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JAC Members Visit Tangier Island

We are fortunate that aviators benefit from so many small airfields that can be explored in America. There are over 19,000 airports in the US and over 70 airports within 100 NM from N12 alone. So this time, we decided to trek a little farther and head south 159NM to a small island off the Chesapeake Bay.

If you’ve never heard of Tangier Island (KTGI), it is a small island community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. This quiet one sq. mile town is an active community with a 2500 paved runway. Our flight in was uneventful, but the view is spectacular. Unfortunately, KTGI is an uncontrolled field, and the runway is pretty worn. Expect a bumpy taxi and if you land perfectly into one of the many small potholes, expect to get bounced. Also, ensure you’re comfortable with crosswind landings because you can generally expect a 5-15 kt crosswind.

Once you land and taxi to the tie-down area (bring your own ropes), there’s no welcoming committee, fuel, and FBO. However, as you walk off the apron, there is a box to collect a $10 landing fee (based on the honor system, so please do the right thing). The money is supposed to go to the airfield improvement fund). After that, it’s a short walk into town.

KTGI is a fishing and crabbing town. The only way off or onto the island is by plane or boat. Everyone knows everyone. And, everything is within two blocks of the town church, about ½ mile walk from the airfield. We stood out like sore thumbs, and everyone that passed us knew we were tourists, but everyone waved and said good morning. I imagine they’re used to tourists walking around their town.

On this trip, we were on the hunt for crabcakes. Because we arrived before 11 am when the restaurant opened, we took a walking tour around the island. While there’s not much to see, the quaintness and peacefulness of the island were enough. Everyone gets around in either golf carts or ATVs, with the occasional vehicle driving around. You can rent a golf cart or bicycle to tour the island, but you don’t need it truthfully.

There are a few restaurants on KTGI, and we tried our luck with Fisherman’s Corner to have the crabcake platter. I’m no crabcake connoisseur, but these had to be the best crabcakes we’ve ever had! The ratio for most crabcakes seems to be 50% bread and 50% crab meat (not imitation is you’re lucky). These were slightly smaller than a Bose A20 earcup and about 90% real crabmeat and 10% bread. So for $16.99, you get this sweet seared crabcake (not deep-fried) on a potato roll with a choice of side.

Several club members have visited KTGI and can share details about their experiences and restaurant recommendations. However, we’re looking forward to our next trip to KTGI for another crabcake platter…and maybe some ice cream at Spanky’s Place.

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