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Book Review: A Nantucket Experience
By Sandy Amazeen – Jul 15, 2013
Monsters & Critics
After twenty years of enjoying the charms of Nantucket Island with family and friends during summer vacations, Dunlap and family relocated to the island permanently. As a new year-rounder, Dunlap began writing about the joys of changing seasons on the small island; its close-knit community, traditional celebrations, preparations for the hoards of summer visitors and more. What emerges is a sweet travelogue that pays homage to this distinctive destination including the varied shops, restaurants, theater and activities such as the annual Thanksgiving morning Cold Turkey Plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. Each month is given a chapter complete with full color photographs that illustrate the points being made in each mini essay. Told with warmth and obvious love of the island, Dunlap has captured the allure of Nantucket as only a resident could. Whether you’ve spent time on the island or looking for a new travel destination, this lovely coffee table book makes a nice addition to the armchair traveler’s library.
Review: A Nantucket Experience
By shirleytemple83 – Monday, July 1, 2013
Living on a island is the sun would be a dream for many people. Shellie Dunlap is one of the few people who can call Nantucket Island her home. Dunlap recently moved onto Nantucket and became a year round resident. This book chronicles one year on this gorgeous island, using monthly highlights and photographs. The cover alone will grasp anyone looking for a summer get-away.
I was actually very torn when I finished this book. When I read the synopsis, I was very excited. My family vacations every summer on an island very similar to Nantucket, so I was looking forward to reading about the similarities on life on the island. I did enjoy reading about the unique parts of Nantucket, such as the comedy festival, the Thanksgiving plunge, scallopin’, and the beautiful homes. I have to say though that this book did not impress me as much as I would have liked it to. I felt that the book was mainly directed to people that have had the pleasure of visiting Nantucket, not the “outsiders”. When Dunlap brought up the different areas of the island, I had no idea where she was talking about. A map at the front of the book would have been very helpful. For someone who had never been to Nantucket, basic facts about the island would have been helpful.
I did think that the title was a little bit of false advertising. When I saw that the book was about Dunlap’s first year as a year-round resident, I was expecting it to be more a novel. Instead of talking about her day-to-day life on the island, Dunlap pretty much talked about generic things that happen each year or in years past. There was not a whole lot of Dunlap’s personal interactions during that year. I was hoping to get the inside scoop on what truly happens during a blustery winter day on Nantucket Island.
All in all, I think this book is a hit-or-miss. I think that visitors of Nantucket would really enjoy this book because it would help them feel connected to their favorite spot all year round. For those that have never been there, it might not keep your interest.
It takes a seasoned pro to capture the flavor, the atmosphere, the unique little mysteries and joys, and the abundant charm of a single place, and in A NANTUCKET EXPERIENCE Shellie Dunlap has entered that realm of writers. Perhaps the reason her books acts as such a love song is the fact that she was a seasonal visitor for many years before becoming a permanent resident (aka a `wash ashore’ in Nantucketese) that gives her book such a seductively solid range and extent of appreciation. But no matter how Shellie Dunlap grew into the expert diarist, this very handsome book is fully half gloriously rich color photographs of the various parts of the island and the other half is a tour through the months of the year, pausing long enough to share the special aspects of each holiday, each season, each tourist impacted time and each quiet deserted time the permanent residents treasure. Her comments on the unique island activities that seem to celebrate not only an idea, but the fact that that idea is carried out with the backdrop of one of the nation’s most beautiful destinations include sporting events, Daffodil Festival, parades down Main Street for July 4th (and writing this on July 4th my enhance the romance of reading Dunlap’s book!), theater, the special foods, the languid beaches and the sheer beauty of the sunsets and sunrises and yes, even the fog. Having been to Nantucket in the past as a tourist and reading Shellie Dunlap’s book makes this reviewer only long to return – perhaps even become a `wash ashore’, that is how seductive is this A NANTUCKET EXPERIENCE. For a flavorful and heart warming book to keep visible on your coffee table (and as a gift to those you love), this book is high on the list.
Nantucket was for years our family’s summer destination. My husband and I married on Nantucket in a “secret garden,” tucked away off Centre Street, and fondly recall many an August visit, biking to the beach, strolling through the shops, sitting at outdoor cafes, and just relaxing at home. We treasured every moment of every day. However, it wasn’t until my friend Shellie Dunlap “washed ashore” and decided to make Nantucket her permanent home that I even thought about Nantucket as a place to be all seasons. Shellie has somehow managed to translate 20 years of experiences into a down home collection of stories that complement the photos of gray shingled cottages, cobblestone roads, rocky jetties, sandy beaches and historic lighthouses. Whether you’ve been summering on Nantucket for years, or simply long to visit the place, you’ll find joy in reading this book. Beyond your typical coffee table ornament, A Nantucket Experience will take you on a personal journey, and you’ll put it down brimming with reasons to love it, visit it, or keep coming back to it.
Shellie Dunlap has done it again!!!!
By Kathi Fair – June 23, 2013
I have read Shellie Dunlap’s work and every time I do I get a clear picture of the perfect island getaway that lured this Wash Ashore home. Planning my next trip to Nantucket and can’t wait for my own “Nantucket Experience”. Shellie has a way of painting pictures with her words and making you feel you are sharing all the fun she is having.