Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket (Crown Journeys)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Frank Conroy first visited Nantucket with a gang of college friends in 1955. They came on a whim, and for Conroy it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with this "small, relaxed oasis in the ocean." This book, part travel diary, part memoir, is a hauntingly evocative and personal journey through Nantucket: its sweeping dunes, rugged moors, remote beaches, secret fishing spots, and hidden forests and cranberry bogs. Admirers of Conroy’s classic and acclaimed memoir Stop-Time will again delight in what James Atlas, writing in the New York Times, called his "genius for close observation."
In Time and Tide, Conroy recounts the island’s history from the glory days of the whaling boom to the present, when tourism dominates. He vividly evokes the clash of cultures between the working class and the super-rich, with the fragile ecology of the island always in the balance. But most fascinating of all, he tells his own story--of playing jazz piano in the island’s bars; of raising a barn in the early '60s with the help of a bunch of hippie carpenters; of leasing an old, failed bar with two island pals and turning it into the Roadhouse, a club "that was to be ours, the year-rounders, and to hell with the summer people." There’s a marvelous story of his first golf game, played on an ancient nine-hole course with two friends, a part-time sommelier and a builder from the South who invented the one-handed pepper mill.
This is a book that revels in friendship, music, history, and the gorgeous landscape of a unique American place, and is a wonderful work by one of our greatest contemporary writers.
our lack of business experience, and our naive belief in the basic honesty of people. The Roadhouse certainly looked like it was doing well. So many customers wanted to get in the fire marshal made us hire a door person, a nice-guy bouncer, so as not to exceed the legal limit of 225 persons. On any given night there would be fifty or more people out in the parking lot or gathered around the windows, listening, hoping to get in. Customers stood three deep at the bars in both rooms and we were
to do as they like with their land. (Many working and middle-class families on the island really have nothing else except their land—it is their equity.) The back-and-forth tug of war between different parties, organizations, and local government and interest groups, is a long-standing affair, going back many decades. There is the Land Council, and I quote from their mission statement: “We negotiate with private owners to voluntarily restrict use of their land and preserve conservation values.
on the ’Sconset beach. The water was calm and she took off her shoes to wade. After a while she felt something on her ankle, reached down and retrieved a one-hundred-dollar bill. She spotted another one close by, drifting like seaweed, and kept searching for a while until it was clear there weren’t any more. Probably someone had gone swimming with the money in his bathing suit with the pocket unbuttoned. I was reminded yet again of the boys diving for coins, and of the passage of time. We live
carried people, automobiles, and semis from Woods Hole on Cape Cod to Nantucket Harbor. As the boats rounded Brant Point through the narrow channel the battered old wharves and piers of the waterfront were suddenly revealed, and up higher, farther back, the church steeples, white and gold in the sun. It was a town in those days, a real town in which everyone knew everyone else and behaved, perforce, in a civil manner, even toward the “summer people,” who outnumbered the year-rounders to be sure,
was still a quiet, calm island. We rarely went to town, although when we did it was still pleasant to visit the library, go to the bookstore, buy a good wool sweater at the Nobby Shop for a fair price, have a drink at the Club Car, or buy a raffle ticket from a lady at a card table in front of the Catholic church. As the streets became more crowded from one summer to the next, we barely noticed. Outside of town we could walk for miles over the moors or along beaches without seeing a soul. The