On Location: Kinga Philipps Uncovers the Real Nantucket

Journalist, traveler and adventurer, Kinga Philipps visted the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts, and discovered something new and old in this charming, former whaling town.

Video: REAL: Nantucket

Kinga shows an authentic view of this treasured island.

Watch REAL: Nantucket


Kinga shows an authentic view of this treasured island.

What brought you to Nantucket?

Kinga: From a show perspective Nantucket is a perfect location for REAL. It's charming, known the world over, has a very specific image and plenty of stereotypes. On a personal level, I have always wanted to visit this uniquely glamorous former whaling town. We wanted to experience the layers that a resort town like Nantucket offers, everything from the popular options to the undercurrents that only the locals can expose you to.

What were your expectations while filming in Nantucket?

Kinga: Having never been before I expected to find a lot of high society folks and all the things that come with that sort of lifestyle. What we found was a beautifully down to earth place populated by people who love it more than anything…enough to pay astronomical rents and endure crazy cold winters. I did expect to see the classic gray shingled houses, but didn't realize they were ALL like that.

Nantucket town at sunrise in the fog.

J. Greg Hinson, MD/ Getty Images

What were some unforgettable moments?

Kinga: Fishing with captain Pete on the Althea K was fantastic. He is the quintessential sea captain. The highlight was coming up on an ocean sunfish and, not wanting to miss such a cool opportunity, diving into the freezing cold water for a closer look…in my underwear. I also ate a still beating fish heart. Tasted like sushi.

Visiting the cranberry bogs was one of the most visually vivid experiences I’ve had. It’s BETTER than the juice commercials.

Cranberry Bogs of Nantucket

Courtesy of Kinga Philipps

Surfing the hurricane swell was quite unforgettable in the sense that I bit off way more than I could chew with 8- to 9 foot waves and got washed up on shore like an awkward seal. One of our local crew, Bali, caught me as I was beaching myself to keep me from slamming into the concrete and metal piping from the eroded homes that litter the beach. That was exciting.

Climbing on board the Ruthie B, one of the last independently owned commercial ground fishing boats in the area, was another special island experience that felt like stepping into a time machine.

REAL crew holding up their caught fish

Courtesy of Kinga Philipps

What are your recommendations for things to do in Nantucket?

Kinga: Get out on the water…fishing, surfing, even a swim… in the summer. Rent scooters and explore the island. Visit the lighthouses. Check into one of the amazingly charming bed and breakfasts. Get some clam chowder… I ate it with every meal. Catch both the sunrise and the sunset over the harbor and beaches. Take a tour of the cranberry bogs in the spring, when they are blooming, or the fall, when they are being harvested. Hang out in a cozy local bar and talk to the residents. They’ll let you know if there are any special events happening. Visit the whaling museum for some island history.

What are your tips for planning a trip to Nantucket?

Kinga: Consider the season. The summer gets busy and pricy. Winter is cold and quite. Fall, in my humble opinion, is just right. October is the shoulder season when the tourists have mostly gone home, prices are reasonable and the weather is still beautiful. Decide your housing options in advance. Many people rent homes. The other terrific option are the bed and breakfasts. I stayed at the Century House and loved it. Look for the unique…if someone is offering a talk about falconry…go check it out. 

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