The experience of visiting Smith Island is unlike any other tourist attraction, if you can even call it that. It is quaint town, but rough around the edges. The streets are quiet and the people chatty. Though many describe this island as stuck in time, I would beg to differ. I do not feel as if the people of this island are living in the past. The mere fact that they are living on such a secluded piece of land surely hinders the influences of the outside world, but it seems to only slow the process of modernization and it also seems to be the choice of the inhabitants.
As soon as you step off the ferry from Crisfield, you begin to notice the slow nature of living. The people seem to have a set of unwritten rules as everyone on the island is unnaturally friendly, selfless and generally excited that we were visiting. Contrary to what I expected a waterman’s town to be, Ewell was very inviting. I find this to be a result of the isolation. By secluding themselves from modern negative aspects of society such as crime and drug use, the islanders have created this safe community, something comparable to a 1950s “American Dream” neighborhood. This seems to be the reason behind many trying to stay on the island. There is such a cohesive community of people at work on the island and over time this has remained. Perhaps the only aspects of the island community that are stuck in time are the ones that’s in the modern world desire.
Many generalize the island as being so secluded that they don’t keep up with modern technology and pop culture. Visiting the island and experiencing the culture first hand, I can honestly say that this is a myth. They are not living in the dark ages. They have internet, TV, relatively modern architecture and they drive around in golf carts. Many seem to be just as lazy and dependent on fried food as the rest of the world. The people of Smith Island have found a way to preserve their quaintness, while keeping up with the rest of the world.