Peter Beaton Hat Studio | A Nantucket Tradition

On most early mornings on Nantucket, you’ll find me wandering the quiet cobblestones of town, window shopping in the hours before the streets start teeming with tourists and daily traffic.

One of my favorite places to walk by has always been the Peter Beaton Hat Studio on Federal Street. The whimsical sign just outside the store invites you down a corridor that opens to the most charming secret garden where the studio that also doubles as a private home is hidden. It is a hidden gem unto itself. But what’s inside is even more magical.

Flashback to 1988, when studio owner Darcy Creech was trying to find the right hat to wear to a party. She searched and found a large brimmed panama hat, decorated it with flowers and was the belle of the ball.  Inspired by how well it was received, the newly divorced Darcy quickly started brainstorming for a way to work from her home so she could take care of her one-year old son Peter Beaton Creech. She sold her engagement ring and bought hat making supplies. She then made a prototype hat to test the market during Daffodil Weekend on Nantucket.

That weekend she wore it all around the town, with storekeepers and pedestrians taking exceptional notice, with one woman following her in and out of shops until finally stopping her and asking, “Where did you get that hat!?” The woman order one on the spot and a tradition was born.

When I had the chance to meet Darcy at last year’s Nantucket Stroll, she was kind enough to take me on a quick tour of the house through a small door of the studio where all the beautiful ribbons and hats sit just waiting to be added to someone’s keepsake collection. She told me that it was time for her to pass the hat on it’s namesake, and that Peter and his wife would be taking over the business and expanding it online and throughout the country. I just read the news that she is set to move west and the studio will go back to being a private home while the brand moves online as planned.  A Nantucket tradition has passed, but it’s moving on to an even bigger way for future generations to enjoy.

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