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“For Sale” Is A Sign Of The Times On Virginia’s Tangier Island


There’s something new on Virginia’s Tangier Island these days. For sale signs are popping up in front of the quaint homes that have been in watermen’s families for generations. Many residents are selling and heading for the mainland, setting the stage for a possible cultural shift in the Chesapeake Bay island community.

“I see the complexion of Tangier changing as people leave, many of them for different reasons,” said Dan Eskridge, a Tangier Island native and real estate agent for United Country/Bay River Realty in Callao, Virginia.

“Long time watermen are leaving and getting jobs on tug boats and other jobs that provide benefits and give them more of a future.”

Eskridge, who spent 25 years as a Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) officer, said many watermen complain about the ever increasing state and federal regulations that make them “slaves to the bureaucracy.” Eskridge’s older brother, a commercial waterman on Tangier Island most of his life, recently quit, complaining it is no longer the proud way to make a living it used to be.

“When I first started with VMRC there may have been 10 or 15 regulations on the books. Now they have a regulation for everything,” Eskridge said.

Real estate listings on Tangier were once a rarity, but today Eskridge said he has seven listings. And he doubts that it will be other watermen who end up buying these homes.

“In the next decade you’re going to see less commercial seafood harvesting activity on Tangier as the island becomes more of a weekend retreat. If there’s such a thing as a rat race, Tangier Island would have to be the exact opposite. There’s definitely a market for that,” Eskridge said.

ABOUT DAN ESKRIDGE: Dan Eskridge is a native of Tangier Island, a graduate of James Madison University and a 25-year veteran of VMRC. He is currently an associate with Bay River Realty in Callao, Virginia.

Mr. Eskridge is available for an interview at (804) 529-5000 ( He can also escort you to Tangier Island for a visit, if that would prove helpful to your story.

ABOUT UNITED COUNTRY/BAY RIVER REALTY: United Country/Bay River Realty is a full service real estate firm serving the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of eastern Virginia. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the company will host a total of 40 open houses on May 20, including seven homes on Tangier Island. More information about the firm and the event is online at


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