In recent months the social media feeds of Kailey Davis, a 29-year-old who describes herself as a “Millennial Martha Stewart,” have been filled with images of influencers in floppy hats, flouncy white dresses and white-and-blue coastal cottages. Naturally, she had to make a pilgrimage to Nantucket, Massachusetts, this summer.
It’s “the hub of what the coastal grandmother aesthetic embodies,” the Bethesda, Maryland, resident gushed.
Forget Ibiza. Thanks to the “coastal granny” trend, the summer vacation du jour for a certain sect of influencers and their followers is Nantucket and other beachy locales that are decidedly more Nancy Meyers than thumping nightlife.
Lex Nicoleta, 26, first coined the term “coastal grandma” in a TikTok video posted in March that went viral. “If you love Nancy Meyers movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, cozy interiors, and more, there’s a good chance you might be a coastal grandmother. And no — you don’t have to be a grandmother to be a coastal grandmother,” the young blond explained showing a slideshow of pictures, including Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give.”
The tag #coastalgrandmother now has more than 188 million views on TikTok, and those in the New England tourist industry are capitalizing on the aesthetic’s unexpected popularity with the younger set.
“I’ve been hearing this term all the time and I’m like, ‘Wait, don’t we already do that?’ ” Joanne Logie, the founder of New England Vacation Rentals, told The Post.
She’s noticed the coastal grandmother aesthetic taking off during the pandemic and began updating her rental homes with “things that are trending as grandma” such as cozy furniture like oversized couches, creative workspaces, colorful bookshelves and herbal gardens to lean into the trend.
“It’s about those soft touches,” she said.
Her company has also exploited the trend by promoting their homes on Instagram Reels to show off “the look” to their new millennial target audience, using key terms like “light bright and airy,” and raising prices. Meanwhile, a rental home listed by Congdon & Coleman Real Estate boasts that “a lot of Nantucket fits the bill” for the ” ‘coastal grandmother’ aesthetic.”
Shantaw Bloise-Murphy, Nantucket’s director of culture and tourism, is proud that the coastal grandmother trend and social media have helped to bolster tourism to the small island off Cape Cod.
We have been “actively marketing Nantucket to visitors” and drawing in influencers with sponsored trips and offering perks, she told BuzzFeed News. “Nantucket is such a beautiful place … We’re lucky it photographs very well,” Bloise-Murphy added, noting an increase in “20-somethings and 30-somethings that are coming out for shorter trips to the island.”
Abigail Fox Designs, a Nantucket clothing and gift shop, has also enjoyed an increase in interest and has updated its summer collection with new pieces for customers of all ages. A crewneck cashmere with maps of Nantucket stitched onto the elbows has sold out twice.
“Casual elegance has long defined Nantucket and I think that is the heart of what makes coastal grandmother so appealing,” a shop representative told The Post.
But the influx of trend-conscious tourists has added fuel to a fire that has been burning on the island for years.
Leah Valentine Hull, 25, who was born and raised on Nantucket, told The Post she despises the “wash-a-shores” who only come “to pursue that specific aesthetic” and are “wiping the Nantucket identity away.”
She explained that her family has lived in what used to be a tight-knit community for nearly 10 generations but “are dying off” as the island “has turned rather monotoned and beige” and increased prices.
However, not all the Nantucket natives are pushing these coastal grandmothers and other short-term renters away.
Nick Johnson, 35, is a seventh-generation full-time resident and the owner of Nantucket Surf Club along with two short-term rental homes and several long-term rental homes on the island.
“We’re gonna shoot ourselves in the foot if we don’t have as many tourists enjoying Nantucket,” Johnson told The Post. He claimed that short-term rentals are more profitable than long-term rentals and the only way that many full-time residents can afford to remain on the island.
He also insists that the push to block short-term rentals is being peddled by multi-millionaires who own summer homes on the island and simply want a quiet island to themselves but do not care about the locals.
“If we get rid of the tourists we have nothing out here,” he said.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.