Getaways, The Features

Getaways: Tangier Island

Photo courtesy of
‘tangier local riding in his little boat to his crab shack.’
courtesy of ‘mrtobo’

Nestled 12 miles west of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, lies Tangier. The island of Tangier was officially settled in 1686 by John Crockett, whose descendants still reside on this 0.2 square mile cluster of small islands and marshes.  Despite its size, Tangier is a fascinating and wonderful summer trip for those looking to getaway.

Getting to Tangier requires visitors to board a ferry from various points on both the Maryland and Virginia Eastern shores.  However, don’t expect to take your car, as the only methods of transportation allowed on Tangier are bicycles and golf carts.  Don’t worry the island is flat and totally walkable. Tangier also has a small municipal airport, but the vast majority of flights in are personal aircraft.

Once there, you’ll be transported back in time, and I’m serious.  For starters the locals, and there are only 605 of them, speak in a unique Elizabethan dialect of American English.  Some linguists hypothesize that this dialect or “accent” has not changed since the occupation of English colonists.  It’s like having Thomas Cromwell or Shakespeare talking to you.

I recommend your first stop off the ferry be the Tangier History Museum.  There you can learn about the island’s settlement, crabbing and oystering history, it’s role in the War of 1812, and much, much more.

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