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Nantucket Daffodil Festival | One Million Daffodils

Accepting donations at the front table was Julie Hensler, a Boston architect who regularly competes in the event. This year, however, was the first in some years that she hadn’t entered
a flower.

“I had 100 flowers in last year’s show, and this year just decided not to enter anything,” she said. “That meant I could love all my flowers, instead of spending hours picking through them, looking for blemishes or little slights that make them less than perfect.”

But while relieved to be handling “door management,” Hensler still cherished the show. “The first year I saw it, I just fell in love with it,” she said. “The judge paraded around with a bell, very proper and distinguished. He’d call out, ‘Ladies, ladies, three minutes. Three minutes.’ And there was this mad dash by the women to put their flowers in their test tubes. I couldn’t stay away from it. It was just so old-fashioned.”

After getting our fill of blue-ribbon winners, my family and I parked our car back in town, and just started walking. Main Street’s atmosphere was in stark contrast to the scene just 24 hours before. A scattering of people were out window-shopping, including two relieved women who were happy to have the island back to themselves, even if it was only for a few more weeks.

“I like this,” one of them said.

“I know,” her friend offered. “It’s so quiet after yesterday.”

Inside the stores, it was much the same. We meandered down to the harbor and explored the artwork at Pete’s Fresh Fish Prints, then ducked into Brown Basket Gallery, Island Weaves, and Eye of the Needle. Back up on Main Street, we took advantage of the leather chairs upstairs at Mitchell’s Book Corner, a downtown institution for 46 years; then grabbed an ice cream at the lunch counter of the Nantucket Pharmacy, just across the street.

That evening we headed west, into Madaket, to catch the day’s final, colorful act. At the end of a bumpy dirt road we parked our car in a small lot and watched the evening flicker away. We were the only ones in sight. Our own relief at having survived another winter had settled in, and, like the rest of the island, we would soon be gearing up for summer. But for now we seemingly had this beautiful little island to ourselves.

This year’s Daffodil Festival is set for April 25–27. Details at:

View a slide show of the Nantucket Daffodil Festival!

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Ian Aldrich


Ian Aldrich


Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.
Updated Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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