Thursday, October 8, 2009

a salty little island

I had never been to Smith Island before. I found it to be a beautiful place well worn by salt, sun and wind. The people were friendly, from the lady at the post office to Wayne at the Ewell Tide Inn and the nice ladies at Ruke's. But the cat out on a pier wasn't too happy about being photographed.

Crabbing is still the major industry for the island but collapsing piers, empty shacks and vacant homes show that the the waterfront was once a bustling place.

(Walking around Ewell was like walking into the past. The pace was slow and easy. Let's face it, there is no where to go and you have all the time to get there, at least if you are a visitor and the ferry has already departed. I loved this town. It was sad to see a lot of the working waterfront in a state of disrepair. Old wood buildings and piers lay gray and sagging, aged from years of hard use and testament to when watermen could make a better living. It made for great photography and reminded me of some of the old small towns along U.S. Route 66 that I have visited, reminders of glory days long passed by. The townsfolk here were very friendly and helpful. Everywhere we walked people smiled, waived and said hi. Really what we think about as part of the American small town. A great stop.)

After dinner at Ruke's and cleaning our gear we took a walk around Ewell. I could easily see heading over there for a long weekend with a couple of good books and just relaxing for a while.

There is a little cultural center in Ewell, probably the newest and nicest building in the town. It was closed by the time we got there but we peeked in the windows. I think this nice little sail boat was carved by an islander.

We checked on the boat before sundown to make sure the lines were set to deal with the changing tides, then headed back to the b and b. The forecast for the next day once again included small craft warnings. I left the reefs tucked into the main that night.


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