Journey to yesterday

Cat_243_dover by Mary Jo

The last weekend in August, we visited the past.  Not literally, of course—I save that for the characters in A Distant Magic—but we spent two nights on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

As the only inhabited island in Maryland, Smith Island is well known regionally, though probably not elsewhere.  (Tangier Island, with a similar history, is not far away but in Virginia’s portion of the bay.)

The island’s roots run deep—it was discovered by Captain John Smith (but named after Henry Smith, an early landowner.)  It was settled in the 1680s and many current residents (there are several hundred, but I can’t find a reliable figure) are descended from those early colonists.  The place is packed with Evanses and Tylers and Marshalls Bradfords. 

Dscn0957 Most of the original settlers were of English and Welsh descent, and the population is overwhelmingly Methodist.  As was generally true in the past, the church is the largest, most imposing building in the town, rising above the surrounding houses in each of the three Smith Island settlements. 

Smith Islanders speak with a distinct, rather Elizabethan lilt, and use some non-standard language constructions.  They are inheritors of a traditional way of life that is fast vanishing.  Not that they’re off the grid—these days the island has electricity and telephone service and most of the businesses have websites (heres the island site: http://smithisland.org/ ) and the older kids are ferried to school on the mainland when they outgrow the elementary school. 

But it’s a different way of life from what most of us know.  I think it must be rather like the lives of the Crab_shanty English historical characters I write about.  You are part of a small community where everyone knows everyone else.  This is probably sometimes suffocating, but people are well-behaved. (Here’s an amusing piece about police presence on the island:  http://smithisland.org/police.html )

Map_smith_island You can’t easily nip into town and do serious shopping.  In bad weather, you’re isolated for days, weeks, or even months at a time so you had better be good at getting along with the others in your household and neighborhood.  Having a well-furnished mind so you can keep yourself amused is also necessary.  Not to mention a well-furnished pantry.

Smith Island can only be reached by ferry.   (There was a helipad on the main road for emergency medical evacuation, but I use “main road” loosely.)  The ferry ride is about 45 minutes from Crisfield, the nearest town.  The Crisfield water tower has a crab on it, so it’s not surprising that it’s the crab-picking capital of Maryland.  <G>

Dscn0991 Our weekend visit to Smith Island was way cool, though not literally—we could have done without the heat wave that sent the heat index over 100.  (Bleaaaghhh!)  But the island is an interesting place.  For starters, it’s dead flat and only a few feet above sea level.  Over the years, hundreds of acres have been lost to erosion and rising water levels. (Global warming in action.)  Someday the island will vanish altogether. 

The original settlers were mostly farmers, but loss of arable land, plus the development of refrigeration, turned many of the residents into watermen, which is the local term for those who harvest the bay’s Fullsize_bluecrab crabs, oysters, and fish.  There is also some tourism, of the hit and run variety.   Most visitors take a ferry over from Crisfield at 12:30 pm, have a bite of lunch, rent bicycles or a golf cart to explore, visit the very nice museum, then leave on the 4:00 pm ferry back to Crisfield.  There were a couple of dozen people on the noon ferry, and we were the only ones who had luggage to spend a night. 

There are three small B&Bs.  The one we stayed at, Chesapeake Sunrise ( http://chesapeakesunrise.com/pages/1/index.htm ), was right by the ferry landing and couldn’t have been more convenient.  Hospitable, too, and we were given the run of the kitchen and fridge.  On the other hand, one doesn’t go to Smith Island for a Ritz experience.  Our room was pleasant (and mercifully had a window a/c unit), but we shared a bathroom with the owners. <G>  Not a problem, though. 

Dscn0952 Right next door was the Bayside restaurant.  Most visitors lunch there, with fine crab cakes and Smith Island cake being the favorites.  (The Bayside closes when the ferry leaves.  On advice of our host, we bought carryout for our Friday night dinner.) 

