This remnant from back in the day stood until recently in front of a long, squat building on Elliott’s Island, one of the most remote outposts on the Eastern Shore. To get there, you turn south at Vienna, in Dorchester County, and keep going for about 20 miles.
By the time you arrive, it will feel like you’ve reached the end of the world.
The drive is flat-out gorgeous. But it does require a smidge of advance preparation. Check your gas gauge, for instance. And check your appetite, too. You will not find any modern conveniences on the way.
The island is a 1.5-mile wide spit of high land between the Nanticoke River on one side and Fishing Bay on the other. Hundreds of people used to call it home. Only a few dozen do so nowadays.
Miss Nora was a legendary figure in island life. She opened her store in 1958, and she ran the place seven days a week straight through to her 96th year, in 1997.
The writer Hal Roth once recalled: “I remember when she told the island watermen that they would have to start getting their gas before 9:00 p.m. because she wasn’t going to open at 3 a.m. any longer. I dearly loved the gal.”
You can read more about Miss Nora in Hal’s book, “You Can’t Never Get to Puckum.” You can also check out this post reminiscing about childhood visits to Miss Nora’s by a blogger who calls herself Faith the Island Girl.
But the best way to get a feel for life on Elliott’s Island is to go ahead and make that turn to the south at Vienna and just go see the place for yourself. When I first posted this item in 2015, the gas pump pictured up top here was still standing. I hear tell that it has sense been removed from in front of the store.
BONUS TIPS: As of spring 2015, there is a new store open three days a week on the island, selling all manner of antiques, books, and such. It’s called the Upper Store, and here is the store’s Facebook page. Also, be sure to stop in Vienna and stroll the Nanticoke River waterfront there. There is lovely park and promenade that parallels Water Street.
—Written by Jim Duffy
NOTES: The photos here are all by Jill Jasuta Photography.