Tangier Island, VA

The Stephen Thomas ferry ride to Tangier from Crisfield, MD took 75 minutes.  When we arrived at Tangier Island we were met by Virginia who took us to the Chesapeake House where we booked a night’s stay at this B&B.  Lunch/dinner was served from 11:00 – 5:00PM with the last seating NO later than 5:00!   “No rush to check in, you can pay when you show up for your meal!”


After settling in, we set off on foot to explore the Island.   I was not certain what to expect but here are some of the impressions that were made.  This is truly a waterman’s island.  The men of the Island make their living on the Bay.  They do what their fathers and grandfathers and ancestors before them have done, and that is harvesting crabs, clams and fish from the Chesapeake Bay.  They work out of boats that are called Dead Rise.  They have shallow drafts, are long and sleek, with a helm house near the bow and good working space all the way to the stern.  The rest of the Islanders are involved in tourism for the visitors, running small shops, a health clinic, and a K-12 school.

Captain John Smith came to this Island and it is said that he is the one who gave it its name!!   The Island is 5 miles long and 1/2 mile wide.  Approximately 300 people live on the island full time.  And like many isolated islands along our coastal areas, is declining in population as the young people go off for higher education and jobs.


The language spoken is English, but it is heavily accented with a Cornish , from Cornwall, England, accent.  To my ears initially it had a touch of the Cockney accent, but it is softer and more melodic than that.   Thinking I might not be able to understand them, was pleasantly surprised that I did.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

The streets are very narrow, but are paved.   The homes are mostly Victorian in style, and many are very old, dating back to the 1800’s.  Many white picket fences enclose the yards.  There is NO alcohol sold or tolerated on the Island.  There is one policeman, transportation is by walking, golf carts, bikes, and motorbikes.  There are a few autos, but mostly the residents get around on golf carts.  7 seiners are graduating from the high school this year.  One girl, who is the Valedictorian, and 6 boys.

We explored quite a number of graveyards.  Many more graves than what the present day population is.  Also of note were several graves in the front yards of the homes.  In early times that was to prevent grave robbers from digging up the graves as well as allowing the dead to be “close” to their loved ones still alive.

SMALL WORLD  —  For our late lunch yesterday at the Chesapeake House,  we sat with 4 guys who were on a sail boat.   GET THIS —-one guy is from Bluffton, SC, two from NJ some where, and the fourth guy is from Charleston, SC.   He is an emergency room doc and does some work at MUSC!!

AS luck would have it, we were there for FREE ICE CREAM night!   Every year for the past 5 years or so, the owner of this place gives away free ice cream to everyone who shows up on the night before he opens for the season.  There was also a drawing for gift certificates and t-shirts.  Lots of fun and the Salt Lick crew had not had any ice cream for a month.   What a treat!

lining up for ice cream


We spent today visiting the local museum and talking with more of the locals.  Lunch before boarding the ferry back to Crisfield was at Fisherman’s Cove.  Great crab bisque!!!

EDITING NOTE   It is very late and I am having difficulty loading the photos to go along with this blog…..will post this verbiage with pictures to follow tomorrow or when ever I get it done.   Good night all…….:)



2 thoughts on “Tangier Island, VA

  1. This sounds like an experience! Love hearing about it as you move through your journey and now I want to visit Tangier Island!


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