The Smith Island cake is well worth describing, since it’s a layer cake with 8 or 10 layers.  Each layer is maybe 3/16th inch thick.  With so many layers, there are lots of opportunities for frosting, which explains the cake’s popularity.  <g> White cake with chocolate icing seemed to be the favorite, and a worthy choice it was.  Another local specialty was applesauce pie, which was a kind of custard and also quite nice.  It’s a dry island, though—my companion was Not Pleased to find he couldn’t order a beer to go with the crab cake. <g> 

A_cake In case you’re wondering, the Smith Island cake isn’t made from several standard layers that are sliced into narrower pieces.  Each thin layer is baked individually.  You use as many 9” tins as your oven can hold, then bake for 6 or 8 minutes.  Obviously the potential for burning is high.  The pans have to be pulled out at exactly the right time, then cleaned and used again.  Labor intensive but worth it, at least for the lucky eaters.  (Here’s a recipe for a version with chocolate and peanut butter: http://tinyurl.com/yrtnge  )

The high point of our weekend was a boat ride out to the Martin National Wildlife Refuge that makes up most of Smith Island.  The refuge is actually a separate area across a channel.  Once it was also farmland, but now it’s pretty much gone to marsh. 

Dscn0959 Luckily, our landlady knew exactly who to call.  Captain Waverly Evans was available, the tide was right, and he picked us up half an hour later in a no-nonsense working boat.  80 years old and well-weathered by a lifetime on the bay, the Captain is a multi-tasker who is a waterman, I’m sure, plus he takes out tourists like us and makes folk art from wood that he sells in his own shop. 

Multi-tasking is common is such small communities—everyone we met seemed to wear several hats.  Our B&B hostess is an excellent painter http://paulistudio.com/ and her husband runs the small but spiffy Smith Island Marina in front of the house http://www.smithisland.us/marina.htm , plus he has a job in Crisfield.  (Neither of them are island natives.)

The wildlife tour was wonderful.  We glided around marshes covered with sea grass and admired the egrets and herons, not to mention the fattest white gulls I’ve ever seen.  The wildlife service builds Dscn0968 stands to attract ospreys—sea eagles.  The stands look like an inverted pyramid on top of a pole, and the ospreys cheerfully built their messy nests inside.  (The nest at right was built in a dead tree, the traditional mode.) Most nests seemed to have a mated pair and one or two nearly grown offspring.  When they flew off at the boat’s approach, often one had a fish firmly clenched in its claws. 

There was also a peregrine’s nest, the result of a documentary project film project, and a bald eagle nest. We saw one of the eagles at a distance, but it just sat in a tree and looked bored.

Best of all were the pelicans.  There must have been a hundred or more cruising lazily in a shallow bay.  Dscn0980 They swooped up into the air when we approached—those suckers are BIG—then sailed down and settled on the water again. Magnificent.  I understand that in the autumn, during the sea bird migration season, the island is amazing.  That’s when the serious birdwatchers show up.  We are mere dilettantes. 

This island has cats as well as birds.  Here’s a fun site with pictures of local kitties: http://smithisland.org/gallerycats.html

Because of the boat ride, we only had time to hire a golf cart to explore the inhabited part of the island for half an hour.  It was enough.  <G>  There are two settlements on the main island, Ewell, where we stayed, and Rhodes Point.  The later was once called Rogues Point because it was a pirate hangout, but the U. S. Post Office refused to allow an office in a community called Rogues Point, so the name was tamed. <G>  The third settlement, on another piece of land, is called Tylerton and has a B&B with the wonderful name The Inn of Silent Music. 

Dscn0958 A little general store sort of place called Ruke’s (all of a block away) was open for dinner on Saturdays—the only night of the week when you can eat dinner out.  It was—authentic in the extreme.  But they served darned good crab cakes. <g>

We left Sunday morning on a 7:30 am ferry, a much smaller boat than the one we came over on.  The weather was sunny, the sea flat calm, and the temperature very comfortable.  Paradise on a boat.  We were the only passengers—along with 11 cartons of soft-shelled crabs.  We were told that when the soft shells reached New York City later in the day, they’d sell for $40/dozen.  The crabs were a lot more valuable than we were. <g>

Dscn0956 If you’re ever in the area, I certainly recommend a visit to Smith Island.  It’s authentic, with a real and rooted community, and a traditional way of living that may not make it to another generation.  It’s a special place. 

With great crab cakes.

Sunset There are other places like Smith Island, that are uniquely themselves but also connected to the past.  What ones have you visited?  Or you’d like to visit?  It’s always nice to add new locales to my travel wish list! 

