There are a few things you should know about the Eastern Shore if you’re going to explore the back roads and dusty lanes that lead to many of the most beautiful spots up and down both coasts of our peninsula, and all points in between. However, for right now I’m going to stick with the basics. We’re going to operate on the assumption that somewhere along the road you’re either going to get lost or hear about some place that you know you’ll never find on your own. When this happens you’re going to need directions. If you need directions, then you’re going to need to understand how the Eastern Shore compass works. While the rest of the world operates on a simple North, South, East, West template, we like to do things a little differently here on the Shore. North and South are “Up the Road” and “Down the Road” respectively. Down may be pronounced in such a way that it rhymes with “moan”. East and West are of course “Seaside” and “Bayside”. Think of it as our version of port and starboard. At least it’s better than “river-left” and “river-right”. Armed with this knowledge, you now have the a major tool to help decipher Eastern Shore directions.
“You want to go up the road a bit until you get to Joan and Larry’s Then head Seaside through Exmore and take the turn there at the old mall before you get to the bank. Keep on ‘till the end of the road, and just past EL Willis you’ll see the clam farm on the left. Once you cross the creek turn around to your left and you’ll see my boat between Mooch's and Little Grub's”
From the lower part of the Shore, this will get you to the harbor in Willis Wharf if you can figure out that “Joan and Larry’s” went out of business a few years ago, and “EL Willis” now has a sign out front that says “Stella’s”.
That’s the other thing about Eastern Shore directions. Quite often the landmarks that are used are things that used to be there. Odds are, if you remember any of these places, you don’t actually need directions to get to where you’re going. But that’s the way things work around here. I guess it helps keep our back roads free of Sunday drivers, or maybe they’re all doing laps at the end of the road in Saxis trying to figure out how to get back across the marsh.
Oh yeah, and don’t trust anyone who gives you driving directions to Tangier.