It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the menu options on this Nantucket ferry before you arrive. It might not come as any surprise that the café aboard The Grey Lady only serves a limited number of items including: sandwiches, chips, candy, and booze. Although they deserve credit for offering classic Boars Head options like ham, turkey, and roast beef, purchasing a pre-made sandwich wrapped in saran still somehow leaves something to be desired. For this reason, I prefer to come armed with my own lunch. And after driving 4 or 5 hours from New York, we are usually starving when we arrive in Hyannis. Since it is a McGinley tradition to be scrambling for the boat and screeching into the parking lot “Duke’s of Hazard” style with the car up on two wheels and just moments to spare, I am usually breaking a sweat when I haul into the ticket office to collect our boarding passes.
Traveling leaves me feeling famished, so it is always a pleasure to be able to enjoy a lunch I packed myself once we are situated on the boat. Even better, this means we won’t be starving when we get off, which will give us a chance to wander through town right away, popping into a shop here and there and doing just what you’re supposed to do on Nantucket—relaxing.
The Hyline café is great for cocktails, and even offers cleverly named options to coincide with various island events like Stroll, Daffodil Weekend, Memorial Day, summer, etc. So, I usually just pack sandwiches. Since we live near a deli my whole family loves, I often pick up our lunch there the day before our trip, and pack it into a small cooler right before we leave the house. The anxiety attached to packing the car, loading and unloading the kids and bags, picking up the tickets, securing a decent seat, and making sure we don’t miss the boat all together makes arriving with a delicious and satisfying lunch feel like a well deserved payoff. Riding the Nantucket ferry is always an adventure.