Mary Jo

65 thoughts on “Journey to yesterday”

  1. We lived on Islesboro in Maine for four years, and one of our daughters still does. Everyone is pretty much related to everyone else, and islanders have a unique way of looking at things.The population increases three-fold in the summer when the rich and famous come to their summer “cottages” (houses with 20 bedrooms!).
    I worked in the historical society museum when we lived there and picked up lots of fun facts. Charles Dana Gibson lived on his own small adjacent island and sketched his Gibson girls there. Legend has it Katherine Hepburn came out to research the Philadelphia Story. Cars were banned until the 1930s. In the winter people would go across the bay on sleds.
    Now a car-ferry ride is only 20 minutes, but you really do leave the real world behind when you get there.

    Reply
  2. We lived on Islesboro in Maine for four years, and one of our daughters still does. Everyone is pretty much related to everyone else, and islanders have a unique way of looking at things.The population increases three-fold in the summer when the rich and famous come to their summer “cottages” (houses with 20 bedrooms!).
    I worked in the historical society museum when we lived there and picked up lots of fun facts. Charles Dana Gibson lived on his own small adjacent island and sketched his Gibson girls there. Legend has it Katherine Hepburn came out to research the Philadelphia Story. Cars were banned until the 1930s. In the winter people would go across the bay on sleds.
    Now a car-ferry ride is only 20 minutes, but you really do leave the real world behind when you get there.

    Reply
  3. We lived on Islesboro in Maine for four years, and one of our daughters still does. Everyone is pretty much related to everyone else, and islanders have a unique way of looking at things.The population increases three-fold in the summer when the rich and famous come to their summer “cottages” (houses with 20 bedrooms!).
    I worked in the historical society museum when we lived there and picked up lots of fun facts. Charles Dana Gibson lived on his own small adjacent island and sketched his Gibson girls there. Legend has it Katherine Hepburn came out to research the Philadelphia Story. Cars were banned until the 1930s. In the winter people would go across the bay on sleds.
    Now a car-ferry ride is only 20 minutes, but you really do leave the real world behind when you get there.

    Reply
  4. We lived on Islesboro in Maine for four years, and one of our daughters still does. Everyone is pretty much related to everyone else, and islanders have a unique way of looking at things.The population increases three-fold in the summer when the rich and famous come to their summer “cottages” (houses with 20 bedrooms!).
    I worked in the historical society museum when we lived there and picked up lots of fun facts. Charles Dana Gibson lived on his own small adjacent island and sketched his Gibson girls there. Legend has it Katherine Hepburn came out to research the Philadelphia Story. Cars were banned until the 1930s. In the winter people would go across the bay on sleds.
    Now a car-ferry ride is only 20 minutes, but you really do leave the real world behind when you get there.

    Reply
  5. We lived on Islesboro in Maine for four years, and one of our daughters still does. Everyone is pretty much related to everyone else, and islanders have a unique way of looking at things.The population increases three-fold in the summer when the rich and famous come to their summer “cottages” (houses with 20 bedrooms!).
    I worked in the historical society museum when we lived there and picked up lots of fun facts. Charles Dana Gibson lived on his own small adjacent island and sketched his Gibson girls there. Legend has it Katherine Hepburn came out to research the Philadelphia Story. Cars were banned until the 1930s. In the winter people would go across the bay on sleds.
    Now a car-ferry ride is only 20 minutes, but you really do leave the real world behind when you get there.

    Reply
  6. I once read a book about Pitcairn Island, where the Bounty Mutineers ended up with their Tahitian “brides”. Language and customs there also seemed to be frozen in time. Culture, like genetic inheritance, becomes isolated in island environments, and the Pitcairn Islanders have much in common with Darwin’s finches of the Galapagous islands. That concept pops up regularly in science fiction, with lost colonies/Shangri-La/Land of the Lost themes, but we don’t see it so much in romance.But seriously, how would a character respond to a change in that environment- how would an outsider adapt? What a neat thing to think about! Mary Jo, you have me dreaming about islands!

