Monday, June 05, 2006

Tangier Island, Chesapeake Bay

If you’ve read William Warner’s book about the Chesapeake, "Beautiful Swimmers" (and if you haven’t, you should), you’ll remember Tangier Island. I think Tangier was also featured in Robert McNeil’s book and PBS show "The Story of English," because the island’s isolated inhabitants still speak something close to Elizabethan English.

Here’s a story from the Daily Press, in Hampton Road, Va., that beautifully describes the island now, 30-plus years after Warner’s book came out.

Although reporters are suckers for sentimentalizing life in isolated communities, it sounds as if not much has changed on Tangier. The only way to get there is by one of three small ferries (not as romantic as it sounds -- when I went to visit Tom Horton, who has written a couple of Chesapeake books, on a different island in the bay, he said of the ferry, “It’s like taking a 20-minute elevator ride twice a day”). People drive around the island in golf carts or on motor scooters but not cars. When someone moves off island, they said they’re going to “the land,” which is pronounced like “liond,”

And watermen still raise soft shelled crabs and, for part of the year, they catch eels for the New York market, which prompted the reporter to write, “Apparently, there are folks in New York who like eels at Christmastime.”


Anonymous Tangier property said...

I had a chance to read this book about the Chesapeake, "Beautiful Swimmers". It also reminded me Tangier, and I felt that I miss this beatiful city. The city of Tangiers is filled with busy Souks, labyrinthine streets, and overlooked by castles as well as luscious verdant hills.

4:50 AM  

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