ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 3 - Summer

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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Page 45 of 131

VIEW FROM THE TOP Wendy Schmidt directs construction at the Dreamland Theater. "I'm sure there's a part of the Nantucket community that doesn't want things to change, ever. But I would argue that I'm not changing it. I'm enhancing what's already here." —WENDY SCHMIDT 44 INSIDE STORY Wendy Schmidt shares her inspirations and inclinations. Why New England: "My husband and I bought a house on Cape Cod in 1996. My mother had a house there. It reminded me of my childhood on the East Coast. To me the Cape is a celebration of summer." A day on Nantucket: "I get up, then go for a swim in either the pool or the ocean. I play tennis. Then I go to the office. In the afternoon, I go sailing, when the sun is not so high. In the evening, I get together with friends and make dinner." All together "You can be a hedge fund manager, a technologist from California, or a fisherman, but it doesn't matter because you're all on the beach on Nantucket in your sandals. It doesn't matter where you come from." Bakery. "She has helped bring a lot more people out. There are more things available to them, and it's a more enriching place to be. The winters are still tough, but this year was better than the last one." To those who view her as an interloper intent on changing Nantucket, Schmidt is unapologetic. "It's inevitable that there is a future, so the question becomes: Are we shaping it or are we reacting to it?" she says. "I'm sure there's a part of the Nantucket community that doesn't want things to change, ever. But I would argue that I'm not changing it. I'm enhancing what's already here. BC PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATHAN COE (SCHMIDT) continued from page 43 a drought-tolerant mix of native species including clover, violets, and wild strawberry to help it serve as a food resource to pollinators and birds. Describing one of her roles as a "benevolent landlord," Schmidt says her goal is to "see the fabric of Nantucket's historic downtown restored to a vital role in the modern lives of island residents," as well as to encourage the use of downtown's resources for all who visit the island. "Every one of our projects is about creating opportunities to bring people together," she says. "The Dreamland is not just a place to see a movie. There are two theaters and a multifunction event space. You can wander up the street and buy a book, or walk two blocks and get lunch." ReMain, which has a staff of four, is also focused on environmental sustainability and conservation. It helped fund a municipal energy office, for instance, and it has commissioned research on water quality and local transit issues. (She and her husband also founded the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California, that advances ocean exploration.) "Living my adult life in Silicon Valley—this is how I think," says Schmidt, who grew up in Short Hills, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Smith College. "We want to try things and experiment. Some ideas will work and some won't. Nantucket is a small enough community that we can experiment." In the past few years ReMain Nantucket has sponsored certified "clean regattas," sailing races that produce less waste and debris in the water and on the shore than typical racing events. Schmidt herself is an accomplished helmsman: She and her crew of 20 won the Maxi Class of the recent Les Voiles de St. Barth with her Swan 80 Sloop, called Selene. She also races Equus, her W-46 Spirit of Tradition sloop; it won the Opera House Cup Regatta on Nantucket in 2011, in a race of wooden boats. She was the first female skipper to do so in the race's 30-year history. Many locals have embraced her. Caitlin C. Waddington, director of the Nantucket Community School, says Schmidt and the ReMain team are "excited about change and energy and ideas. They're trying to build a neighborhood," she says. "As far as what she's doing TOP: Mitchell's Book in the downtown, it's been Corner is a Nantucket a big win," says Don Polvere institution. LEFT: ReMain has helped Jr., who, with his wife, Tiina, create year-round operates Petticoat Row opportunities. BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 042-044_BC_SP_VFT_SUM13.indd 44 6/10/13 12:41 PM

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