    Reply
  7. I once read a book about Pitcairn Island, where the Bounty Mutineers ended up with their Tahitian “brides”. Language and customs there also seemed to be frozen in time. Culture, like genetic inheritance, becomes isolated in island environments, and the Pitcairn Islanders have much in common with Darwin’s finches of the Galapagous islands. That concept pops up regularly in science fiction, with lost colonies/Shangri-La/Land of the Lost themes, but we don’t see it so much in romance.But seriously, how would a character respond to a change in that environment- how would an outsider adapt? What a neat thing to think about! Mary Jo, you have me dreaming about islands!

    Reply
  8. I once read a book about Pitcairn Island, where the Bounty Mutineers ended up with their Tahitian “brides”. Language and customs there also seemed to be frozen in time. Culture, like genetic inheritance, becomes isolated in island environments, and the Pitcairn Islanders have much in common with Darwin’s finches of the Galapagous islands. That concept pops up regularly in science fiction, with lost colonies/Shangri-La/Land of the Lost themes, but we don’t see it so much in romance.But seriously, how would a character respond to a change in that environment- how would an outsider adapt? What a neat thing to think about! Mary Jo, you have me dreaming about islands!

    Reply
  9. I once read a book about Pitcairn Island, where the Bounty Mutineers ended up with their Tahitian “brides”. Language and customs there also seemed to be frozen in time. Culture, like genetic inheritance, becomes isolated in island environments, and the Pitcairn Islanders have much in common with Darwin’s finches of the Galapagous islands. That concept pops up regularly in science fiction, with lost colonies/Shangri-La/Land of the Lost themes, but we don’t see it so much in romance.But seriously, how would a character respond to a change in that environment- how would an outsider adapt? What a neat thing to think about! Mary Jo, you have me dreaming about islands!

    Reply
  10. I once read a book about Pitcairn Island, where the Bounty Mutineers ended up with their Tahitian “brides”. Language and customs there also seemed to be frozen in time. Culture, like genetic inheritance, becomes isolated in island environments, and the Pitcairn Islanders have much in common with Darwin’s finches of the Galapagous islands. That concept pops up regularly in science fiction, with lost colonies/Shangri-La/Land of the Lost themes, but we don’t see it so much in romance.But seriously, how would a character respond to a change in that environment- how would an outsider adapt? What a neat thing to think about! Mary Jo, you have me dreaming about islands!

    Reply
  11. I wouldn’t descibe Pitcairn Island as an example of idyllic island life. It is of course a lot more isolated than any island off the coast of the U.S. could be, but any place where the raping of children is considered normal, must be a bad place to live.

    Reply
  12. I wouldn’t descibe Pitcairn Island as an example of idyllic island life. It is of course a lot more isolated than any island off the coast of the U.S. could be, but any place where the raping of children is considered normal, must be a bad place to live.

    Reply
  13. I wouldn’t descibe Pitcairn Island as an example of idyllic island life. It is of course a lot more isolated than any island off the coast of the U.S. could be, but any place where the raping of children is considered normal, must be a bad place to live.

    Reply
  14. I wouldn’t descibe Pitcairn Island as an example of idyllic island life. It is of course a lot more isolated than any island off the coast of the U.S. could be, but any place where the raping of children is considered normal, must be a bad place to live.

    Reply
  15. I wouldn’t descibe Pitcairn Island as an example of idyllic island life. It is of course a lot more isolated than any island off the coast of the U.S. could be, but any place where the raping of children is considered normal, must be a bad place to live.

    Reply
  16. Great post, Mary Jo! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I felt like I was there.
    Can’t say I’ve ever been on an island, so I have none to recommend. Though, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Biltmore House in Ashland, NC or in one of the Williamsburg houses at Christmas. I love immersing myself in that “going back in time” feel.
    Nina

    Reply
  17. Great post, Mary Jo! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I felt like I was there.
    Can’t say I’ve ever been on an island, so I have none to recommend. Though, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Biltmore House in Ashland, NC or in one of the Williamsburg houses at Christmas. I love immersing myself in that “going back in time” feel.
    Nina

    Reply
  18. Great post, Mary Jo! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I felt like I was there.
    Can’t say I’ve ever been on an island, so I have none to recommend. Though, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Biltmore House in Ashland, NC or in one of the Williamsburg houses at Christmas. I love immersing myself in that “going back in time” feel.
    Nina

