National Geographic : 1970 Jun
harbor so thick that supply ships can't buck through. Then cargo planes drop emergency rations-31,000 pounds one arctic day last January. But such crises only heighten the na tive's perverse pride in his insularity. Off-season is the time to meet the real Nantucketers. They must make most of their income during the summer, and they have no time for socializing. They are a hardworking minority amid a crowd of vacationing strangers. But after Labor Day they are liberated. One of the most engaging islanders is a tall, lanky man named Earl Coffin, a descendant of one of the families that comprised Nantucket's original elite. (The 1870 census recorded 76 Macys, 112 Gardners, 138 Folgers, and 185 Coffins.) Rockweed Steam Gives Clams That Special Flavor Earl is much in demand as Nantucket's most talented and knowledgeable gardener. But when gardening slacks off in the fall, he haunts the island's shores, wading in Polpis Harbor on cold and blustery days in search of scallops and clams. One morning, Earl's wife Phoebe, a pretty and vivacious Newfoundlander, called to invite my wife Wendy and me to a clambake, a rare treat on Nantucket. To prepare a proper clambake, which consists not only of clams but also of lob sters, potatoes, corn on the cob, and cheesecloth bags stuffed KODACHROMES I() NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC Zest of youth enlivens Nantucket in summer. Crowding a night spot called 30 Acres, the college set dances to a rock band's ear-shattering rhythm. Bouncing along cobblestoned Main Street, a dune buggy (above) scoots past the brightly lit Sweet Shop, a confectionery complete with an old fashioned soda fountain. At the upper end of its business square, Main Street narrows to become one of the Nation's most distinguished summer addresses.