The Tower


Despite the heat wave we’ve been having, I still try to get out for a walk or two every day.  The location (and price!)  is really what sold us on our house – it’s a walkable distance to so many things, and I’ve been slowly exploring the island, spiraling out like a web from la maison.  Yesterday, I decided to follow Center Street past town, into a neighborhood previously unexplored, where I discovered the First Congregational Church and Old North Vestry.

With a bell tower that was open to the public for a bird’s eye view of the island.

Since we were stroller free, Nora and and I decided to make the climb.  The first set of stairs brought us out into the choir loft, where we had a great view of the sanctuary. 

The front wall and ceiling had beautiful trompe-l’oeil paintings that were originally done in 1850 and were restored betwwn 1968 and 1970.  It’s pretty convincingly three-dimensional, right?

And I love the brass chandelier.  The volunteer working that day told me it’s from England and weighs nearly 600 pounds.

The floor above the choir loft had a neat little display explaining the history of the church and a place to sit looking out at the bay.

After a quick peak, we kept climbing, up more stairs and into the guts of the tower.

We passed the bell’s rope, and soon found the bell itself, high above the trees.

This bell is from 1914 and is still in use (we actually heard it chime the hour just as we walked up to the church).  It has an inscription, which reads:

Ring out the old, ring in the new
ring out the false, ring in the true
ring out the darkness of the land
ring in the Christ that is to be.

As we climbed we kept passing these little windows with appetizing snippets of the view.

I could hardly wait to get to the top.  And it did not disappoint!

North – Nantucket Sound

East – Harbor

South – Town

West – Madaket

So there you have it – the 360.   Since we’ve been on the island, I’ve been itching to go up in a widow’s walk – well, this puts widow’s walks to shame.  If you’re traveling to the island, the tower is a must-see (must-climb!) for sure.

—Photo note:since my camera had a mishap at the beach, I’m stuck with only a cell phone.—

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2 responses

  1. John Hinds Avatar
    John Hinds

    That is very nice Amber. I notice that there are zero, zip, nada billboards in view. They must have some kind of ordinance against them. No golden arches, no Motel 6, no Holiday Inn, or at least no ‘sign’ of them. And, of course, no high rise construction either.

  2. Yep, the Historic District Commission has pretty strict regulations about what can impact the look of the island. There are really strict rules about chains (which Chris and I love – there’s no wondering about where your money is going), rules about signs (all the street signs are wood, for example), and lots of rules for building appearances. This week, I’m going to do a series of posts about how Nantucket looks.

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