    Reply
  19. Great post, Mary Jo! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I felt like I was there.
    Can’t say I’ve ever been on an island, so I have none to recommend. Though, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Biltmore House in Ashland, NC or in one of the Williamsburg houses at Christmas. I love immersing myself in that “going back in time” feel.
    Nina

    Reply
  20. Great post, Mary Jo! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I felt like I was there.
    Can’t say I’ve ever been on an island, so I have none to recommend. Though, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Biltmore House in Ashland, NC or in one of the Williamsburg houses at Christmas. I love immersing myself in that “going back in time” feel.
    Nina

    Reply
  21. Ingrid- I don’t think Pitcairn was ever idyllic- even before the reports of child rape recently surfaced- my remark was more about the unchanging aspects of islands in general. It is that unchanging, isolated environment that makes a great story starter. Mystic Guardian is a case in point!

    Reply
  22. Ingrid- I don’t think Pitcairn was ever idyllic- even before the reports of child rape recently surfaced- my remark was more about the unchanging aspects of islands in general. It is that unchanging, isolated environment that makes a great story starter. Mystic Guardian is a case in point!

    Reply
  23. Ingrid- I don’t think Pitcairn was ever idyllic- even before the reports of child rape recently surfaced- my remark was more about the unchanging aspects of islands in general. It is that unchanging, isolated environment that makes a great story starter. Mystic Guardian is a case in point!

    Reply
  24. Ingrid- I don’t think Pitcairn was ever idyllic- even before the reports of child rape recently surfaced- my remark was more about the unchanging aspects of islands in general. It is that unchanging, isolated environment that makes a great story starter. Mystic Guardian is a case in point!

    Reply
  25. Ingrid- I don’t think Pitcairn was ever idyllic- even before the reports of child rape recently surfaced- my remark was more about the unchanging aspects of islands in general. It is that unchanging, isolated environment that makes a great story starter. Mystic Guardian is a case in point!

    Reply
  26. Bless you, Gretchen! I just stopped in to see what MJ was chatting about, but I’ll take compliments where I can get them.
    Islands fascinate me. Many of my contemps were written about islands similar to those off Beaufort SC. I find it easier to write about isolated communities than impersonal cities. Maybe that’s the historian in me?
    I’m dying to get back to the East Coast so I can explore more.

    Reply
  27. Bless you, Gretchen! I just stopped in to see what MJ was chatting about, but I’ll take compliments where I can get them.
    Islands fascinate me. Many of my contemps were written about islands similar to those off Beaufort SC. I find it easier to write about isolated communities than impersonal cities. Maybe that’s the historian in me?
    I’m dying to get back to the East Coast so I can explore more.

    Reply
  28. Bless you, Gretchen! I just stopped in to see what MJ was chatting about, but I’ll take compliments where I can get them.
    Islands fascinate me. Many of my contemps were written about islands similar to those off Beaufort SC. I find it easier to write about isolated communities than impersonal cities. Maybe that’s the historian in me?
    I’m dying to get back to the East Coast so I can explore more.

    Reply
  29. Bless you, Gretchen! I just stopped in to see what MJ was chatting about, but I’ll take compliments where I can get them.
    Islands fascinate me. Many of my contemps were written about islands similar to those off Beaufort SC. I find it easier to write about isolated communities than impersonal cities. Maybe that’s the historian in me?
    I’m dying to get back to the East Coast so I can explore more.

    Reply
  30. Bless you, Gretchen! I just stopped in to see what MJ was chatting about, but I’ll take compliments where I can get them.
    Islands fascinate me. Many of my contemps were written about islands similar to those off Beaufort SC. I find it easier to write about isolated communities than impersonal cities. Maybe that’s the historian in me?
    I’m dying to get back to the East Coast so I can explore more.

