REINVENTING NANTUCKET’S OLDEST CONTINUOUSLY OPERATING INN
A Century-and-a-Half Filled with the Freedom, Art, and History of Nantucket Island
(Nantucket, MA) – January 2006. While the Century House offers its guests today everything from renovated luxurious rooms and delicious homemade breakfast, to top line amenities and complimentary Wi-Fi, it has always been proud to be the oldest continuously operating guest house on Nantucket Island since 1870.
The 16-room Century House was first constructed in the 1840’s by Captain Calder. Later on, in the early 1870’s it became a boarding house for islanders during the winter months and a guest house during the summer months hosting the increasing number of visitors to Nantucket.
As history tells it, family operated guesthouses continued to be the preference when visiting Nantucket, especially after the depression of the 1930’s when large resort hotels were shut down, dismantled and reconstructed into some of the cliff mansions seen on the island today. Guesthouses prospered after World War II, in fact, the Century House’s innkeeper during that period said the he had a full house of soldiers in residence.
Enter the Bed & Breakfast era of the 1980’s, along with fancy private baths and air conditioning. The current innkeepers, Jean Ellen Heron and Gerry Connick, came to Century House in 1984, and integrated the old historic guesthouse into the B&B era by redecorating it to the tastes they were brought up with, as they both had spent their childhood in large old homes.
Five years later, in 1989, the executive producers of Paramount Pictures hit TV show “Wings” chose Century House due to its rich history as their Nantucket home when first visiting the island to scout locations.
Named in the Top 5 U.S Summer Destinations by Forbes.com last year, the Century House continues to offer remarkable hospitality in a comfortable setting near town. The innkeepers play a vital role in assuring a pleasant and comfortable stay for all their guests. Gerry developed and mastered “Gerry’s Berry Buffet Breakfast,” served daily, which includes his famous granola, yogurt, island berries, fruit, bagels, English muffins, homemade coffee cake, pastry juices, jams, jellies, teas, and the best perked coffee and has been mentioned in Forbes.com and Zagat.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino, and espresso are available throughout the day, and then “cookies and cream” or afternoon snacks roll into the cocktail hour. Perhaps the best part of the day is at sunset while sitting out on the veranda and preparing for dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.
From an artistic angle, Century House, under the direction of JeanE (a senior docent at Palm Beach’s Norton Art Museum) and Gerry’s enthusiastic support, has operated an artist in-residence program. For the past years Century House guests have been encouraged to meet and socialize with local artists who might be staying at the inn, and in 2005 the debut of the Professional Artist’s Week was held in June and was a tremendous success. The work of such artists is included in the many pieces in the extensive Century House collection. The paintings are frequently rotated between the common areas and guest rooms.
From luxurious Molton Brown toiletries to complimentary Internet access and Wi-Fi, the Century House combines a graceful balance of an old era into the 21st century. Various rooms are completely renovated each year and deluxe rooms include a fireplace (non-operational). The location is fabulous and close to restaurants and museums.
The innkeepers also understand the importance of connectivity but don’t overindulge in it. Instead of placing a computer station in every room, guests can only use the one available on each floor. Their priority is the well-being of all their guests, and “computers nowadays are intrusive and creep up on you as you’re trying to relax,” says innkeeper Gerry Connick.
Century House has successfully moved into the 21st century and continues to operate with the attentive hospitality it did in the late 1800’s. Well, perhaps with a lot more luxurious amenities and a longer, more exciting story to tell.
Century House dates back to the Cliff Road land purchase in 1833. According to research performed by Edouard A. Stackpole, renowned Nantucket historian and former director of the Peter Foulger Museum, a member of an old Nantucket family of Scottish roots, Captain Robert Calder, built the Century House. Over the years, Capt. Calder took part in several long, successful voyages to hunt whale, and eventually completed the construction of the house in the early 1840’s. It is said that Capt. Calder chose this site because of the privacy, the ocean breezes, the views, and the genuine serenity the location provided in the 1840’s and still exhibits today. According to Mr. Stackpole, the Century House is the oldest continuously operating guesthouse on Nantucket Island to date.
Visit www.centuryhouse.com for details. Season begins May 15 and ends around October 15