A group of marsh islands, the most of which are in Maryland but some of which are in Virginia, make up Smith Island, which is really approximately 12 miles off the mainland. The highest point on the main island, which is more than half salt marsh, is barely a few feet above the surface of the ocean. Even yet, there are a little under 300 residents of Smith Island who are adamant about preserving their way of life in the Chesapeake Bay via oystering and crabbing, as well as a little tourism on the side. From this article, we will be sharing a list of great things to do on Smith Island with you.
What is the Smith Island all about?
Ewell is where the harbor is situated. The boat skillfully navigates the strait, passing through desolate marsh islands. For years, several Smith Island families have called the island home. Since they speak Maryland-English among visitors, you won’t likely hear them speak their distinctive Cornish-based American language until you stay overnight. However, Smith Island is increasingly renowned for how the island and its distinctive way of life are being eroded by rising waters. By 2100, it is anticipated to be entirely under water. While keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the things to do on Smith Island.
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1. Ewell Village on Smith Island
The restaurants, gift stores, bakery, and museum are all located in Ewell. The settlement may be explored by foot. You get roughly two and a half hours to tour Smith Island if you’re on the day boat. Although Ewell is a walking community, you’ll need a vehicle if you want to have lunch, check out the local stores and cultural center, and then still want to explore the marshes or the adjacent hamlet, Rhodes Point. The two hours fly by.
Several island females are often seated on golf carts at the side of Bayside Inn, where the ferry lets you off. They are only there when the ships arrive and are waiting to give you a tour of the island. The tour is chargeable. Simply ask the women how much they charge. It’s a good idea to make arrangements for a later tour when you arrive if you want one; otherwise, they’ll go to perform other tasks at home.
2. Cart for golf on Smith Island
You may also choose to hire a bicycle or golf cart. For a slight additional fee, you may take a bike on the boat. Behind the Bayside Inn sits the Smith Island Cultural Center. You may learn more about island life there. If you have the opportunity, the museum offers a little movie with island locals that provides a great introduction. Every day from May through October, it is open. Adults pay $3, while children are always free. Free walking tour maps are available from them. Do not forget to request it.
The Methodist Church’s steeple may be seen behind the museum. It’s fascinating to see the cemetery close to the church. The islanders urge that you refrain from walking on the graves and ask that you refrain from caressing the headstones. The residential areas of Ewell may be found on either side of the Cultural Center. You are welcome to pass by them.
Many are the residences of active watermen. While the ship is moored, there won’t be many guys on the island during the day. They are either working in their huts or on the sea. You’ll see beachfront properties with holding tanks for live crabs that are awaiting sale.
3. Smith Island’s Rhodes Point
Smith Island Road, a narrower-than-one-lane road that crosses a sizable swamp to reach the other side of the main island, is the only way to get to Rhodes Point. Beautiful and spacious, the road across the marsh is punctuated in the distance by the tops of houses. As soon as the land is high enough, construction on Rhodes Point residences begins. Up to the island’s tip, the shoreline is dotted with houses. There are no stores or dining options. just B&Bs and residences for watermen. Some are kept up well. Others are left behind.
4. Visit Tylerton
Ewell may be seen towards the bottom of the image (above). The green region at the top right is Rhodes Point. In the top left corner is Tylerton. The smallest settlement, Tylerton, is situated on a distinct island from Ewell. There is no other means to get there; the Crisfield ferry is not an option. You may arrange a trip on another boat from Ewell or board the charter boat Captain Jason II at City Dock in Crisfield. Directly contact the captains. The Smith Island Crab Co-op, where the women hand-pick the crabmeat, is located in Tylerton. When available, you may purchase some of their crabmeat. You may pay to observe how crabs are selected by experts.
A more relaxed, gentler pace prevails on Smith Island. You visit this island to see Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay as it was decades ago; there are no bars or beaches there. It is advised that visitors avoid walking in swampy regions. But if you do and become trapped, islanders advise lying on your back and using your hands and elbows to drag yourself back to shore.
5. Marsh on Smith Island
In the summer, soft-shelled crabs are the primary product. Crabs are found by watermen who rake the grass and store them in shanties. Until they molt, the crabs are kept in containers and monitored every three to four hours. The soft-shelled crabs are then collected by islanders, packed, and sent to the Eastern Shore for distribution.
Smith Island is a “dry” marsh island since no alcoholic beverages are sold there. However, if someone brings a drink inside, it doesn’t stop them from doing so. If visitors bring their own, they should be discreet. Check with the hotel if you are staying at an island inn or B&B. Be warned that there may be gaps in your mobile phone coverage. Smith Island offers outdoor activities including boat trips, hiking paths, and fishing excursions.
6. Enjoy at one of the local restaurants
Ewell is where the eateries are. The Bayside Inn and Harborside Deli are your two options. Crabcakes and other island staples are available at both. On the island, the fried soft-shell crab sandwich is amazing. The Maryland blue crab used in the crabcakes is absolutely delicate, flaky, and deserving of being relished.
Once leaving the ship, most people will immediately go to a restaurant. When planning your trip, keep it in mind. You may place an order for meals to consume while riding the ship back. Be understanding with the wait staff. There is little labor on the island, and each restaurant normally only employs a few women. They often prepare and serve meals alone.
The island attracted craftsmen who settled there and now market their goods to visitors. Below is a list. All around the island, residences serve as the businesses.
7. Enjoy Smith Island cakes
Smith Island Cakes, a circular cake with seven to fifteen thin layers divided by icing, are well-known around the world. Every restaurant prepares its own, or neighborhood women bake for the establishments. Ewell was the birthplace of The Smith Island Cake Company. After they gained popularity, they relocated to Crisfield so they could better manage the volume and shipment.
Cakes are currently baked on Smith Island at Smith Island Bakery (20926 Caleb Jones Rd, Ewell, MD). Cakes that are packaged for transporting home and sold frozen are available. The cakes produced for better shipping across the nation are created using a slightly different recipe from the ones manufactured for sale on the island.
Remember that Ewell is a community that follows its own timetable. When the boat departs or based on the personal requirements of the staff members, shops and restaurants shut. During your visit, be sure to tell the islanders if you wish to return.
How to reach Smith Island
Smith Island can only be reached by boat. Check for seasonal timetables. Different companies/captains operate ferries that depart from Crisfield or Point Lookout twice daily. You may lease a boat or take a seat on a cargo boat if you wish to remain on the island longer than the ferry allows.
The journey to Smith Island from Crisfield will take roughly one hour. Depending on tides and weather, the boat will arrive back to Crisfield one hour after leaving at precisely 4 o’clock. At 12:30 pm, many boats left on time: The Twister or Chelsea Lane Tyler cruise ship is a large double-decker with toilets and an air-conditioned first floor. From the Somers Cove Marina, they set off. The Island Belle II mailboat is an operating vessel that departs from the City Dock. On plastic lawn chairs, you’ll be seated. Capt. Jason I, a ferryboat, is also leaving City Dock. This is a functional boat that often transports supplies to the islands. Visitors occupy plastic lawn chairs while it is open.
Now you know what Smith Island is all about and things that are available for you to do. Focus on these and visit Smith Island to get the maximum experience offered on your way.