Our next destination, Tangier Island, is truly a unique place. The island is losing acres due to erosion from its currently 80+ inhabitable acres every year. The island used to be quite large - over 800 acres! The accent on the island is unique, said to come from Old English when the island was more isolated. Now, a ferry comes filled with tourists every day, so lunchtime on the island is very busy for a couple of hours! Transportation is from golf carts, scooters, bikes, and about four vehicles total. I took lots of pictures, even though we were only there about 24 hours.
One of the island’s treasures is Milton Parks, owner and operator of Parks Marina. He’s 87 years old, and told me, as we were tying up, that he is too old for this. I told him it didn’t look like that to me! In conversation with Dan, a few days before we came, Milton asked Dan “Where are you from, son? You don’t sound like you come from these parts!” Dan, now age 71, doesn’t mind being called ‘son’! Milton rides up and down the dock on a motor scooter, and likes to tell the boaters how to bring in and tie up their boats.
A few days after we were there, we heard that his scooter fell over onto his foot, breaking a bone or two. Fortunately, there were some people there to help him. Worried about him, I couldn’t think of anyone else to call to check on him, so I called Loraine’s Restaurant. Everyone knows everyone on the island (only about 400 residents, all from four main families). So, Loraine was able to tell me that she had seen Milton wearing a ‘boot’ (I thought she said ‘boat’ – but she cleared that up!). He was back on the dock, on his scooter.
Besides tourism, the island depends on the crab fishermen. You can tell that from the many crab shacks located around the perimeter and on the cut through the island. Many of those are accessed only by boat – the shacks keep the crab fishermen comfortable in all seasons. There is a mail and supply boat that comes at least once a day, and they have their own Post Office. There is a health center on the island, staffed full time by some RNs (one is Milton’s daughter) and two doctors who are there a couple of days a week. Emergency services come in the form of a helicopter that lifts patients from the island to the ER dock at the hospital in Crisfield, Maryland.
There are five restaurants, and we hit four of the five. Loraine’s has the best crab soup we’ve had. There is one grocery store. We loved the sign on the grocery door that said “Legs and thighs didn’t come in today”!!
Dan and I both have Verizon phones and WIFI, which was pretty much useless on the island. Mr. Parks told me if I stand under a particular lamp post, you can likely make a call! He was right. That blessed angel let me use his land line when we had to make some calls about Max. There is satellite cable service, so some folks actually can access the internet!
One thing we were unprepared for is that all transactions on the island are in cash – there is one ATM and it’s out of order! We loved our time on the island, and will likely go there again.
Here are some pictures.
|boat coming in (crab shack in background)|
|pavilion decorated with crab trap tops|
|crab seats at the musesum|
|entrance to the island|
|crab shacks and pile of crab traps (yellow)|
|the land under this lovely grass is marshy, but used to be solid|
|egret comes to call|
|memorabilia at Spanky's, local soda shop and hangout|
|one of the restaurants - pretty good!|
|crab shack with a boat that might need "a little work"|
|grocery store - notice bike left on the street. Was still there next morning|
|helicopter coming to airlift health emergency off island|
|view of some homes on the north side of island, not really in the 'downtown area'|
|little girls, hamming it up for visitors|
|south cut out of the island - once this cut was dredged some years ago, erosion was worsened|
|Loraine's restaurant - GREAT crab soup|
|pretty Methodist church|
|one grave in someone's yard!|
|next to Park's Marina|
|Spanky's soda shop and hangout|
|and more sunset!|
|love the signs!|
|local kids getting around town|
|mail and supply boat|
|ferry from the mainland|
|main street through the island|
|misplaced Yankees fan?|
|our last picture of Max, on Tangier Island|