See Food

A little-known restaurant with a spectacular view

NantucketScenic_stepsBeach_Ogan_2012-4Photo: Susan Ogan

T

o say The Aquinnah Shop restaurant is a secret isn’t entirely accurate. If you know where Aquinnah is, then finding the Aquinnah Shop isn’t a problem—it’s pretty much the only restaurant in town. The hard part about finding the Aquinnah Shop is finding Aquinnah, which up until 1998 was called Gay Head. Luckily, the Aquinnah Shop, has never changed its name since it was founded by a Wampanoag medicine man and whaler 50 years ago. It’s now run by the medicine man’s great grandson, Jacob Vanderhoop, who started working there when he was 11, and features ocean views that make forming words difficult and a breakfast menu that includes fish cakes covered with salsa, poached eggs and cheddar cheese (the Tomahawk Special). Not surprisingly for a restaurant founded by a whaler, seafood is the ingredient of choice, and for lunch you can choose from a large selection of rolls, cakes, and chowders. Just remember, if a guide book sends you to Gay Head, you’re still going the right direction. Skidmore

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Whaling was originally done from shore, when Wampanoags harvested beached whales or harpooned whales in shallow waters and towed them to land. But the practice ended when white settlers killed so many whales that their numbers near the coast declined.

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