Friday, August 15, 2008

Tangier, Virginia

The kids and I have made random day trips and excursions our summer tradition. The past couple of years, there was Chincoteague (as in Misty of...), Smith Island (great crabcakes and 10-layer chocolate cake), and Corning Glass. Not places that you won't find on the map, but just random. Today was Tangier Island, Virginia.

Tangier Island is a little teeny island, about 3 square miles, in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. From Crisfield, its about 1 1/2 hour boat ride. When we arrived, B convinced me we should get a golf-cart tour of the island (good call!) - it was interesting and we were amazed by the differences between island life and our own.

About 600 people live there, many descendant from the same British families. I think this is less than the number of people in our small development. Many of the island natives that we spoke to or heard speak, had an English accent - some very strong to the point of "what did you say?", some very slight. Right there on the line of southern Maryland and Virginia, not the accent you'd expect. There's only about 15 cars on the island, for emergencies; everyone else travels by bike or golf cart - isn't it nice not to care about gas prices? There's 1 school for all 135 students, grades K-12. (Being PTA President for this school has got to be easy.) There's a sweet little ice cream spot, Swanky's, 1 post office, 2 churches, 1 grocery store, and a couple restaurants. 1 police (no jail), 1 health center (with a doctor 1/week), and a fire station. It was all very quaint, quiet... very different from home.

By the end of the tour and a walk to the ice cream parlor, the kids knew their way around. L was thrown off by the above-ground burials (like in New Orleans) due to the island being only 4 feet above see level. B was put off by all the stray cats. J was fascinated by the crabbing boats, wishing he'd brought his net too. N, we're just lucky we didn't lose her off the back of the golf cart.

Part of the point of these trips, at least for me, is the food. Out here in the middle of the water - the crabs have got to be good, right? I got the soft-shells from the Waterfront - pretty meaty, lightly fried and crispy - not too much coating. And served on white bread - when was the last time you got a sandwich on white bread? mmmmmm. Stopped in another place and got the crab balls or something - they were okay, a bit bready. Somehow I forget to get a crabcake from somewhere, as part of my quest to find the best crabcakes.

Started and ended with 4 kids, 1 mom - it was a good trip. Check off another Chesapeake Bay island.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I've been to Chincoteague ages ago. Maybe 20 years? Never been to Tangier. I'll have to add it to my list.