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Hooked on Tancook

A Rug Hooker Moves to a Tiny Offshore Island, Falls in Love With Her New Home, And Rediscovers Her Art

By: Hetty Van Gurp
Updated August 19, 2021
Hooked on Tancook

Big Tancook Islanders take pride in their home. They embody the island’s deep-rooted legacy of skilled boat builders, exceptional cabbage farmers, and prolific rug hookers. The distinctive Tancook schooner is still highly sought after, even though the renowned Mason’s Boat Shop closed in the mid-1970s. Some say that 25-pound cabbages on Tancook were not uncommon 50 years ago. (Today, farming and even backyard gardening are far too challenging because of the overabundance of deer.) And, while in years gone by almost every household had at least one person who hooked rugs, until very recently, only a handful of residents still continued this particular Tancook tradition.


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