Off To Tangier Island

We had to drive about an hour and a half to get to the ferry that would take us to Tangier Island. To ge to the dock, we had to cross a twenty-three mile bridge toll road that was connected by two tunnels and a high- rise bridge. We left very early (6:15 am) . We stopped for breakfast and coffee on our way. We were told to stop at Corner Bakery on Main Street in Onancock. Boy, are we glad we did.  We had these cinnamon pecan sweet rolls with honey glaze that were absolutely to die for!  And of course, we needed more coffee. We noticed a really pretty and historical looking Methodist church and stopped and grabbed the last brochure in the box. The church we were in awe of is the Historic Cokesbury Church. It happens to be listed on the Register of Historic Places and the The Virginia Landmarks Register. It turns out that we also have local ties to the clergy of it. Then while we were eating, we struck up a conversation with the lady at the next table. She was the Methodist pastor at Onancock and was not only friends with the pastor at Tangier Island but knew some of the same people we knew. Not sure if God was telling us something with that connection or not, but we enjoyed talking with her while we were wasting time for the boat to arrive. We had allowed much more travel time than needed, but we really weren’t sure how the traffic was going to be.

This is the small passenger ferry that took us to Tangier Island. Tangier is a small quaint fishing island in the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia. The islanders speak what many refer to as Elizabethan English, but it is really an English Restoration era dialect of American English. Some people claim it is more Cornish or Celtic. Their ancestors came from Scotland. At any rate, whatever it is called is interesting and charming.

This is the dock/marina where we boarded the ferry in Onancock, Virginia. They have much larger ferries that go to the island from larger cities. Those are the ones that also bring bus tours. There were around twenty- two people,including about three or four children, on this ferry trip.

This is our ferry Captain, Mark. He was kind, gentle natured, and considerate. He kept checking back to make sure everyone was fine and not getting too much sea spray. I was sitting at the rear enjoying a bit of the spray as it was extremely hot. I had failed to remember to spray down with my thirty sun protection prior to packing it, so I got a little pink. And I have to tell you I learned quickly that extreme heat, salty air, and curly hair equal one big frizzy mess. There was no point in  blow drying, straight ironing, or applying any frizz cream. I looked like a wild woman! Anyway, as the water was getting a bit rougher, Mark urged us to move in a bit so that we wouldn’t get soaked by the splashes.

See this chair that is toppled on the deck? That was the chair that I was sitting in until I moved. If you look closely, you will see that the handles are broken in half on both sides. No, it did not break with me in it. However, someone was in it. There was a really nice family of fourteen people. The Grandpa, who I must say didn’t look much older than Dirt Man and I, moved to the back of the boat and appeared to be enjoyed the salty breeze and spray hitting at him. I heard a crash, and turned to see this brute muscle man enveloped in a heap of the plastic chair. He jumped up and brushed himself off and got a good laugh over it. Everyone asked if he was ok, and he assured everyone he was fine. Brute Muscle Man came and sat beside me, and I looked down to see that his arm was gushing blood. He had a huge gash on his arm. But being the brute muscle man he was, he swore he was fine. Now, if I’d cut myself like that I’d have been whining in pain and also in embarrassment because that’s just how I roll.

This is Brute Muscle Man with his pretty wife, Kathy. And yes, he does have a name. It is Jerry. I just prefer to call him Brute Muscle Man because I tell you he was large and in charge. And by large, I mean muscles. Seriously, he looked like he could really kick some butt! He had a state police tatoo on his arm, and I’ll bet people he has arrested were too afraid to resist arrest! Check out the long cut on his left arm. Jerry was actually such a good sport he posed for a picture holding up the chair…and dang it, my camera batteries had died. So, promptly as we got off the boat I replaced them and he posed for a picture for me anyway.

After Dirt Man and I checked into our room, we went  to rent bikes to tour the island. Yes, we are crazy to want to ride bike in 100 degree heat, but it was much cooler that walking. I already told you that it was pointless to do my hair, same thing with make up. It had melted off in a matter of minutes! It was soooooo hot that we really just wanted to immediately jump into a cold shower to cool off. However, all of the establishments do keep their wall air conditioning units cranked, so inside we did stay comfortable. Exploring the island was hot and sweaty, but well worth a bit of heat discomfort. It is an amazing little place. The history is interesting.The people are wonderful, and the food is out of this world. I’ll cover all of that in another post.

