This month some of Preservation Maryland’s board members joined me on an excursion to one of the rare jewels of the Chesapeake, Smith Island. Nestled in among briny marshes and accessible only by boat, this Chesapeake Bay waterman community has survived here for over 300 years. Existing without local government or police this island ‘nation’ is guided by two things: the Chesapeake blue crab business and the Methodist church. With roughly 275 inhabitants in three villages, the islanders here live a life that few in our country ever experience.
We traveled to Ewell from Crisfield, a twelve mile boat ride that takes about an hour. There we enjoyed a tour of the new visitors center, sampled some incredible island fare (great soft shells!) at Ruke’s and toured the surrounding town, Methodist church and tabernacle. So, if you’re seeking the true essence of the Chesapeake, Smith Island should be your first stop. While you’re there be sure to pause for just a moment and take in the truly beautiful quality of this special place and these unique Marylanders whose proud heritage is evident at every turn. Oh yes, and be sure to try a slice of their signature Smith Island cake!
For more information on Smith Island please visit: www.smithisland.org online or pick up a copy of Tom Horton’s incredible book, “An Island Out of Time.”
- Elizabeth Beckley