The Nantucket Historical Association’s Oldest House may be a seventeenth-century jewel of antiquity, but the sweet kitchen garden at the 1686 Jethro Coffin saltbox is the apple of my eye.
Kathrina Pearl, a Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) staff member and avid gardener, and the NHA grounds crew have adopted the backyard at the Oldest House, planting a long list of period pot plants, culinary and medicinal herbs, a small orchard of fruit trees, and some berries. “The idea for the garden came from the interpreters at the site,” says Pearl.
The Oldest House nestles into the landscape at the top of Sunset Hill. It was built as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and his new bride, Mary. According to the NHA, it is the “sole surviving structure from the island’s original seventeenth-century English settlement.”