A quick chat with the Nantucket Historical Association‘s Manager of Communications, Lindsay Scouras.
N MAGAZINE: If you were to create a time capsule with 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
SCOURAS: I feel a lot of pressure to answer this question correctly since I work at a historical association that aims to preserve our island’s history! What would most represent my experience on Nantucket would be: my signed copy of In the Heart of the Sea; a ticket from the Boston Pops concert; my punch card from Corner Table Café; my Box card; and finally, a copper compass rose ornament that my husband Steve gave to me on my first day of work which reads, “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving…We must sail sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it…But we must sail, and not drift, not lie at anchor – Oliver Wendell Holmes.”
N MAGAZINE: What is your cure for “island fever”?
SCOURAS: People always ask me if I get bored in the off-season, or if it’s totally isolating living on an island, but I don’t ever really feel that way. I think that’s because I have built up such an amazing support system here. I know that when I first moved to Nantucket, it was a bit daunting to think about making a life here — it was March, my husband wasn’t here yet, and there wasn’t a lot going on. So I just threw myself into everything that I could. I said YES anytime anyone asked me to make plans, went to networking events by myself and made an effort to meet people, and attended programs at various nonprofits — I even went to karaoke at the Rose & Crown my second week here (shout out to those four people in the audience who really enjoyed my rendition of “Sweet Child of Mine”). I think you just have to be really open and put yourself out there to discover all of the things that Nantucket has to offer.
N MAGAZINE: What is the most recent book you read?
SCOURAS: I’m actually reading a book right now that I highly recommend given our current political climate: Republic of Spin by David M. Greenburg. It covers the rise of the White House spin machine over that last 100 years. It’s not normally the type of book I would be interested in (I’m more of a nonfiction / chick lit type of gal), but I saw the author speak on a panel at the Atheneum on how media and entertainment shape politics and he was so compelling that I had to check it out!
N MAGAZINE: What is your quintessential Nantucket dinner?
SCOURAS: My husband is an amazing cook, so we don’t go out to dinner too often, but when we do our favorite place to go is Centre Street Bistro. To me, it’s everything that you want in a small town restaurant – very few tables, really good specials, and you can’t beat BYOB! It’s cozy and unpretentious, plus they’re open basically year-round.
N MAGAZINE: Who is the most famous or notable person you’ve seen on island?
SCOURAS: I’d say that being in the Whaling Museum with Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth for their long-lead press event for In the Heart of the Sea was the closest proximity that I have ever been to someone of that celebrity status. They were both very nice and pretty down to earth considering their notability.
N MAGAZINE: What 5 words would you use to describe your life on Nantucket?
SCOURAS: Inspiring, beautiful, interesting, busy, and crazy (in mostly good ways!)
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite NHA property and why?
SCOURAS: I love the Hadwen House garden. Even in the summer when Main Street is bustling, the garden feels like such a serene oasis…plus it’s gorgeous for outdoor wedding ceremonies and events. When I first moved to Nantucket, I lived in the Hadwen House while I was figuring out my housing and I loved sitting out there on a Sunday morning and reading a book or planning out my upcoming week. We have an amazing landscape manager and maintenance team that keep it looking top-notch all year long, in addition to the Nantucket Garden Club, and to me it’s this kind of hidden gem.
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite NHA artifact or exhibit and why?
SCOURAS: It’s probably a really obvious choice, but I love the sperm whale skeleton that hangs in Gosnell Hall at the Whaling Museum. Even though the way the whale came to us is very sad (it washed ashore in ‘Sconset on New Year’s Day in 1998), I consider us really lucky to have such an amazing artifact to share with our visitors. The thing that I think is most interesting about it — and which most people don’t notice until you point it out — is that it has a cracked tooth on the right side of its jaw. I like to use it as a reminder (especially for kids) of how important it is to take care of your teeth!
N MAGAZINE: What is a lesson that mainland America could learn from life on Nantucket?
SCOURAS: I think the lack of anonymity here is sometimes a really good thing in that it kind of forces you to be a better person. You can’t cut someone off at the rotary because chances are you know them and you’ll probably see them in the aisles of Stop & Shop later. I think in the rest of “America” it’s a lot easier for people to be mean and hurtful to each other because there’s much less of a sense of community and knowing your neighbors. I like that we have a level of accountability here, and that we get to know each other on a much more personal basis than if you lived in a larger town or city.
N MAGAZINE: What is the hardest part of living on Nantucket?
SCOURAS: The hardest part about living on Nantucket is that even if you’re the world’s greatest planner, the weather can still come along and ruin everything. It’s especially hard in the off-season when you try to make plans to go off-island for the holidays (when you haven’t seen your family in months and you’ve had your travel arrangements worked out well in advance) and then a huge storm comes and throws everything off. I learned that the hard way my first Thanksgiving here…
N MAGAZINE: If you didn’t live on Nantucket and work for the NHA, what would you be doing and where?
SCOURAS: Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely obsessed with award shows (the Academy Awards are my Superbowl). So I would say that if I wasn’t working and living here on Nantucket, I would want to be living in LA and hosting red carpet specials for the E! Network. Luckily, I’ve gotten to live out my dream in a way working with NCTV at various island events and asking people “who they’re wearing” at places like the Daffodil Festival.
N MAGAZINE: Cisco Brewers, Nantucket Vineyard or Triple Eight Distillery?
SCOURAS: Triple Eight! I love their flavored spirits. My favorite cocktail is the Pineapple Express, which is vanilla vodka, ginger ale, and pineapple juice.