Widow’s Balcony, Moby Dick and the Whale, Islands’ Economy



What is Widow’s Balcony, the Relationship between the Tale of Moby Dick and the Whale Museum, the Economy of the Islands…

While visiting the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard islands which are resorts of Boston, I did GOYA of the environment, culture, and art, as is my custom. I took a day off. How I summed it up for you; I hope you don’t get bored. In fact, it is an example of the local economy in terms of how we should evaluate and revive the local beauties of our country. Undoubtedly, we are very successful in this regard. But it is always beneficial to enhance our experience.

*GOYA: It is a Turkish acrostic meaning “Don’t Just Sit, Get Moving.” It is the symbol of our motto to make periodic visits to learn and control the place where the work, the process and functions take place.

After a study tour at the Harvard Sabri Ulker Center in Boston, I stopped by Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard islands, the summer resorts of Boston, to attend the pladis Leadership Meeting. While I was there, I also did GOYA on the environment, culture and art, as is my custom. Of course, I took advantage of sailing on my way to and back from the islands. I experienced four seasons in one day in this corner of the North Atlantic, which is cool even in the summer. Our only precaution against the 60 mph wind was to lower all the sails and brace ourselves.

In the state of Massachusetts, where Boston is located, there are 34 islands on Cape Cod and the most famous of them are Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, which are used as summer resorts. These are not large islands. Nantucket is a relatively small island of 125 square kms, 22.6 km long and 5.5 km wide. Martha’s Vineyard is at most twice its size. By the way, I want to mention that the name Massachusetts comes from a Native American tribal chieftain, Massasoit, who lived between 1581 and 1661. “Massa (large) adchu (hill)-es-et” means “next to large hill ” in Algonquin, an American Indian language.

You can almost walk around the entire island of Nantucket. The name Nantucket comes from the language of the Wampanoag, who are known to have lived in the region since the 16th century, and it is said to mean “far-away land.” When you set foot on the island, typical American shingle-style country houses greet you.

The island is very well-maintained and quite green; it is not a place where you can construct as you wish and open a store on a whim. Chain stores are not allowed. The only exception is Ralph Lauren, who bought a building for $6.5 million and opened a store. Rumor is that this permission was granted because he had had a home on the island for a long time. (

In the center of the island, most shops are local brands and when you buy a house, you invest a percentage of the price of the home in a fund created by the island council, which is spent on greening and maintaining the island. Currently, the lowest-priced house on the island starts at $2.5 million.

A Nantucket classic architectural feature is the ‘roof walks’ on the roofs of the houses, one of which I have photographed below. There are two remarks on why widows’ walks were used at the time. First of these,  is that women used to go out on these balconies to watch for the return of their husbands’ ships in the 19th century. These balconies were named Widow’s Balcony for the mariners who did not return from the voyage in time. The second is that they were built to maintain the chimneys and put out chimney fires, which were a problem then. (

Whaling on the island started in the 17th century and continued until the 20th century. The island was once considered the whaling capital of the world. Everyone has read or been taught Moby Dick as a child. Here,  Herman Melville was inspired to write Moby Dick by the events that befell the Essex whaling ship off Nantucket.

Moby Dick is considered one of the immortal classics today, but when it was published in 1851 when the author was 32 years old, it was not well received at all. In fact, when his publisher, Harpers did not publish his next novel, he sank into financial trouble and started to work as a customs inspector in New York in 1866. Even his publisher in London refused to publish the work. It was rediscovered in 1920, precisely 29 years after Melville died in 1891, 61 years after Moby Dick was written, and only then was Melville declared a great writer. I don’t know how Nantucket would have been known today without Moby Dick and if the whale museum would have received this many visitors.

The island economy, which was based on whaling, collapsed with the great fire on July 13th, 1846. The American Civil War halted the whaling economy on the island. Confederate States of America troops burned the whaling ships. After these developments, the island fell behind and did not develop until the middle of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1950s, those who invested in the island made the island one of the favorite holiday destinations for high-income citizens of northeastern America. The most important attraction of the island is the Whale Museum. The museum has separate galleries and a restored candle factory from 1847.

One of the most striking items on display was the 14-meter-long whale skeleton. By the way, there are about 70 different whale kinds, although there are five main whale species.

More than 20 art galleries are located next to local souvenir shops in the center of Nantucket. Most of the pictures I saw in the gallery named Quidly & Company that came before me were in various sizes and prices and you could say that they were American style and could be used in summer houses. Meanwhile, it was remarkable that the gallery included carpets with Middle Eastern patterns as a sign of wealth. (

Forrest Rodts, Front row seats.

After Nantucket, it is necessary to see Martha’s Vineyard island. Only 26 nautical miles away. An important feature of this island is that one of the first deaf congregations in the USA lived here and used their own Martha’s Vineyard sign language. The name of the island is thought to have come from the name of the daughter or wife of the English explorer Bartoholemew Gosnord, who first discovered the island in 1602. Martha’s Vineyard is reminiscent of Nantucket in home style but less green and more touristic. Martha’s Vineyard has well-known local brands. Founded in 1998, Vineyard Vine luxury clothing brand is one of them.

One of the factors that made the island famous is the presence of summer houses of famous American artists and the touristic visits of many American Presidents and even some like Obama bought farm land from there. I guess that’s why there are more luxury restaurants in Martha’s Vineyard. There are more art galleries on this island and when you enter each one, you encounter a different world. The name of the gallery I visited this time was North Water Gallery. There was again a carpet on the floor, which one would almost call a Turkish carpet. American-style paintings were also offered for sale. (

Isn’t it interesting that Jim Holland’s painting “The view from here” in this gallery is similar to Forrest Rodts’ above painting? They’re anyway ordered according to kitsch taste or probably fashion.

Jim Holland, The view from here. 

Horseshoe Crab Ceramics

These crabs are interesting-looking creatures that fill all the beaches and have become the symbols of these places. These come in all sizes, so I bought one.

After a nice dinner, we left the island and returned to Boston and from there, on the same day, we returned back home to Turkey. As I previously mentioned, I am a workaholic; may God help me. I can’t stay in one place for more than two days without working and I’m not the one to lay out in the sun and be sluggish. I need movement, a walk, seeing, learning – simply put, GOYA. Otherwise, I feel useless. However, in the places I go for business, I do whatever needs to be done and make time for sightseeing.

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