    Reply
  31. From MJP:
    I think I should have named this piece The Magic of Islands! Certainly islands are the places where it is easiest to see separation from mainstream culture. Very distant islands like Pitcairn are far, far more isolated than off shore islands like the ones off Maine or in the Chesapeake or Puget sound.
    But there is something very magical about islands in general–they appeal to the run-away-from-it-all fantasy.
    Gretchen, your suggestion about having a character from an isolated island is an interesting one. In British historicals, it’s not uncommon to have lasses from the Hebrides come to London (and take the ton by storm :), but that’s not as dramatic as what one can do in sff.
    One romance that has a bit of that quality is a raised-by-wolves historical that Pat Gaffney wrote once. I can’t remember the title, but she did an amazing job of showing a hero with a totally different kind of background.
    I’ve done several books where the characters are caught between two worlds–Mohawk/British, Chinese/Scottish, et al–but again, that’s a somewhat different dynamic.
    Mary Jo, pondering

    Reply
  32. From MJP:
    I think I should have named this piece The Magic of Islands! Certainly islands are the places where it is easiest to see separation from mainstream culture. Very distant islands like Pitcairn are far, far more isolated than off shore islands like the ones off Maine or in the Chesapeake or Puget sound.
    But there is something very magical about islands in general–they appeal to the run-away-from-it-all fantasy.
    Gretchen, your suggestion about having a character from an isolated island is an interesting one. In British historicals, it’s not uncommon to have lasses from the Hebrides come to London (and take the ton by storm :), but that’s not as dramatic as what one can do in sff.
    One romance that has a bit of that quality is a raised-by-wolves historical that Pat Gaffney wrote once. I can’t remember the title, but she did an amazing job of showing a hero with a totally different kind of background.
    I’ve done several books where the characters are caught between two worlds–Mohawk/British, Chinese/Scottish, et al–but again, that’s a somewhat different dynamic.
    Mary Jo, pondering

    Reply
  33. From MJP:
    I think I should have named this piece The Magic of Islands! Certainly islands are the places where it is easiest to see separation from mainstream culture. Very distant islands like Pitcairn are far, far more isolated than off shore islands like the ones off Maine or in the Chesapeake or Puget sound.
    But there is something very magical about islands in general–they appeal to the run-away-from-it-all fantasy.
    Gretchen, your suggestion about having a character from an isolated island is an interesting one. In British historicals, it’s not uncommon to have lasses from the Hebrides come to London (and take the ton by storm :), but that’s not as dramatic as what one can do in sff.
    One romance that has a bit of that quality is a raised-by-wolves historical that Pat Gaffney wrote once. I can’t remember the title, but she did an amazing job of showing a hero with a totally different kind of background.
    I’ve done several books where the characters are caught between two worlds–Mohawk/British, Chinese/Scottish, et al–but again, that’s a somewhat different dynamic.
    Mary Jo, pondering

    Reply
  34. From MJP:
    I think I should have named this piece The Magic of Islands! Certainly islands are the places where it is easiest to see separation from mainstream culture. Very distant islands like Pitcairn are far, far more isolated than off shore islands like the ones off Maine or in the Chesapeake or Puget sound.
    But there is something very magical about islands in general–they appeal to the run-away-from-it-all fantasy.
    Gretchen, your suggestion about having a character from an isolated island is an interesting one. In British historicals, it’s not uncommon to have lasses from the Hebrides come to London (and take the ton by storm :), but that’s not as dramatic as what one can do in sff.
    One romance that has a bit of that quality is a raised-by-wolves historical that Pat Gaffney wrote once. I can’t remember the title, but she did an amazing job of showing a hero with a totally different kind of background.
    I’ve done several books where the characters are caught between two worlds–Mohawk/British, Chinese/Scottish, et al–but again, that’s a somewhat different dynamic.
    Mary Jo, pondering

    Reply
  35. From MJP:
    I think I should have named this piece The Magic of Islands! Certainly islands are the places where it is easiest to see separation from mainstream culture. Very distant islands like Pitcairn are far, far more isolated than off shore islands like the ones off Maine or in the Chesapeake or Puget sound.
    But there is something very magical about islands in general–they appeal to the run-away-from-it-all fantasy.
    Gretchen, your suggestion about having a character from an isolated island is an interesting one. In British historicals, it’s not uncommon to have lasses from the Hebrides come to London (and take the ton by storm :), but that’s not as dramatic as what one can do in sff.
    One romance that has a bit of that quality is a raised-by-wolves historical that Pat Gaffney wrote once. I can’t remember the title, but she did an amazing job of showing a hero with a totally different kind of background.
    I’ve done several books where the characters are caught between two worlds–Mohawk/British, Chinese/Scottish, et al–but again, that’s a somewhat different dynamic.
    Mary Jo, pondering

    Reply
  36. Here in the Pacific NW, we have lots of islands. Islanders tend to be clannish and fiercely proud of their little island communities. One of my friends who reads this blog (Jane N., are you out there?) lives on Vashon Island. She says islanders give directions like this: “Go past Myrtle Jones’s house and turn left where the Miller barn used to be.”
    Where the Miller barn USED to be??? I love it!

