Inside some of the island’s best barns.
The Almanack Arts Colony held its inaugural Songwriters program earlier this spring. For three weeks, five talented songwriters enjoyed an all-expenses paid opportunity to collaborate in a barn repurposed as a recording studio. “The colony fosters collaborations between emerging songwriters who would not normally have the opportunity to write and record together,” says executive director Callie Barber. “As with all Almanack Arts Colony programs, we aimed to invite a small yet crucial group of artists who have the potential to advance their art form on a global scale.” For more information, click here.
When local builder Scott O’Connor came across a historic barn on a property he was developing on Polpis Road, he knew it had to be salvaged. “I felt awful tearing it down,” O’Connor says. “It has historical significance and would have been such a shame to demolish.” Built in the 1930s, the barn once held milk cows and was part of a series of other barns on the property. Back then, farmers frequently gathered at a nearby meeting house, what was known as the Polpis Farmers Institute. Instead of leveling this history, O’Connor moved the 18×50-foot barn to his property mid-island and turned it into a 3-bedroom dwelling. “It began as a hobby, working on it piece by piece,” he says, “but then I grew an emotional attachment to it — as crazy as that sounds.” By the looks of this cool space, that doesn’t sound crazy at all.
Once part of the Westmoor Club and designed by local architect Chip Webster, the Green Barn is now a summer rental equipped with everything you’d ever need to throw the bash of lifetime. From the sprawling dance floor to the movie theater to the game room to the traditional Irish pub with mahogany bar top — the Green Barn is far and away a Nantucket gem.
“This barn allows us to do every facet of cold-molded boat building,” says Eric Finger of Finger Boatworks. “From the spurs to the mast to the hulls to the interior joiner work — it’s all done here.” With a Douglas fir floor and reinforced 2x10s frame, Finger’s barn is home to the Alerion fleet, 28 vessels which can be seen sailing around Nantucket during the summer. Most recently, Finger finished building his own boat, a Haven 12.5 designed by Joel White. Thanks to his barn, the project was smooth sailing.
Nantucket native Sandra Jones has been keeping her horses in the barn behind Cisco Brewers since the Powers family built it back in the 1980s. “There’s been a lot of horses in and out of there,” Jones says. “The other barn nearby used to be an indoor riding ring where my friend Caren Powers once taught riding lessons.” Jones learned to ride on Nantucket, much like her mother. Today, her horses Bailey and Spirit share the barn now owned by Cisco Brewers, along with rabbits and twenty-one goats.
Inspired by the Rhode Island School of Design, Nantucket Island School of Design and Arts (NISDA) makes its home at Sea View Farms, a converted dairy farm in Wauwinet. Bursting at the seams with creative juices, NISDA’s barn is equipped with a textile studio, dark rooms, a library, 2D and 3D studios, and an open air workspace. For more information, click here.