From Whaling Ships to Rental Tips: Exploring Nantucket’s Past

If you’re planning a trip to Nantucket this year, it’s helpful to know a little bit about the history of the area; after all, its heritage is part of the island’s unique charm. With plenty of historic buildings and museums to see, Affordable Rentals recommends renting a car to journey across the island to experience the historic sites. To prepare for your trip, here’s a brief glimpse into the fascinating history of Nantucket.

Affordable Rentals Nantucket History Car Rental

Nantucket Origins

Originally inhabited by the Wampanoag people, Nantucket’s unique charm began to shape when it was discovered by European explorers in the 17th century. However, it was in the following centuries when Nantucket really made a splash. The island evolved into a thriving hub for the American whaling industry and then later into a tourist destination.

Picture this — Nantucket Island, the 19th Century. Ships sailed out, hunting whales for their precious oil. Dockworkers unloaded barrels along the cobblestone streets. The air was thick with excitement and the promise of fortune. Some of the sites of this storied past are still on the island today.

As the whaling era slowly faded, Nantucket found a new purpose as a prime tourist destination. Today, this picturesque island serves as an enchanting escape for those seeking a serene family vacation. It’s the quintessential blend of historical allure and modern comfort.

Nantucket’s Famous Historic Sites

To immerse deep into Nantucket history, hop in your Jeep rental and embark on a self-guided tour of some of the island’s most cherished historical sites. Here are a few suggestions of locations that are maintained by the Nantucket Historical Society:

  • The Whaling Museum: Step into the world of Nantucket’s premier industry – whaling. Explore fascinating artifacts, a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton, and whaling memorabilia that takes you back in time.
  • Old Mill: Built in 1746, the Old Mill is a testament to Nantucket’s resilience. Feel the power of the wind as it drives the oldest functioning mill in the US.
  • Oldest House and Kitchen Garden: Known as the Jethro Coffin House, a visit here gives you a glimpse into 17th century life. Relish the carefully preserved interiors and the kitchen garden.
  • Fire Hose Cart House: This charming 1886 building is a reminder of the island’s era of volunteer fire fighting, complete with a historical fire fighting cart.
  • Greater Light: A testament to the artistic soul of Nantucket, this transformed barn now showcases a home that’s as unique and eccentric as its history.
  • Quaker Meeting House and Research Library: Visit the symbol of Nantucket’s Quaker heritage and browse through a wealth of preserved historical documents.
  • Old Gaol: Nantucket’s 19th-century jail provides a thrilling look into the island’s penal history, proving that not all history is quaint!
  • Hadwen House: Wander through a beautifully preserved Greek Revival mansion that tells tales of Nantucket’s whaling golden age.

By exploring these sites, you won’t just hear the stories; you’ll live them.

Explore History in a Car Rental

We suggest you traverse the island in a rental so you can explore Nantucket’s storied past at your own pace. Roam the scenic streets, visit historic buildings that bear witness to the island’s rich history, or simply take a moment to watch the gentle surf roll in as the sun sets, all while riding comfortably in your own vehicle.

So, why not delve into Nantucket’s vibrant history on your next trip? Contact Affordable Rentals at (508) 313-9313 or book a rental online, and you’ll have all you need to embark on an unforgettable adventure through Nantucket. Witness the past, experience the present, and make your own history today!