For Nell Diamond, Nantucket is home—or the closest thing to it. The Hill House Home founder had a peripatetic childhood, moving around between London and other parts of the world. But Nantucket, where her paternal grandparents had a permanent home, was a place the family would return to year after year. “It was all I knew of America,” Diamond says. “It's how I've spent every summer since I was born, so it's a very special place to me.” This deep-seated connection made it a natural choice as the location for her home goods and clothing brand's current pop-up, which opened on June 3 in a cozy corner spot on the island's Main Street, and will run through the summer. It's the realization of a longtime dream for Diamond, who has spent years seeking out such an opportunity here—a tricky task, thanks to the island's small size and limited retail space.
Like the Hill House brand itself, the shop's design draws on the island's charms. “The roots of Hill House are a combination of this Nantucket, East Coast, New England aesthetic and the very classic British interiors that I grew up with,” says Diamond. “So it felt natural to bring those two things together.” The brand worked with interior designer Madeline Hemingway to bring the space to life, mixing traditionally Nantucket elements—wicker, gingham, shades of blue and red—with Hill House designs, including a blue-and-white version of the trellis print in Diamond's office. And of course, there's ample space to try on the clothes. “We've built this business primarily online, so the whole point of a store is to think, what can you get in store that you can't get online?” says Diamond. “It's that actual experience of putting something on and thinking, oh my gosh, this fits so well—which is really what we pride ourselves on.”
On the heels of the opening, we spoke to the Hill House Home founder about her favorite things to do on the island, including where to grab the tastiest breakfast, the beach she retreats to for a quiet reading day, and where to shop—beyond Hill House Home, of course.
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“Nantucket is known for Portuguese bread, this sourdough-y type bread. There's nothing I love more in this world than bread—and I crave the bread from this place called Something Natural. It's stocked in all the grocery stores, and they have an actual sandwich shop on the island called Something Natural. I have dreams about this bread. I could eat the whole loaf. I usually bring back a few and put them in my freezer, and it only lasts me a week. They also prepare these custom sandwiches at Something Natural; I always get turkey with cheese and a ton of veggies. There's another sandwich shop on island called Provisions, and they have something called the Turkey Terrific. It's a Thanksgiving sandwich, so it has literal stuffing on it. It's the best thing ever—just a dream.”
Her ideal weekend morning
“Usually on the weekends, we'll take a family walk, which is really nice. We'll walk into town and go to either The Counter on Main Street, at Nantucket Pharmacy. It's at a little counter where you sit on these old-fashioned stools, and you can order whatever you want—coffee, delicious food. Then we'll walk down to the boats, because it's right by the wharf. My kids love watching the boats come in.”
Another great breakfast option
“If I'm sitting down for breakfast, I love Island Kitchen. It's like the ultimate breakfast place. They'll make you huevos rancheros, eggs Benedict—they'll make you anything you want. They also have an ice cream store attached to it, in case you want breakfast dessert, which is a very important form of dessert that should not be overlooked.”
The best date-night spot
“My favorite restaurant in the world is called Galley Beach, and it's right on the beach, close to town, and it has the most epic sunsets. Every Saturday night, that's where we go. You always see somebody get engaged. It's kind of like dinner and a show. But I also love the food there. They have the most epic crab cake—that's what I usually get. There are other places I love, like Lola 41, which has really good sushi, and a relatively new restaurant called The Nautilus right in town that has Asian fusion food that's really good, too. That one is very hard to get a table at—you have to line up for it. But on a date night, when my parents are babysitting our kids, my husband and I will come in and wait for two seats at the bar. That's how we do Nautilus—always just the two of us.”
Where she heads for a drink—and what she's ordering
“For a late-night experience, you can go to The Chicken Box. It's a real mix of ages. It's very college, but they have great live music, with really good bands, and it's really fun. I'm not a very big drinker. I'm the worst kind of person—I just like it to look really pretty. A glass of Champagne, I think, is the most beautiful drink, so that's what I usually go for.”
The island's best beaches
“Steps Beach is so picturesque. It's probably one of the most photographed beaches on Nantucket, because it has these beautiful steps that it's named after. That's my favorite beach to go to for a quiet book-reading day. There's one called Ladies Beach where I take my kids. There's also a place called Sanford Farm that's basically a bluff walk to the beach. So if I want to have social time with a friend during the day, we'll go take a hot girl walk on Sanford Farm.”