Chincoteague And Assateague Islands

We left Tangier on the early ferry with the plans of exploring Onancock or surrounding areas. I quickly learned that Chincoteague and Assateague were not that far away.  I hate to admit it but I thought Assateague was in OBX. I did know that it was where they held the annual wild pony run, but I did not realize it was a wild life refuge. It was a good thing we didn’t have Wylie with us because they don’t allow pets.

I’ve never heard of watch “birds”, but this guy was not moving! Or maybe he just liked getting his picture taken!

These piles that look like gravel mounds are oyster beds.

These oyster beds are located at Queen’s sound, right as you cross the bridge over to Chincoteague. Chincoteague is commercialized much like OBX. We saw a lot of bike and mini car rentals. They had these really cool little three wheel topless cars for rental. We considered stopping and doing just that, but it was way too hot!

Even though it was hot enough to cook on the sidewalk, we decided to walk the trail to the Assateague lighthouse. Right as we got there, they were ending tours of the inside of the lighthouse. Honestly, I really didn’t want to be  stifled with heat climbing the stairs anyway. We took a few pictures and moved on. I did learn that the two 1000 watt lamps double flash every five seconds. I am a little confused. I know that these islands border both Virginia and Maryland. I thought we crossed over Chincoteague to get to Assateague. The light house is considered Assateague, and then we moved on the wildlife refuge center which is considered Chincoteague. But anyway, it’s not unusual for me to be in a state of confusion anyway! We went on to the visitors center. We did not have our bikes, so therefore we had to either walk or drive the trails. The very nice volunteer lady named Charlotte filled us with a tremendous amount of bird and tour knowledge. She was obviously a bird lover and told us which trails to take to see what. I really just wanted to see the wild ponies. A returning walker told us exactly where she had just seen ten ponies. We decided to follow Charlotte’s advice and drive most of the tour and park and walk the wild life loop that runs to where they pen the ponies.

This squirrel put on quite a show for us. He even posed for me. I refused to take his picture as I have tons of squirrels in my yard. Dirt Man pointed out that he was a rare Grey Fox Squirrel. So, then I wanted to take his picture and he was done. Dirt Man got this shot. He was about the size of a house cat.

See the parched and cracking ground. That area usually has water in it, but it ahs been a hot and dry season.

We walking quietly, listening for the ponies. They had problems earlier in the day with the ponies escaping from the coral. We kept hearing like clapping or thumping noise through the woods. The hotter I got the more menacing the trees started looking. See, I love trees and think they are each unique and beautiful. Linda thinks trees are evil, and I couldn’t get it out of my head, and then I saw this tree that looked like it had a serpent head sticking out of the trunk. I took this picture just for her.

What’s missing from this picture? That’s right ponies! I was peeved! This is the coral where they are supposed to be. They must have escaped AGAIN! Apparently, they were not looking forward to that swim scheduled a few days a way! We had walked the short trail about 1.2 miles and was going to take it back, but since we didn’t see the ponies, we decided to walk the whole 3.2 mile loop in the extreme heat and did not see a single pony! We did however see some droppings they left behind. I tried to get Dirt Man to use his nature skills by touching and sniffing like the cowboys on television do. He did not comply with my wishes. Yet, just another disappointment. We kept seeing these trails that veered off. Dirt Man would say, “Let’s go see where it leads. There aren’t any signs saying we can’t!” I think they just figured no one would be stupid enough to want to walk any farther! This is where one of them lead.

Yes, it led to the beach. I should have known it was going to the water. As soon as we ducked into those woods, mosquitos came from every direction and rode on my arms. Of course, they decided that I was dinner, even though we had sprayed down with bug spray. I am not kidding you that at any given time I would have ten to fifteen on each arm! We are guessing this little cabin in the water is a place for duck hunters. It appears to only be accessible by boat.

The closer we got mainland the less mosquitos there were. Although we didn’t see any ponies, we saw tons of terns, gulls, and wading birds. Birds just don’t thrill me though. The refuge was established to provide habitat for migrating birds, but it is famous for the annual Assateague wild pony swim. We went on a Friday, and the swim was scheduled for the following Tues or Wednesday. They had rounded up and coraled them. Why did we not see any? Maybe, they were hiding. I was disappointed as it was my whole point of wanting to go there. However, we did discover that they have a fabulous bike trail. I think we might go back just to do some biking.

After all of the crab and seafood from our stay at Tangier, we really wanted beef. We found a restaurant and had prime rib. It was wonderful! Even though I didn’t get to see the ponies, I did have a fun time (except for the mosquitos gnawing on my arms!) with Dirt Man and enjoyed walking through the woods with him. Below is the lovely sunset we saw on our way home.

~ When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

27 thoughts on “Chincoteague And Assateague Islands

  1. That is a great shot of the bird.

    I had to look up OBX.

    That squirrel is HUGE.

    Sorry you missed the ponies. That would have been a highlight for me too.

    I love your pictures. Is my (our) vacation over?

  2. I’m so glad your vacation went well. It definately looks like a place I would love to go, so thanks for all the gorgeous pics to entice me!

  3. It’s funny, because as you were describing the heat, I could actually feel it. Hasn’t this summer been a HOT one? And from what I’ve been hearing from so many people, it’s been like that everywhere this year.

    OMG…..I LOVE the photo of the squirrel!!! His pose is adorable! I love squirrels more than my own life! To me, they’re the cutest damn things. I’ve never seen a grey fox squirrel. Holy cow…the size of a house cat?? I think I’d have to kidnap him and take him home – HA!

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and great narrative. Enjoyed!


  4. Loved the sunset pic. What a lovely way to end the vacay. I would have also been peeved to miss the ponies. We saw them when we went to Ocracoke but that has been a LONG time ago.

  5. I have been living vicariously through your blog posts while I’m laid up! The photos are amazing, and I personally love squirrels! They are so cute! Thanks for taking us along your vacation with you!

  6. Ohhh, I love lighthouses! How beautiful!

    Really liked the sea pictures too, but walking in the heat, looking for the urban legend ponies? What an adventure! Ha. I am like Dirtman. I like to see where the trails go. But those mosquitoes – Yikes!

    Great trip! I loved it and now I got the fever to go. 🙂

  7. the water tower is amazing,
    love the bird image…
    you have explored so many places,
    which is a rich credit for your life experiences.
    lovely post!
    Happy Tuesday!

  8. I went to a science camp at Assateague (or maybe it was Chincoteague?) when I was in high school. It was so beautiful there but the mosquitoes started in for me the minute I got out of the van.

  9. Oh wow- look at that lighthouse! It’s breathtaking… Looks like you had a great time Suzicate and thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures! 🙂

  10. What an awesome adventure! Well, aside from being feasted on by a bunch of blood-thirsty mosquitos, that is. Too bad you didn’t get to see the ponies. I love all the pictures, especially the lighthouse!

  11. That first pic and the lighthouse were my favs, but all the pics were great. That squirrel was just so darn cute!

    I must say you have the best vacations ever! You two are so spontanious and adventurous.

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