NANTUCKET - Most people imagine a Nantucket sunset of fading gold on a boat-speckled harbor. But there are other island sunsets to be seen here from unspoiled vistas.
On Tuesday, the Trustees of Reservations offers its weekly sunset tour in the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge's 1,100 pristine acres on the island's northern tip. You cannot find a more smashing sunset on the island, said Stephen Nicolle, refuge property superintendent.
"The sunset tour is quite popular," Nicolle said of the two-hour expeditions held Tuesdays in July and August. "It's big with photographers, and it's a great place if you're interested in shorebirds. We usually see a lot of seals, too."
Coskata-Coatue (pronounced "co-skate-uh co-too," the two names are Wampanoag for "at the broad woods" and "at the pine forest") has a pair of brand-new 12-passenger all-terrain vans to negotiate the 5 1/2 miles to the best place to see a sunset: atop the Great Point Lighthouse. There has been a lighthouse here since 1818, the latest one built in 1986, two years after a storm reduced the old one to rubble.
Other tours are held on the refuge, including natural history tours twice a day and a new fishing discovery tour, but the sunset trip provides spectacular views: All of Nantucket is visible as is Martha's Vineyard, Tuckernuck and Muskeget islands, and Cape Cod.
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, Wauwinet Road, Nantucket, 508-228-5646, thetrustees.org/pages/293_coska ta_coatue_wildlife_refuge.cfm. The sun sets the schedule. Nonmembers of Trustees of Reservations $40, members $30.
PAUL E. KANDARIAN