Gibbs Pond

The second largest kettle pond on the island and considered to be one of the deepest Nantucket ponds overall, Gibbs Pond is, believe it or not, an escapist’s favorite island swimming hole. While the rest of crowds are strewn around Nantucket’s sandy shores, a moderate number of hikers visit this pond for a summer freshwater dip hard to come by 26 miles out to sea.

Surrounded on all sides by open space owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation including the Milestone Road cranberry bogs, Gibbs Pond or, John Gibbs Pond, its formal name, and the Milestone Road cranberry bogs is the northwestern end of a waterway known as Phillip’s Run with Tom Nevers Pond at the southeast end of it. As with the rest of Nantucket, there’s good story to the full name of the pond.

This pond is named for John Gibbs, a Harvard-educated Native American pastor of the Wampanoag people who, having spoken the name of Nantucket Indian chief Metacomet’s dead father, Massasoit, a Native American blasphemy, hid in the swamp next to Gibbs Pond after uttering the name. White settlers on the island had to pay Metacomet 11 pounds for Gibbs. Metacomet, also known as Phillip who lived on the stream running between Gibbs Pond and Tom Nevers Pond, is believed to have run with his tribesmen along this waterway to their canoes after the English paid the ransom for John Gibbs. Hence the name, Phillip’s run.

The pond itself is used by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation to flood the cranberry bogs in the fall to float the berries off of their vines so they can be harvested. A true freshwater pond with no saltwater incursions, Gibbs Pond is a well-known inland fishing spot for yellow perch, white perch, small-mouth bass and hybrid of chain pickerel and pike.

However, some freshwater fishermen are wary of eating fish from Gibbs Pond because of chemicals and heavy metal residue from fertilizers and pesticides once used much more heavily on the bogs than they are now.