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anna_moon Chincoteague - A travel report by Polly
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Chincoteague,  United States - flag United States -  Virginia
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anna_moon's travel reports

Misty and more

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Page: 1 2

Misty of Chincoteague statue
Misty of Chincoteague statue
Virginia’s eastern shore is a peninsula separated from the rest of the state by the Chesapeake Bay. Located on the Virginia-Maryland border, the island town of Chincoteague was made famous by the children’s book ‘Misty of Chincoteague’ by Marguerite Henry. Though the story is fictional, the wild ponies of Assateague are quite real. Once a year these ponies are rounded up and driven across the channel by the local fire department to be auctioned off (ponies not sold are returned to the island). Tourists overrun the island for the week of the auction, but for the rest of the season it remains a pleasant, laid back place to vacation.

Favourite spots:
Great Egret on wildlife loop
Great Egret on wildlife loop
Assateague Island is a National Seashore, and offers two different experiences. While the beach is quite different from commercial Virginia Beach to the south, it still attracts crowds unusual for parkland. The dunes are still kept clean, and changing rooms and toilets are available. The other island attraction is the wildlife loop, which you can walk or bike. The pretty costal scenery is guaranteed, but you might also spot deer, Canada geese, ibises, egrets, rabbits, or the famous ponies. The red and white striped lighthouse is open a few weekends every year. Climb it for a great view of the island.

What's really great:
Wild ponies, from our canoe
Wild ponies, from our canoe
The house we rented was on a small bay off the channel and came with its own canoe (we brought a second one along). While canoeing early one morning, we came across a group of wild ponies drinking the brackish channel water. We stopped about ten yards away to watch them. Their bellies were round from drinking the water, and several little ones were there with their mothers.

Accommodations:
Our rental on Little Oyster Bay, far right
Our rental on Little Oyster Bay, far right
Rentals are widely available. There are also many campsites, both on Chincoteague and Assateague. If you'd like to stay in a hotel, the Isalnd Motor Inn overlooks the channel, and has an indoor pool for the off-season.

You can find hotels, rentals, and campsite links at http://www.chincoteague.com/

Restaurants:
Chesapeake Bay crabs, $35 for a half bushel
Chesapeake Bay crabs, $35 for a half bushel
Seafood is an obvious choice on the eastern shore, but two of our favorites were AJ’s Creekside Restaurant (semi-formal dining), Chincoteague Channel Inn (perfect for families). We also stopped by Gary Howard Seafood to pick up ½ bushel of crabs and had them with corn from a roadside stand (the local produce is great). Another must-buy is the salt-water taffy from Ponytails.

Other recommendations:
Penned ponies by the Bike Depot
Penned ponies by the Bike Depot
The town center is small, and if you’re staying for a week or so, it’s nice to have a bicycle. Bring your own, or rent on Chincoteague. It’s an easy ride into town, and not much farther to the nature trail or the beach. Also, if you plan on driving to the beach (the easiest way to get there), you’ll need to buy a national park service pass when you enter.

Published on Tuesday January 20th, 2004


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Thu, Jan 22 2004 - 08:39 PM rating by whereisliz

As a young girl, I loved that book! Sounds like a great place to relax and enjoy nature... do you have any photos to add to your report?

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