New Documentary Highlights Remote US Island Cut Off from Modern Life

An intriguing documentary provides insight into the daily lives of people living on an isolated US island that has been primarily unspoiled since the arrival of the first inhabitants over 400 years ago.

Only around 200 people live on Smith Island in Maryland because of its isolation, antiquated condition, and worries about increasing sea levels.

Video maker Peter Santenello spent a day there with local Jerry Smith as his guide to learn more about the enigmatic place with meager real estate prices.

Jerry’s primary source of income on Smith Island has been crab fishing, which began in the early 1700s.

Ewell, a little village that serves as the “capital,” is where Peter lands after boarding a boat from the mainland.

Postal service, a Methodist church, a fire station, and a community center are all located there.

According to the island’s official website, visitors should carry cash because Smith Island does not have any ATMs.

Furthermore, it mentions that the mobile phone coverage is ‘ spotty or not at all’ but that a new high-speed internet link is being installed with roughly $2 million in state funding.

The documentary shows several residences that seem to be in a state of decay; Jerry specifically mentions one property where he claims he has never seen someone living in all the time he has spent there.

The island’s strange policy of not selling alcohol belies the fact that guests are free to bring their own to “enjoy in moderation.”

According to Jerry, they can have as many as one hundred visitors daily throughout the summer.

In the documentary, Jerry reveals that some of the properties on Smith Island are available for as little as $5,000.

Although he acknowledges that some houses are dilapidated and require repairs, he emphasizes that the land isn’t going anywhere.

Jerry informs the viewers that when he first arrived, there were 100 ‘watermen’ (crabbers) on Smith Island, but now he estimates that number to be closer to 20.

The island’s population is aging; only three children live there, and they go to school on the mainland.

The feeling is very much like living “off the grid,” and for some, it is a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. For others, it is paradise.