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Tangier Island

August 2, 2005

Josh took me to Tangier Island, VA for a long weekend to celebrate our first year wedding anniversary. It was a complete surprise to me as to where we were going, that is until we passed all the exits for Ocean City and Josh started getting really nervous about not getting to our destination by 12:30. Then I suddenly wondered if we were trying to catch the ferry, which would be a good reason to be stressed, if we missed it, as it only runs once a day!

Josh had allowed more time than the Map Quest directions had estimated but with some unexpected road construction, we got held up. Josh called ahead and told the people running the ferry we were just a few minutes away. We pulled into the parking lot at 12:35, grabbed our luggage, paid our ticket, and jumped on board.

The day was hot and hazy. We sat on the top deck and looked out over the Chesapeake Bay. The port we were leaving behind was Crisfield, MD and we were heading to a tiny island where only 700 people live. Out of the haze, land began to appear on the horizon. Slowly, we came into view of the island. The engine slowed and we passed waterman at their work hauling in crabs and other seafood.

After docking we were to look for a maroon golf cart, and someone from the inn we were staying at was going to be picking us up. We easily spotted the golf cart and soon we were bouncing through town on a golf cart on our way to Bay View Inn. Why the golf cart, you might ask? Well, the island is so small that most people just travel in golf carts, on bikes, or mopeds. We checked into our hotel and then decided to go rent bikes and go exploring. At one of the restaurants we paid to rent the bikes for the weekend, and then went to pick out which old-fashioned bike would be ours. These were 1950s style bikes, and each one had a large basket for carrying groceries or other items.

The island has many little peculararities about it. The island accent is rather like old English meets a southern accent. There’s one school and two churches (Methodist and non-denominational). The church apparently ran out of room in it’s graveyard and people bury their dead in slightly raised coffins in their yard (often their front yard). There are no banks, limited use of credit/debit cards (although personal checks are accepted), and nothing stays opened much later that 5:30 p.m. except a few restaurants and the ice cream shop is opened to 9 or 10 p.m. There were two grocery stores that were ancient. Frozen items were kept in chest freezers. No scanning of barcodes here. Just some nice older ladies who add up the total on their calculator and packs your groceries in paper bags. People were friendly, but a little wary. The best way to describe the people is nice but “clannish.”

The pace was so much slower that three days could have been a week. Josh and I ate many crab cakes, clam fritters, and some flounder. Dragonflies as large as small birds darted about and hovered over pools of water. We watched sunsets, swam in the Chesapeake, swatted nasty flies, watched planes fly in and out of the small airport, read until we were tired of reading (I think this was a first for us both!), and I got to spend some uninterrupted time watercoloring while Josh napped.

We rode our bikes Sunday morning to the Methodist church where most of the town goes to church. The island was essentially founded by Methodists, and Methodists they still are. I loved singing the old hymns I grew up with and often miss (I grew up Southern Baptist, but all the hymns I we sang that Sunday I knew) and there was something sweet about sharing a hymnal. The piano was out of tune and the old voices in the choir creaked with age, yet they sang with hearty gusto. The robed minister delivered a sermon about making sure God is first in your life.

We left Tangier Island Sunday afternoon, rested and refreshed, thankful for our first year of marriage. It’s been more wonderful than I could have imagined.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2005 9:38 am

    Danielle, I sit here praising God for the relationship that you and Josh have! It really blesses me to watch the two of you grow in love with not just each other but also the Savior. God Bless you my friend!

  2. August 3, 2005 2:28 pm

    Beautiful post. Maybe my favorite so far? But I have to admit, when I read about you getting off the ferry and were supposed to be looking for a maroon golf cart, I started wondering, “Hmm…did the golf cart driver’s wife die? There’s be a theme here to Josh’s romantic surprises.”

    As an aside, I was aslo wondering if you felt those fritters?:0-

  3. August 3, 2005 4:16 pm

    Congrats on a wonderful year gone by! I pray I will say the same in eight months!

  4. August 3, 2005 4:31 pm

    Two questions! I want to know where people went for their first anniversary AND did you eat your cake top? SO, please fill me in! We won’t have a cake, even if you are supposed to eat it! Somehow it was given away to people other than us!

  5. August 4, 2005 11:21 am

    I want to know if Danielle got a “chin rash” as she did on her honeymoon..never mind I really don’t want to know. On our first anniversary we went to the same Chinese restaurant we went to on our first date. By our second anniversary it had burned down as did the pizza parlor we went to regularly while we were dating. A sign perhaps? I think not, we’re coming up on 17 years of wedded bliss. Congratulations on your anniversary! P.S. we saved our cake top but it was freezer burned after a year, we tossed it.

  6. August 4, 2005 12:38 pm

    My mom has my cake top, so we haven’t eaten it yet. She had to defrost the freezer so it got unthawed accidentally, but I hope to get it Saturday and I hope it’s still good because it sure was good on my wedding day! (Thanks to Emily Connell for a delicious chocolate raspberry filled cake!)

  7. August 4, 2005 1:02 pm

    I THINK we went to the Bel-Loc Diner in Towson, place of our first date. I still remember what we ordered that evening at 10:30 when I got off work at the Holiday Inn. He got iced tea, I got hot tea. Whoo-hoo, big spender! His theory was don’t spent money on a girl unless you know she’ll be your wife, cuz once you both know it, you can Kiss Your Wallet Goodbye.(We started ordering food after he proposed.) As for the cake: freezer burned. I took a bite for sentiment and tradition, but nah, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I think there’s a limit to how long good cake stays good, and ours certainly surpassed the limit. My whole wedding cake thing is a blog in itself.

  8. August 5, 2005 11:24 am

    On my first wedding anniversary,I was in Juarez, Mexico helping Jason lead a youth camp with Jen Pirog, Adam Chasey, and Lydia (Pirog). It was precious because the kids from Mexico gave us bride and groom teddy bears as gifts. We still have them, of course. It was also trickey because Jason stayed in the guys dorm, I stayed in the girls dorm.

    Congratulations, Danielle, on what seemed like a smooth transition into married life (from my somewhat distant perspective). I gather from your posts your genuine enjoyment of your husband and your life together. What grace!

    Today I celebrate 10 years! Wow – it feels like we just got married, and have always been married – at the same time. (Does that make sense?) Truly I have received so much better than I deserve in Jason. Thank you, God.

  9. August 5, 2005 12:22 pm

    Congrads on 10 years, Laurie! I know exactly what you mean about how if feels like you’ve always been married but like you just got married too. I think after one week I felt like I’d been married to Josh all my life (in a good way:) It’s funny.

  10. August 12, 2005 11:21 am

    Tanager (i know i spelled that wrong) island really reminds me of the town in the “Birds” maybe it’s just me but it seemed really similar!–>

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