Stranded After Stroll, Visitors Scramble To Find Accomodations

Jason Graziadei •

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The 48th annual Nantucket Christmas Stroll was a huge success that drew thousands of seasonal residents and visitors to the island over the weekend. That is, it was until some of them needed to get back to the mainland Saturday night.

As many as 200 people who came over for the day were left stranded Saturday night after boats were cancelled due to wind and inclement weather, said Shantaw Bloise, the town's director of culture and tourism. That number was based on looking at passenger manifests from both the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line Cruises, Bloise said, but it was difficult to discern an accurate head count of the total number of people who were seeking accommodations. Despite the numerous warnings from the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line Cruises about the conditions and the potential for cancellations, many found themselves stuck.

Numerous social media posts started popping up mentioning visitors looking for places to stay the night, and lodging establishments started getting flooded with requests.

Bloise and Hy-Line Cruises' Liz Holland went to work attempting to determine what was available for rooms at the island's hotels and inns, and stayed in contact with the Nantucket Police Department regarding the situation.

"It was legitimately an island-wide effort," Bloise said.

They were even in touch with the VFW about opening up its facility as a temporary warming center if people were unable to find accommodations. 

At Blue Flag Partners' newly acquired Beachside hotel, roughly half of the 94 rooms had already been closed for the season. But when general manager MarcAnthony Crimi heard about the situation, he opened the other half of the Beachside, drove down to the wharves and offered rides to the hotel to anyone who looked stuck. Rooms were offered to stranded visitors at half off. Approximately two dozen people who were stuck on the island Saturday night ended up staying at the Beachside.

While other islanders stepped up by offering rooms in their homes, the remaining people who were stranded found lodging with friends, family, or other lodging establishments and rents. The town did not need to open up a warming center or temporary shelter.

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