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2003 Nantucket Christmas Stroll Report — The 2003 Nantucket Christmas Stroll was more like the stroll that wasn't. We had reservations for the 4:30 p.m. Friday trip on the Steamship Authority (SSA) high speed ferry "Flying Cloud". Being a busy time of year, we didn't think to verify that the boat was actually in service and operating. With the history of the Flying Cloud, we should have known better. On Thursday, just by accident we discovered that the Flying Cloud had a serious event at sea the Tuesday prior. When we discovered the Flying Cloud was out of commission, we checked the latest news page of the SSA website only to find the page blank. We have actually never found ANY information on the SSA "Latest News" page. No news from the SSA. We called the reservation office and were told that the boat was canceled for Friday. Apparently a lot had been going on, but the SSA communications were noticeably absent. Thursday afternoon we put in a call to Fred Raskin, the head of the SSA. Our biggest complaint was that the SSA does not post any information on their website regarding travel issues on the SSA (both weather and mechanical related). SSA riders are all too often left in the dark. This was discussed at length with Fred. We hope he got the message. At some point on Friday, the SSA finally put up a "press release" on their website. It can be viewed by clicking here (pdf viewer required). To the credit of the SSA, travelers who had booked reservations on the Flying Cloud were given full refunds along with free tickets on the Eagle.

Friday afternoon/evening
After resolving all of the SSA transportation issues we got off the Eagle to perfect Christmas Stroll weather. The snow was falling, wind blowing, and the Christmas trees downtown created the perfect beginning to the 2003 stroll. Here are some photos from Friday night.
Snow! Snow! Snow!
The 3:00 p.m. ferry riders from Hyannis were greeted by snow and wind. It was heard on the street that half of the 8:45 p.m. ferry riders were sea sick. It was also the last boat to cross for the stroll.
The BlueFin
This is an absolutely beautiful bar on North Beach Street.
Harbor House Village
Looking down the entrance to Harbor House Village always provides a nice photo.
Main Street
Looking up Main Street.

Saturday morning we awoke to find a few inches of more than what was on the ground Friday night. The snow had turned to rain overnight but the conditions weren't too bad at 9 a.m. One of the popular Saturday events, the "Find Your Twin and Win" game was canceled much to our dismay. Shortly thereafter the rain started. It rained and rained and rained and then it rained some more. Along with the rain were winds that almost made it impossible to walk at times. All boats were canceled and except for a few early morning flights, planes were grounded too. Around 6 p.m. the rain stopped, the wind stopped and it actually felt mild. The harbor turned completely calm. At straight wharf you could have dropped a pin in the water and watched the ripples. Nantucket was in the eye of the storm. The calmness lasted into the night.
SSA Nantucket Office
There were many wind blown waves crashing the backside of the SSA office.
Killen Family Christmas Boat
This boat with the lighted Christmas tree, seen in the harbor since 1965, was completely submerged by Saturday afternoon.
Choppy Water
...with a tide somewhat higher than normal.
Straight Wharf Food Tent
The food tent was up and operating in the Grand Union parking lot. This photo is a bit deceiving because of the flash. It wasn't this bright. It was dark, dreary, cold, rainy and windy. Here a leg of beef is being carved for roast beef sandwiches.
Santa/Town Crier
Santa being transported up Main Street via firetruck this year.
Santa Arrives
Santa arrives at the Pacific National Bank for an afternoon visiting with the kids.
Main Street
This years version of the Pacific National Bank Christmas tree.
Main Street
Just a nicely decorated tree on Main Street.
Straight Wharf
The Artisan shops on Straight Wharf.
Straight Wharf
Pretty much deserted on Saturday night.
Nantucket Beach Glass
...down on straight wharf.
Fishing Boats on Straight Wharf
There were some pretty big fishing boats seeking shelter from the storm. Notice the calm water.

At about 3 a.m. Sunday morning the winds were howling and the windows were shaking again. The eye of the storm had passed and the backside of the Noreaster was passing thru. Daylight provided no relief from the wind, however the rain subsided. Nobody was going home Sunday. All boats and planes remained canceled. Cold temperatures and light snow were the words of the day. Sunday night was cold and windy and included a brisk walk to "Foood for Here and There" (yes that's how it is spelled) for a pizza on Orange Street. While we were there, 75 pizzas went to the Nantucket Inn for it's stranded visitors. Monday morning brought a lot of anxious travelers into the Nantucket ticket office of the SSA. Stories varied greatly depending on who you spoke to. The Hyannis ticket office seemed to provide the most accurate and up to date information. At about 8 a.m. word got out (from Hyannis) that the boat would leave for Nantucket at 9 a.m. as scheduled. Almost immediately the line began to form at the SSA dock. It was almost like New York City. The line started at the little visitors office just about where Broad Street begins. It snaked it's way down past the Flying Cloud dock, past the office building, behind the office building, back up to the long shelter where it wound inside through three lanes, and then back out to the loading stairs. By 11:00 a.m. there were over a thousand people in line. The Eagle is only allowed to carry 800 passengers during the winter months (1400 in the summer), so many people did not get on the 12:00 p.m. ferry to Hyannis.
Looking down the walkway to Surfside Beach.
Surfside Beach
These are Sunday waves which were much smaller than Saturday. Sunday the wind was out of the North blowing away from the beach.
Is It True?
Some weary travelers at The Fog Island Cafe were just informed that the boats had started running again. Seems to be a look of disbelief.
Waiting....and Waiting
The wind shelter was full by 9 a.m. a full three hours prior to the 12 p.m. ferry departure.
Traffic Jam
People, cars, and more people.
The Line
This is the part of the line behind the SSA office.
On Board The Eagle
People were standing....
On Board The Eagle
On Board The Eagle
... and staring into space. Just about everyone was glad to be on their way home.
Storm Clouds
This is what the Noreaster looked liked from Hyannis at about 3 p.m Monday. The storm cloud separation was so well defined. A wide angle lens would have produced an awesome view.

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