Interview: 20 Questions with Alison Barone, Mother, Author, and Ballerina!
1. Tell us about your family?
My husband Jon and I have been married 4 years. We met on Nantucket, where he is from. He is a high school teacher and I teach ballet, barre and Pilates. Our sweet baby Chase is 19 months old!
2. What brought you to live on Nantucket?
I grew up in CA but was living in NYC teaching and dancing when some close friends invited me to Nantucket for the summer. I fell in love with Nantucket and never left!
3. Favorite part of living on an island?
I love how easy it is to get to a beach at all times. I also love the close knit year-round community on Nantucket.
4. You wrote a book, Nantucket Nelly, what inspired you to create it?
I was inspired by my love for Nantucket and my precious Cavalier King Charles, Beau, who I unexpectedly lost a few months ago. I’ve always loved rhyming and children’s books with spunky protagonists (like Eloise at the Plaza) so I wanted to create my own!
5. What has been the most rewarding part of writing your book?
Working with my talented illustrator Annabelle, has been so rewarding. Watching her bring my vision to life has been a dream come true. Getting to see parents and kids smile & laugh while reading Nantucket Nelly brings me so much joy. I especially love that Beau is living on forever through these books, it’s so bittersweet.
6. When you aren't enjoying Nantucket, or writing books, what are you up to?
I was a professional ballerina so I obviously love to dance! I just Co-chaired the new Nantucket Dance Festival on Nantucket. It was an incredible fundraiser for Nantucket Dance Theater and will open up many opportunities for local youth and dance on island. But the majority of my time is spent chasing my wild toddler around!
8. Where do you get inspiration for your son's style?
I mostly dress him in blues, greens and neutrals...beachy tones. He’s definitely a mix of a California surfer boy and a preppy New Englander! I like to have fun with prints for Pajamas, we love Joystreet Kids.
9. What would you dress your son in for a day at the beach on Nantucket?
I love a Piping Prints set..they have the cutest lightweight clothes with matching bucket hats to protect from the sun.
10. What is something you always have in your beach bag?
Sunblock and trucks! We are in the truck obsessed phase at the moment.
11. How would you style your son’s outfit for a special event?
I love dressing him like a preppy old man. White linen shorts, a button up & a blazer. Janie & Jack has some great options for coastal grandpa style baby wear.
12. Nantucket can often be gray, how do you plan your son’s outfits around the weather!?
It’s not easy in the winter! We got A LOT of use out of our snow suit this winter. It also came in handy for extra padding when he was learning to walk.
13. How would you describe your style?
Simple. I like to invest in good basics. I mostly wear leggings, t-shirts & baseball hats. I’m more into jewelry than clothes. I do love buying a new dress if I have an event to go to, that is where I’ll be a little more daring/trendy.
14. Go-to mom summer look?
If I’m not in leggings & t-shirt I’m in a beach cover up with a bathing suit underneath. I like to be comfortable!
15. Your favorite Instagram account?
My husband and I love all of the funny parenting accounts out there. It’s so nice to see other parents going through the same things as you, and making light of them.
16. Most kid-friendly restaurant to grab a bite on Nantucket?
Sandbar at Jetties is an obvious one as it’s outdoors on the sand. But surprisingly enough, Brant Point Grill at The White Elephant is one of my favorites. The staff is so friendly and wonderful with children.
17. Top thing you would recommend for a first time visitor to the island?
Definitely walk around town, shop and visit Brant Point lighthouse. Take a quick visit to The Whaling Museum and/or Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum. Then do the bluff walk to Sankaty lighthouse in Sconset followed by a sunset picnic at Steps Beach. And of course end the day with a Juice Bar waffle cone! A perfect day!
18. What is your favorite season on the island and when would you recommend people visit?
I always recommend September. The weather is still nice, the stores/restaurants are still open, but it’s a little less crowded than the summer. It’s also so magical to come for Christmas Stroll!
19. Where would you recommend people stay on Nantucket?
I love The Wauwinet. Toppers is one of my favorite restaurants and it’s so beautiful and peaceful out in Wauwinet. Plus you can take their boat or shuttle to town!
20. Where can we follow you to get more parenting tips, keep up with your writing, and see you in Nantucket?
You can follow me @alisonatalya & @nantucketnellybooks or check out my website nantucketnellybooks.com …stay tuned for the next Nantucket Nelly adventure!
Christine Russell Janis writes about life as a mom of four children, living abroad, and travel on her life & style website ashadeofrose.com. You can also follow on social media @a.shade.of.rose.in.paris.