NANTUCKET The Faraway Island
An island of pristine beauty 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, Nantucket is a haven, 26 miles out to sea, with something to offer for everyone. Nantucket’s natural splendor, its romantic beaches, high end shopping, creative dining and its historic allure all combine to make the island an idyllic location.
The Far Away Island, was first inhabited by the Wompanoag Indians who were hunters, farmers and fishermen. The English first settled on the Island around 1700 and by 1720 the Whaling Industry had begun to gain traction. At this time, their energies were directed to hunting the right whales that returned every autumn, usually within 30 miles of shore.
Nantucket whalers soon discovered that another species of whale, the sperm whale, could be found in the waters just out of sight and proved to be a better source of whale oil. Heavy whaling activity forced the Nantucket whalers to go on longer expeditions into the Pacific, lasting for years at a time and by the 1820’s Nantucket was the busiest whaling port in the world.
As sperm whale populations decreased and kerosene usage increased Nantucket’s whaling industry began to decline. The last whaling ship sailed out of Nantucket Harbor in search of sperm whales in 1869.
Fortunately, the hard times would prove to be short-lived. Tourism became the principal mainstay of the economy, just as the whaling industry had been for so many years before. Ferry service was expanded between the Cape and Nantucket, an airport was constructed in 1920 and it wasn’t long before historic Nantucket was drawing travelers from all over the world.
To learn more about Nantucket and its history visit the Nantucket Historical Association at http://nha.org.