Tilghman Island: Where man and nature share intimate relationship

Michelle Teel

Boats of every nature can be found on the island; work boats for the waterman and charter boats for your pleasure.

Just down the road a piece from famous St. Michaels, on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore, is another slice of Americana that is just begging to be explored. It is one of the gems of Talbot County, which is itself a place rich in history, culture, and outdoor activities, with amazing food and soul-satisfying panoramas of water, boats, and sunsets.

You can’t beat the beauty of a sunset over the water in Tilghman Island.
You can’t beat the beauty of a sunset over the water in Tilghman Island.

Traveling to Tilghman Island takes you to a place where man and nature still have a very intimate relationship. The people are friendly and welcoming and all the activities whet your appetite for the delicious local bounty, including the fresh seafood and farm-to-table produce.

Historically, this area was known for its seafood harvesting and agriculture, the source of oysters, crabs, clams, and scallops, as well as fish, corn, and tomatoes for consumers in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and beyond. This time of year, fresh fish and hot and delicious steamed crabs are just waiting for you to sit down with a cold beer to enjoy. Dine inside or out (the waterfront views are breathtaking) at one of the numerous restaurants featuring fine dining or down-home cooking.

Scouting for a source of outdoor fun? Tilghman Island has kayaking, biking, fishing, and sailing.

A bevy of charter fishing captains can take you to all of the very best fishing spots on the Chesapeake Bay. If you love to sail, the Rebecca T. Ruark, an authentic skipjack, is waiting for you to board at Dogwood Harbor. (skipjack.org)

If you love lighthouses or just love the bay, Captain Mike Richards, owner of Chesapeake Lights, is available to take you on a variety of lighthouse tours. You can choose from the two-hour Sunset Pursuit, Passage to 5, or Northern Chesapeake Light-
house Expedition, or take the adventurous two-day Southern Chesapeake Lighthouse Expedition. (chesapeakelights.com)

If you’d rather sail on a yacht, the Lady Patty, which is turning 80 this year, is the way to go.

Christened in 1935, she is owned and operated by Captain Jeffery Mathias, who will take you on a two-hour public tour or on half-day or full-day charters.

A sail aboard this beautiful yacht allows visitors to experience all of the excitement of sailing the bay surrounded by brass, teak, and sails. (ladypatty.com)

Preserving the past

Boats of every nature can be found on the island; work boats for the waterman and charter boats for your pleasure.
Boats of every nature can be found on the island; work boats for the waterman and charter boats for your pleasure.

Tilghman Islanders are proud of their heritage and history. Visit the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center with the kids to educate the family about the bay and all of the activi-ties that go into preserving and restoring its purity and productivity. (owec.org)

The Tilghman Island Watermen’s Museum is another chance to explore the local heritage.

Begun in 2008 to preserve the unique and rich culture of the area, it has made great strides in recording oral histories and preserving island art and artifacts in a growing collection.

The museum is moving to a new and expanded location at the Lee House this spring. The Lee House is one of only five surviving of the original 12 “W” houses — built in the early 1900s in a distinctive “W” shape unique to the island — and it is a museum within a museum. It contains an impressive array of art made on the island by nationally known artists. See paintings by Marc Castelli, Walt Bartman, and John Barber, as well as local artists Colleen Sadler and Bill Cummings.

Dedicated to capturing the stories and artifacts of the watermen’s way of life before it disappeared, the museum provides a fascinating exploration into the techniques and tools of the trade the watermen used to harvest the bounty of the bay. (tilghmanmuseum.org)

For more information:

Talbot Co. Tourism: tourtalbot.org

Share this post with friends: