Travel

Nantucket charm is making room for high-tech makeovers

The owners of the Barnacle Inn, which dates to the 1920s, have resisted the trend toward modern upgrades.
The owners of the Barnacle Inn, which dates to the 1920s, have resisted the trend toward modern upgrades.Credit: Photos by Rob Benchley for the Boston Globe

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A burst of real estate investment is infusing modernity into the lodgings of a place that has always cloaked itself in the unchanging ambience of the past. The island’s old inns — while still covered in omnipresent cedar shingles — are getting marble baths, zillion thread-count sheets, and spa services that cater to a clientele that doesn’t necessarily go for the salty sea captain thing.

Nearly a dozen inns have been constructed or renovated in recent years, including the Chapman House, Centerboard Inn, and Gate House Inn. With the upgrades come higher rooms prices and wealthier clientele, but in a place where vacationing is already expensive, the chief concern among locals is more about striking the right aesthetic balance between history and 21st-century comforts.

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