    Reply
  37. Here in the Pacific NW, we have lots of islands. Islanders tend to be clannish and fiercely proud of their little island communities. One of my friends who reads this blog (Jane N., are you out there?) lives on Vashon Island. She says islanders give directions like this: “Go past Myrtle Jones’s house and turn left where the Miller barn used to be.”
    Where the Miller barn USED to be??? I love it!

    Reply
  38. Here in the Pacific NW, we have lots of islands. Islanders tend to be clannish and fiercely proud of their little island communities. One of my friends who reads this blog (Jane N., are you out there?) lives on Vashon Island. She says islanders give directions like this: “Go past Myrtle Jones’s house and turn left where the Miller barn used to be.”
    Where the Miller barn USED to be??? I love it!

    Reply
  39. Here in the Pacific NW, we have lots of islands. Islanders tend to be clannish and fiercely proud of their little island communities. One of my friends who reads this blog (Jane N., are you out there?) lives on Vashon Island. She says islanders give directions like this: “Go past Myrtle Jones’s house and turn left where the Miller barn used to be.”
    Where the Miller barn USED to be??? I love it!

    Reply
  40. Here in the Pacific NW, we have lots of islands. Islanders tend to be clannish and fiercely proud of their little island communities. One of my friends who reads this blog (Jane N., are you out there?) lives on Vashon Island. She says islanders give directions like this: “Go past Myrtle Jones’s house and turn left where the Miller barn used to be.”
    Where the Miller barn USED to be??? I love it!

    Reply
  41. From MJP:
    Sherrie–very funny about directions that mention where places USED to be! That’s a small community, all right.
    Vancouver Island is much larger and more sophisticated, and Victoria is a delight. Still, it’s an island, with some build in limitations.
    Jane, let me know how the cake turns out. I was strongly tempted to buy one to take home and pop in the freezer, but it would have been one more thing to lug. Add that to the heat wave, and I feared it would end up as cake mush. I googled around to see if I could find any Smith Island cakes locally, but no lucky. There are a couple of places on the Eastern Shore, near Smith Island, where they can be bought. Inevitably, they seem to be made by native Smith Islanders who moved to the mainland.
    Mary Jo, who managed to eat several pieces in less than two days. 🙂

    Reply
  42. From MJP:
    Sherrie–very funny about directions that mention where places USED to be! That’s a small community, all right.
    Vancouver Island is much larger and more sophisticated, and Victoria is a delight. Still, it’s an island, with some build in limitations.
    Jane, let me know how the cake turns out. I was strongly tempted to buy one to take home and pop in the freezer, but it would have been one more thing to lug. Add that to the heat wave, and I feared it would end up as cake mush. I googled around to see if I could find any Smith Island cakes locally, but no lucky. There are a couple of places on the Eastern Shore, near Smith Island, where they can be bought. Inevitably, they seem to be made by native Smith Islanders who moved to the mainland.
    Mary Jo, who managed to eat several pieces in less than two days. 🙂

    Reply
  43. From MJP:
    Sherrie–very funny about directions that mention where places USED to be! That’s a small community, all right.
    Vancouver Island is much larger and more sophisticated, and Victoria is a delight. Still, it’s an island, with some build in limitations.
    Jane, let me know how the cake turns out. I was strongly tempted to buy one to take home and pop in the freezer, but it would have been one more thing to lug. Add that to the heat wave, and I feared it would end up as cake mush. I googled around to see if I could find any Smith Island cakes locally, but no lucky. There are a couple of places on the Eastern Shore, near Smith Island, where they can be bought. Inevitably, they seem to be made by native Smith Islanders who moved to the mainland.
    Mary Jo, who managed to eat several pieces in less than two days. 🙂

