Although Polpis Harbor is part of Nantucket Harbor, with its own narrow channel leading into it and two distinct coves or, lobes, this former kettle hole definitely feels like its own small harbor with a mooring field in its east lobe and a few boats in its west cove. Native Americans living around it spelled Polpis “Podpis”, which in their tongue meant “divided or branched harbor.”
The Polpis area was first called “Spotso Country” for an Indian chief named Spotso who lived nearby for about 40 years. In the 1600s, farms sprouted all around the harbor, along with fulling mills to clean and prepare wool. Some industrious islanders built sea salt evaporator operations and also excavated peat from the saltmarsh to burn in stoves for heat.
Festooned with salt marshes populated with nesting and fishing shorebirds, Polpis Harbor also has beautiful meadows overlooking the east cove with trails looping around this property and through the remains of a holly tree farm’s former inventory. Part two of this hike on the way back to town is a closer look at Nantucket Harbor from an inner harbor coastal bank overlooking the water with Coatue to the north, town to west and Pocomo Point to the east.
This hike costs $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Check the Hike Calendar to see when we are hiking the Polpis Harbor/Quaise trail and to book it. To arrange for a private hike on this route, call or email us for our rates and to discuss your hiking needs.
Biking to this hike?
Get $5 OFF the cost of the hike when you meet us there by bike or bus (use promo code TRAILHEAD at checkout)! This hike is in two parts and begins at the Land Bank’s Quaise property at the harbor end of Quaise Road From the Milestone Rotary it’s 3.7 miles to this first stop. Once you’re on Quaise Road, bike down to its end and then right across the road you’ll see the parking area where the Nantucket Walkabout van will meet you.
Taking the bus to this hike?
Taking NRTA/The WAVE to this hike. Take the ‘Sconset via Polpis Road route and get off at the Quaise Road/Altar Rock Road stop. Cross Polpis Road onto Quaise Road and wait for our van to pick you up. Remember that this bus route operates June 27-Sept. 5, 2016, so plan accordingly.
Logging your steps.
If you’re counting your steps with a fitness/activity tracker, this hike offers around 4,100 steps.