The Gwynns Island Museum has put together a number of incredibly informative books about the island, one of which is "Chimes from the Chesapeake: Life on Gwynn's Island Before the Civil War" by May Evergreen (pen name for Elizabeth Ellen Hill). Her family, originally from New Hampshire, bought 350 acres on the southeastern end of the island in the mid 1800s, on what was then known as Buckschase.
A quote from her articles written in the 1850s pretty well summarizes the island even today. The following is from page 1 of the book:
"...Having too much faith in humanity to fear a rude repulse from the friends of past days, I have bethought me that some few chimes from the Chesapeake might not be entirely without interest to those who are somewhat unfamiliar with this powerful daughter of old ocean.
Chesapeake, signifying "mother of the waters" according to Indian lore, is a name well befitting the broad and magnificent bay, all bright and beautiful in its tranquility, but wild and fearfully awful when the "winds are all abroad" and are working wrath and mischief upon the waters.
Turbulent and tempestuous as she may be at times, this "mother of waters" casts her arms most protectingly around our fair islet resting as a bright jewel upon her bosom.
Gwynn's Island! How many are there who never heard the name; and among those too who are reckoned the wise ones of the earth, there are very many who have ever been utterly ignorant of this locality.
To those who are fond of the minutia in detail I would say, this gem of an island stands 37 1/2 degrees north of the equator, is in Mathews County, Virginia, is separated from the main by Milford Haven, a lovely and lively limb of the Chesapeake, not more than half a mile at its narrowest portion, and is one of the prettiest sheets of water that ever sparkled in the sunbeams, or danced the tempest to the music of the wild winds."
And to that Chesapeake Bay Woman says, some 150+ years later,