    Reply
  44. From MJP:
    Sherrie–very funny about directions that mention where places USED to be! That’s a small community, all right.
    Vancouver Island is much larger and more sophisticated, and Victoria is a delight. Still, it’s an island, with some build in limitations.
    Jane, let me know how the cake turns out. I was strongly tempted to buy one to take home and pop in the freezer, but it would have been one more thing to lug. Add that to the heat wave, and I feared it would end up as cake mush. I googled around to see if I could find any Smith Island cakes locally, but no lucky. There are a couple of places on the Eastern Shore, near Smith Island, where they can be bought. Inevitably, they seem to be made by native Smith Islanders who moved to the mainland.
    Mary Jo, who managed to eat several pieces in less than two days. 🙂

    Reply
  45. From MJP:
    Sherrie–very funny about directions that mention where places USED to be! That’s a small community, all right.
    Vancouver Island is much larger and more sophisticated, and Victoria is a delight. Still, it’s an island, with some build in limitations.
    Jane, let me know how the cake turns out. I was strongly tempted to buy one to take home and pop in the freezer, but it would have been one more thing to lug. Add that to the heat wave, and I feared it would end up as cake mush. I googled around to see if I could find any Smith Island cakes locally, but no lucky. There are a couple of places on the Eastern Shore, near Smith Island, where they can be bought. Inevitably, they seem to be made by native Smith Islanders who moved to the mainland.
    Mary Jo, who managed to eat several pieces in less than two days. 🙂

    Reply
  46. MJP – isn’t that Gaffney novel Wild At Heart? When everyone was raving about Alice Hoffman’s (inferior, to me) raised by wolves novel I would just buy them a copy and hand it over. My aunt ended up using it in a class at Sweet Briar college, I think.

    Reply
  47. MJP – isn’t that Gaffney novel Wild At Heart? When everyone was raving about Alice Hoffman’s (inferior, to me) raised by wolves novel I would just buy them a copy and hand it over. My aunt ended up using it in a class at Sweet Briar college, I think.

    Reply
  48. MJP – isn’t that Gaffney novel Wild At Heart? When everyone was raving about Alice Hoffman’s (inferior, to me) raised by wolves novel I would just buy them a copy and hand it over. My aunt ended up using it in a class at Sweet Briar college, I think.

    Reply
  49. MJP – isn’t that Gaffney novel Wild At Heart? When everyone was raving about Alice Hoffman’s (inferior, to me) raised by wolves novel I would just buy them a copy and hand it over. My aunt ended up using it in a class at Sweet Briar college, I think.

    Reply
  50. MJP – isn’t that Gaffney novel Wild At Heart? When everyone was raving about Alice Hoffman’s (inferior, to me) raised by wolves novel I would just buy them a copy and hand it over. My aunt ended up using it in a class at Sweet Briar college, I think.

    Reply
  51. MJP – if you are still interested in getting a Smith Island Cake from one of the ladies on Smith Island, I know one of the bakers who ships to your home. They can only ship the chocolate iced ones as they hold up better in the mail. Of course, you can always use it as an excuse to come back. Let me know if you want the contact info.
    Wendy – who works at the local tourism office

    Reply
  52. MJP – if you are still interested in getting a Smith Island Cake from one of the ladies on Smith Island, I know one of the bakers who ships to your home. They can only ship the chocolate iced ones as they hold up better in the mail. Of course, you can always use it as an excuse to come back. Let me know if you want the contact info.
    Wendy – who works at the local tourism office

    Reply
  53. MJP – if you are still interested in getting a Smith Island Cake from one of the ladies on Smith Island, I know one of the bakers who ships to your home. They can only ship the chocolate iced ones as they hold up better in the mail. Of course, you can always use it as an excuse to come back. Let me know if you want the contact info.
    Wendy – who works at the local tourism office

    Reply
  54. MJP – if you are still interested in getting a Smith Island Cake from one of the ladies on Smith Island, I know one of the bakers who ships to your home. They can only ship the chocolate iced ones as they hold up better in the mail. Of course, you can always use it as an excuse to come back. Let me know if you want the contact info.
    Wendy – who works at the local tourism office

    Reply
  55. MJP – if you are still interested in getting a Smith Island Cake from one of the ladies on Smith Island, I know one of the bakers who ships to your home. They can only ship the chocolate iced ones as they hold up better in the mail. Of course, you can always use it as an excuse to come back. Let me know if you want the contact info.
    Wendy – who works at the local tourism office

    Reply

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