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Smith Island was named for Capt. John Smith, who explored the Chesapeake Bay in 1608. The island actually comprises three islands that form an area about 8 miles long and 4 miles wide. Settled in 1657 by English dissenters from Lord Baltimore's colony, Smith Island is populated by descendants of the original Colonists.
Isolation from the mainland has allowed ancient modes of speech and grammatical constructions to survive. For more than three centuries the islanders have derived their livelihoods from the surrounding bay. The three fishing villages on the island are Ewell, Rhodes Point and Tylerton.
Smith Island Center in Ewell offers tourist information as well as a small museum with exhibits relating to the island’s history and the Chesapeake Bay. A 20-minute film showcases the area's history, an exhibit reveals the island residents' dialect, another exhibit depicts indigenous wildlife, a genealogy database is available and a 30-foot mural by local artist Reuben Becker can be seen. The center is open daily noon-4, May through October; phone (410) 425-3351 or (800) 521-9189.
Boats carry passengers to the island from Crisfield, Md., Reedville, Va., and from Point Lookout, Md.
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Current Location: Smith Island, Maryland