Dirt Man named this bike “Maypop”. The tread was showing all the way around the tire, so he figured it may pop or may not. The bike rentals transpire in Ruby’s backyard. She owns the business, and her hubby takes care of maintaining the bike. The chain was off of this bike, and they put it back on. As many things on the island, it was an honor system. Ruby’s husband wouldn’t take payment for the bike up front. There was a tip jar in the backyard, and he told us to just place the money in there when we returned the bikes. The bikes receive a fair amount of wear and tear due to tourists and the salty air. He told us that if the bikes didn’t hold up or suit us to just come back and switch them. I really wanted the purple one with a basket, but I didn’t say anything. He adjusted the seat on a pink one to fit me, so I graciously accepted it.

Dirt Man and I took off to explore the island. Maypop rode great until we went over a little bridge to explore the beach. Dirt Man sped up and as soon as he hit a bump and the tire landed on the ground, the chain fell off again. He was able to put it back on himself, but we went back and switched his bike. Guess which one he got. Dang it….he got my coveted purple bike with the basket! But all turned out because I found out that weighing the basket down with all our stuff made it a bit more difficult to maneuver, and let’s just say I had a hard enough time trying to avoid being run over by golf carts. Did I mention that this island doesn’t have cars? Actually, it did have about a total of maybe five trucks and a couple of cars. There are also a couple of motorcycles and a fourwheeler. Everyone owns a golf cart, and they know how to zip them in and out. The speed limit is supposed to be fifteen miles and hour. We noticed that some of the teens were actually texting while driving their motorcycles! There was a girl driving and a boy on the back texting. Dirt Man replied it was going to become a problem if she decided to text him back!

 Did I mention that is was a dry island? Not dry as in no water because obviously it is surrounded by water, but dry as in no alcohol. The  website states that even though it is dry and you can’t buy alcohol on the island you are welcome to bring your own as long as you are discreet.

I’ll tell you about our kayak trip in another post, and I’ll post more about the island and the people in one as well. Sorry this one got a bit long.

25 thoughts on “Off To Tangier Island

  1. What an interesting post – I know nothing about islands such as these but it sounds just wonderful, to get totally far away from the madding crowd to a little place with so much history. Can’t wait to learn more.

  2. I’m lovin’ that first photo of the twenty-three mile bridge, Suzie! Love that early morning misty sky. Beautiful!

    “And I have to tell you I learned quickly that extreme heat, salty air, and curly hair equal one big frizzy mess. ”

    HA….I so know what you mean, because while in Florida for all those years, my own curlish, coarse hair was always fizzy!

    What a GREAT day you guys had. Looks like a gorgeous island.

    Thanks so much for sharing, dear lady! Can’t wait to read more!


  3. Sounds like great fun! We took the ferry from Stonington, Maine, to Isle Au Haut a few years ago when we went back east. It was a fun ride, but we only had about half an hour on the island. We were supposed to check out of our motel that day, so we needed to get back. Then we decided to stay another night. Darn! We could’ve stayed on the island and toured it a bit.

  4. Oooooh. I just want to hug you. Thank you so much for taking pictures and posting about your trip. I am loving all of this. I am vacationing vicariously through you.

  5. Ferries are such fun! Though their sailings are so much more infrequent than we tend to be used to with public transportation schedules that it can get a little nerve-wracking when you have to be at the dock by a certain time or risk having to wait another four hours for a lift.

    The trip sounds like it was so much fun 🙂

  6. Wow you really do live my dream life! Adventure after adventure and they are all fantastic!
    Thanks for sharing my..oops I mean “your” vacation with me.

  7. The island looks so beautiful, I’d love to visit there one day! And sounds like you guys had so much fun…
    Would you look at the muscle man, he looks so happy 🙂

  8. Aren’t you brave to go off exploring in this heat on a bike! Looking at your photos, I wish we had done the same. I love the green marsh areas…so lovely and not unlike the ones all along the North and South Carolina coasts. An island without cars–LOVE the thought of that!

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