Where to go, what to see in Tangier Island, Va.
Posted on 01 September 2010
Written by Stephen Blakely
Parks Marina is close to the western entrance of the main channel. It's the only marina on the island. It has 25 slips (at least 10 feet at mean low water) and showers, but no pumpout. Docking fees are $25 per night for boats to 30 feet and $30 for bigger boats - cash only. Electricity and water are an extra $5 per night. More information is available at www.tangierisland-va.com/marina.
Ferry service is dependent on weather. Boats are canceled in heavy weather until conditions improve, and it's a good idea to call and reconfirm that the boat is running. Schedules and rate information are available at www.tangierhistorymuseum.org. There are five ferries to Tangier Island, three of which are seasonal.
- Crisfield, Md.: There are two regularly scheduled year-round ferries from Crisfield, about 12 miles to the northeast. The Sharon Kay III, a 46-foot waterman-type workboat, makes the passage in about 45 minutes, leaving Tangier at 4 p.m. and Crisfield at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and an hour earlier on Saturday and Sunday.
The Courtney Thomas - often referred to as the Mail Boat - operates Monday through Saturday, departing Tangier at 8 a.m. and arriving in Crisfield at 8:45 a.m. She departs Crisfield at 12:30 p.m. and arrives back at Tangier for the night at 1:15 p.m.
In-season, the Stephen Thomas cruise boat makes one roundtrip per day, leaving Crisfield at 12:30 p.m. and departing Tangier at 4 p.m. The crossing takes about 90 minutes.
- Reedville, Va.: There is summer service from the Western Shore of Chesapeake Bay out of Reedville, about 20 miles away. The Chesapeake Breeze cruise boat leaves Reedville at 10 a.m. each day and departs Tangier at 2 p.m. The crossing takes about 90 minutes.
- Onancock, Va.: The Joyce Marie II, a 36-foot lobster boat, makes two round-trips from Tangier Tuesday through Sunday, departing Tangier at 7:30 a.m. and leaving Onancock at 10 a.m. The afternoon run departs Tangier at 3:30 p.m. and then departs Onancock at 5:30 p.m. The crossing takes 45 minutes to an hour.
Tangier Island is one of the best places on Chesapeake Bay for fresh, local seafood - soft-shell crabs in particular. Most of the crab shanties in Tangier's harbor have "shedding pens," where watermen keep the "busters" (hard-shell crabs that are in the process of shedding) until they have completely lost their shells and become the Bay's famous, delectable and valuable soft-shell crabs. Other specialties include crab cakes, clam or oyster fritters, and finfish such as flounder.
- Perhaps the best local seafood on the island is at Fisherman's Corner Restaurant, which is operated by the wives of local watermen. The watermen supply the kitchen with their daily catch of flounder and crabs. www.fishermanscornerrestaurant.com
- Lorraine's, across from Fisherman's Corner, is the only year-round eatery, serving crab cakes and other seafood, subs, pizza and more. It recently moved to a new and larger location. www.tangierisland-va.com/lor raines_tangierisland
- Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House serves family-style fare and can cater to large groups. www.chesapeakehousetangier.com/restaurant
- The Waterfront Restaurant, located at the ferry dock, is known for its soft-shell sandwich and crab cakes. It also serves the usual fried-food assortment and sandwiches. www.tangierisland-va.com/waterfront
- Spanky's is an ice cream parlor with 1950s décor; it's open Monday through Saturday in-season.
There are three B&Bs on Tangier, and all offer golf-cart pickup and delivery from the ferry dock or marina.
- Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House, on Main Ridge, has both the restaurant and a separate B&B across the road. Rates are $90 to $120 per night. www.chesapeakehousetangier.com/bb
- Shirley's Bay View Inn, on West Ridge, is one of the oldest houses on Tangier, with separate cottages also available. Rates are $120 to $195 per night. www.tangierisland.net/home
- Sunset Inn Bed and Breakfast, also on West Ridge, has an apartment and nine smaller cottages, plus a family cottage. Rates are $115 to $280 per night. www.tangierislandsunset.com/inn
- Mimosa Cottage can be rented on a weekly basis for up to eight people. Rates are $150 per night for up to five people and $25 per additional person. www.auntruthsplace.com
This article originally appeared in the September 2010 issue.
- The Tangier Island History Museum has free kayaks and canoes available at the end of its dock. Be sure to pick up the map of "water trails." Paddling options include the main marsh and creek route through town (Orange Trail), east to Port Isobel (Green), north to the Uppards (Pink), offshoots from the main trail to the southern marsh (Blue), and Cod Harbor (Yellow). www.tangierhistorymuseum.org
- Denny Crockett, owner of Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House, is a licensed captain who offers a variety of tours, such as crabbing, birding, sunset and eco-tours. Customized trips are available on request. www.chesapeakehousetangier.com/tours
- James Eskridge Jr. offers 30- to 45-minute trips to his crab shanty out in Mailboat Harbor. www.fishermanscornerrestaurant.com/baycrabs
- M&S Charters: Mark Haynie, the licensed captain of the Sharon Kay III, offers a variety of tours, such as crabbing, birding, sunset and eco-tours. Customized trips are available on request. www.tangierisland-va.com/tangiercharters