nantucket - living starbucks-free

NANTUCKET, September 7, 2006 - Starbucks may be sprouting in Paris faster than wild mushrooms, but you won’t find a single one on Nantucket. That fact is slightly ironic, given that the owners of the world’s largest coffee chain are one of the first families of the island, and especially since the name Starbucks is taken from the first mate in Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick.

What you will find are a series of locally owned and operated businesses. Unlike adjacent Martha’s Vineyard, where uncontrolled development was allowed to run wild, the town of Nantucket has fixed codes and ordinances to a level that even the French would admire. The result has been a cohesive community, notable for the integrity of it’s architecture and the purity of its water and air.

Nantucket has the reputation as a playground for the jet set, a fact that can be attested to by the lines of Gulfstreams waiting on the ramp at Massachusetts’ second busiest airport, or the fact that the average home in town would have some sort of defect if it sold for under 2 million, or that the newest country club requires an upfront initiation fee of $250,000.
But underneath the wealthy veneer, is an island of mystic beauty that attracts people from all walks of life. It was President Kennedy that once pointed out that the percentage of salt in human blood is identical to that of the sea. Perhaps that’s reason that man has always been drawn back to the source from which we came.

A salt breeze was blowing across Nantucket this morning, as the eastern sky turned a ripe peach-color. In those moments that separate the ocean of darkness from the ocean of light, you can almost feel a calmness reaching out.

In a world where commercial interests usually take precedence over artistic integrity - almost every major Paris fashion house is part of a larger global corporation with ambitions far beyond producing biannual couture - it’s nice to step back to a simpler time and place, where canvasses dry in the storefront gallery, and where the day’s catch came out of the water only hours before it appeared on the table.

Living without Starbucks is a small price to pay.
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