo Cay, just off of St. John in the Caribbean, where the owners of the Nantucket Hotel + Resort are opening another resort. Since she has three books based in St. John and has spent a lot of time there, I’m sure the experience would be just as magical.