NANTUCKET - The Seven Sea Street Inn looks like another old house on this island, with weathered cedar shingles and a widow's walk that looks harborward from the roof. Inside, the red oak post-and-beam design feels like a smart renovation of a fusty old building.
So it's a surprise to learn that owners Matthew and Mary Parker built the inn in 1987. It has touches of luxury - soft white robes in the closet, flat-screen televisions on the walls, iPod clock radios, DVD players, high-thread-count sheets - but is neither sleek nor modern.
On an island where just getting there can cost as much as a night's stay in another vacation spot, the Seven Sea Street Inn, though far from budget lodging, can make a trip to the island reasonably priced. Our two-room suite, which sprawls across the third floor, came equipped with a kitchen and a large wooden dining room table, a boon given the dearth of inexpensive restaurants on Nantucket.
Some of the rooms have sleeping lofts for extra guests or children. During the slower seasons, the inn also offers packages that include transportation to the island by ferry or plane and a dining voucher for a local restaurant.
The inn made our trip easy: The location was ideal, a quiet street a short walk from the ferry docks and the restaurant-laden cobblestone streets of downtown. Our room was large and private, with sturdy hardwood furniture and a view over the budding treetops of springtime on the island. The breakfast was an impressive array of healthy, homemade treats: cranberry granola, waffles, yogurt. The owners paid attention to detail when they designed the inn; even the showers, with their rainshower delivery, spoiled us.
We loved climbing up a wooden ladder to the widow's walk for a view of the island and the harbor. There are a few chairs up there and it would make a perfect perch for lunch or a cup of coffee.
We stayed in the inn's main house; the Parkers also own two buildings nearby, the Swan House and the Guest House. The Swan House has some rooms with sleeping lofts above the main bedroom, and twin beds for an extra guest or children over age 7.
Seven Sea Street Inn allows children over age 5 in certain rooms during high season, but lets parents know they are expected to be well-behaved children.
The Parkers like to say that their inn is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive on Nantucket, but a good value. We thought that was typical tourism marketing until we saw our two-room suite. The bedroom, with a wooden spindle bed, was cozy, but the outer room was large enough to hold a family-size dinner table, a desk tucked into a corner, a futon facing a television, a Vermont Castings wood stove and the kitchenette - larger than many city kitchens - with a full-size refrigerator.
The common rooms also called to us, although we spent little time in any of them since beautiful weather enticed us outside. Outside our room on the third floor was a game room for kids and a guest computer. Downstairs, the inn has a Jacuzzi that guests can reserve. And the inn's library, laid out in the beautiful red oak that's everywhere in the house, would make a perfect retreat on a rainy day.
Slip inside and you'll likely be greeted by the inn's cat, Puddy, who often spends his days sprawled on a chair.
Kathleen Burge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.