Island Elegance -August 2018

The Wauwinet, that oasis of calm at the Head of the Harbor, was awarded Five Diamonds by AAA this year, making it the only resort and restaurant on Nantucket to receive the accolade.

First opened in 1875 as The Wauwinet House, named after a Wampanoag chief who ruled over the eastern edge of the island, guests accessed the inn via the catboat Lillian, which sailed up-harbor and delivered guests on the sandy beach to enjoy shore dinners and simple accommodations. The inn underwent several renovations over the ensuing decades and was ultimately bought by the Backus family, who owned and operated it for close to 100 years.

In 1986 it was purchased by summer residents Jill and Steve Karp, who undertook an extensive renovation of the property, turning it into the world-class resort it is today. The Wauwinet and TOPPER’S restaurant, named after the Karps’ dog, reopened in 1988 and the property has been the gold standard for luxury accommodations and fine dining on the island ever since.


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