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Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

A Valentines Weekend Getaway

sunny 35 °F
View Chincoteague and Assateague Islands on BryanG's travel map.

After a week of record snowfall in the DC area and being trapped at home, Hilary and I took a budget Valentines Weekend trip to Chincoteague Island for a few days. We stayed in a Hampden Inn, swam in the indoor pool, and spend Sunday walking around Assateague Island. There are two islands BTW - Chincoteague, where the town is, and over a bridge, Assateague, which is the Wildlife Refuge.

As some of you may know, Chincoteague is where Marguerite Henry's famous children's book "Misty of Chincoteague" is set. I had never heard of it before going to out there, but apparently if you are an 8 year old girl you have read it. It is about wild ponies that live on Assateague Island, and once a year the herd is driven across the bay - forced to swim I guess - and then some of the healthy ones are sold off. I guess that is what they call culling the herd...

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A few of the wild ponies wandering along the road - don't touch! They look calm, but they will kill you as soon as look at you

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Assateague Island is a National Wildlife Refuge and has lovely large wetlands full of birds, long unspoiled coastline, and some wooded areas. Your tax money at work!

http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=51570

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Hilary scans the horizon for ponies

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A sighting in the distance!

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Ponies

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When we did come across a few on the road, Hilary kept her distance for fear of wild pony attacks

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Very scary!

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A few odd things on the island - one wonders what sort of event forced the Department of the Interior to erect such a sign

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There are a number of raised birding platforms

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The birds are much more interesting than the ponies - here is an Egret - one of my favorites

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After walking around the wetlands for a few hours, we emerged at a totally empty beach - gorgeous!

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What would a walk on the beach on Valentines Day be like without a heart? (even if it is 35 degrees and windy...)

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Finally, on our way back to the hotel, we couldn't resist a stop to visit the Top Hat Shrimp at the Shrimp Shack

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Well, thats it. If you have chance to get out to Chincoteague in the off-season, we highly recommend it! Its only four hours from DC, and the Hamden Inn is really inexpensive and very nice. And birds, oh my, the birds. I can only imagine what it is like in the Spring and Fall....

Posted by BryanG 19:04 Archived in USA Tagged ecotourism

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