06 September 2006

"What wonder, then, that these Nantucketers, born on a beach, should take to the sea
for a livelihood!... Two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's.
For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires. "

Herman Melville, Moby Dick
The history of Nantucket as discovered by the first off islander begins when Captain
Bartholomew Gosnold an English Mariner chartered the “elbow of sand-“ and discovered it
in 1602. Approximately 1,500 Native Americans populated the Island and
began the interest in pursuing whales at first just from the shore.
The white man’s approach to Nantucket came around 1641 when Lord Sterling
sold the island to Thomas Mayhew in 1641, subsequently Mayhew broke the the
Nantucket enterprise into 27 shares, the holders of which became the first white residents
of Nantucket. Wars, disease and plain bad luck lead to the demise of the Native American
ending with the death of the last man with Indian blood, a half breed, in 1854.

Quakers. Whaling Industry. By this time the two most important events
in the history of Nantucket, the coming of Quakerism and the pursuit of
the sperm whale to the western oceans had gone into decline.
The whaling industry had prospered through the 18th century with the interruption of the good times
during the Revolutionary War and its resulting loss of ships causing huge monetary losses to the island economy.
Recovery of the whaling industry after the war of 1812 began the platinum age of whaling. This second
prosperous period for Nantucket ended with a combination of events, the great fire
of 1846, the discovery of gold in California in 1849, an easy trip for men used to
spending two years before the mast and the discovery outside of Boston of a method
to refine the oil coming out of the earth in Pennsylvania.

Whale oil lamps and sperm candles were now a thing of
the past. But the great gift of the whaling days, Nantucket’s neighborhood’s and the
assets represented in the fine homes built during the 1830’s were intact, and the money
to improve or change them into something modern was non-existent as the population
disappeared there was no demand for new houses when old ones could be had for the asking
or a small price. By 1870 the only activity at the docks was the beginnings of the

arrivals of the tourists that would continue today, the people that came to seek the ocean breezes
and clear waters of Nantucket.

By the 1880’s the tradition of the summer vacation developed and what better way to enjoy this time than a journey
capped by a cooling ferry ride to the far away land. In his classical novel Moby Dick, Herman Melville says
"Nantucket! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off shore . . ."

Today, 36% of the land is conservation. Moors, cranberry bogs, heaths, aromatic flowers, miles and miles of splendid beaches,
three lighthouses, a working wind mill, and church steeples make up the tiny island. True Nantucket still remains priceless.
Nicknamed Gray Lady, because of the fog, it is 3 1/2 width by 14 miles length tucked away 30 miles out in the ocean,
this corner of heaven has worldwide visitors. It appeals to the wealthy visitors, nevertheless it is a terrific spot for
romantic and family vacations. The town of Nantucket hugs the yacht filled harbor and features sophisticated
gray shingled homes with white picket fences, shopping stores, cobblestone streets, world-renown restaurants,
art-filled galleries, quaint historic captain whalers' homes. It is also the birth location of the first woman astronomer Maria Mitchell, who was the first woman to discover a comet.
Sconset or Siasconset is on the east side of the island, a village community of picturesque rose covered cottages.
The island also has one of the best sunsets on the West side at Madaket Beach, a favorite spot.

The best way to learn the history of Nantucket is not to read but to take a walk
and open your eyes look around at the wonders and beauty of Nantucket.
Historian, Edouard A. Stackpole

07 August 2006

Our Innkeeper Gerry

Innkeeper Gerry Connick is passionate about the Century House and gives 100% of his energy to its smooth operation for twenty some years. His daily routine is the same: 4:30 AM morning rise, a tour of the property for any abnormalcy; a trip to the market to secure the freshest berries, produce, flowers and items for the morning's famous Gerry Bountiful Berry Buffet Breakfast; consultation with housekeeping and reservations staff, followed by a round of meetings and errands.
A successful corporate dropout who quit Corporate America in his 40's to pursue his freedoms. Gerry's life has always been by the sea since early childhood in Lynn, Massachusetts. His life adventures include serving in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Brush, building submarine propulsion systems for General Electric, and for the last 25 years, living with his wife Jean Ellen on the islands of Nantucket and Palm Beach.
While the Century House is a boutique, luxury inn, he sets the tone, welcoming his guests as if to his private residence (which is also on the property), so one is free to be oneself; when you arrive you become part of the inn's family respecting one anothers privacy and sense of subtle comraderie. Gerry is a wealth of knowledge of the known and little known treasures about the Island ; so come join his Gerry Berry Buffet Breakfast and Discover his Freedoms of Nantucket.
Interesting facts about Gerry:
- joined the Navy at age 17. - designed all the rooms at the Century House. - reads a book a day. - loves jelly doughnuts-Dunkin Donuts only (limited quantities per his wife). - has an undying love and affection for his 1945 Green Ford truck which is parked at the Century House during the Season. - is in love with the same woman who still 'rocks his boat.' - owns a dinghy for several years, that hasn't been on the water which is named after his one and only love: his Princess Jean Ellen.

07 June 2006

Hall of Fame Basketball Star Joins Our Art Program!

"Creativity takes courage." Claude Monet
One of the greatest virtues in life is courage. Courage to become who you are meant to be, courage to discover your talents and the passion to pursue them. Nantucket lovers share the desire to be free and to pursue hidden talents. Century House welcomes yet another talent!
Thomas William Heinsohn is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a part of the Boston Celtics team that won eight NBA titles in nine years. After his playing days were over, he became the Celtics' head coach for eight years and was named Coach of the Year. Nowadays, Tom enjoys painting, with Don Mosher, master painter and fellow artist, Bill Fein, all of whom stayed at the Century House early June, capturing a part of Nantucket on canvas. Of the Century House he said: "The hospitality was great! Gerry is a gifted conversationalist. The art in the inn is a measure of the fine people and artists who have stayed at the Inn. In short, you'll throughly enjoy your stay at the Century House."

04 June 2006

The Master Artist and The Apprentices!

Master Artist Don Mosher, a Century House Nantucket Island artist-in-residence since the late '80's selected Tom Heinsohn and Bill Fein to accompany his Charrette early June. Pictured to the left are Don and Bill painting in Sconset. Don's work has been featured in several national publications including Yankee and American Artist Magazine.

Mosher's paintings hang in the permanent collections of large corporations, institutions, banks, and private homes throughout the United States and abroad including the Peabody Museum, Portland Art museum, and the State House in Boston. As adept with watercolor as he is with oils, Donald Allen Mosher moves freely between the two and his vivid expressive impressionist interpretations of New England in oils form a delightful counterpoint to his softer, gentler watercolor compositions.