Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Assateague Island’

An Explosive Adventure on Assateague Island

My family & I just spent another wonderful week on Chincoteague Island & enjoyed the Assateague Island National Seashore. I love it here! Life moves at a slow pace & the native islanders embrace their wildlife with care. It’s truly amazing how much peace and serenity can be found on the Virginia side of Assateague.

Family and friends alike questioned us as to why we would make such a long drive just to come to a beach. The trip took us over 16hrs from east Tennessee. The most popular beach destination for most east Tennesseeans is Myrtle Beach (a 6hr drive). Here’s why we drive so far for so long:
1. Commercialization – there is very little on Chincoteague! There are no skyscraper hotels, condos, or timeshares on the beach. There is no boardwalk consisting of stores & restaurants repeating themselves for miles.
2. Chaos – there is none here!
3. The best hotel on the small island is the Best Western where they cook a mean breakfast each morning!
4. I’ve only seen 3 franchise establishments! Ledo’s, McDonald’s, and Sunsation. That’s it! Everything else is mom & pop 🙂
5. It’s clean
6. My husband has no cell phone service (which means he can’t work).
7. The wildlife is abundant & protected.
8. The whole town shuts down by 10pm. There’s no worries of loud noises late at night.
9. It’s peaceful
10. There’s no pressure or stress. There’s no crowded beach!

We did experience a tad of excitement two days while at the beach while the bomb squad detonated bombs that appeared on shore on the Maryland side of Assateague. My husband & I discussed what the large booms could be. Later in the evening, we discovered it wasn’t a sonic boom, but bombs!! You can read about it here

What can I say? Adventure tends to follow us 😉

Adventure in the Chincoteague Bay

While on the Island, a popular question asked by tourists is “what is there to do on this small island?”  The answer to this question literally cracked me up: Catch crabs! What? The good news is antibiotics or other medications are not needed if you catch crabs here. 🙂

On the bay side of the Island there are docks available for public use & a fishing license is not needed. Many forms of life thrive in the bay. There are crabs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, billions of variations of snails, and much more.
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A couple of mornings/evenings Nick & I watched the fiddler crabs perform their mating dance rituals. These dances are composed of the male, with his one oversized claw, waving it wildly in the air. He pranced back & forth waving this club claw to show his manhood for the females delight. Once he’s caught the eye of that special female, he hopes she’ll pick him over the hundreds of other males dancing. Childish delight swallowed me & I asked playfully, “Could I take one home?”
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In Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, fishing is bountiful and no license is required also. We bought a net, some raw chicken, a crab line and off to the park we went 🙂 This is where we went crabbing. While there, a boy came to us and asked us if we were trying to catch crabs just before the sun began to set. Nick answered him that we were & this young man wished us luck. He said he’d been trying to crab there for years & had not done well. He took his fishing pole and walked away from us along the small dock.
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Within 30 minutes, the dock began to clear out. The other fishers began to leave and take their catches with them. Some people were drinking beer, some people were sharing a moment with each other, and other people were teaching their kids how to crab or fish. Steadily, they all left the dock except the boy we met and his 2 friends.
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After dangling our chicken leg in the bay for a few minutes, the crabs started to swim by us. Even though daylight was leaving us, we could still see the crabs skimming the water nearby. We caught a few small crabs here and there.  It was peaceful and quiet. (Our boys did not go with us. They had other agendas for the evening. I think they were looking the island for girls.) There was one blue crab that we caught over and over again. We would admire him, take pictures, then send him back home to the ocean water in the bay. This little booger kept coming back to us. He was like an attention needy child wanting to be admired. Perhaps we flattered him? 🙂
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After all daylight had disappeared, the moonlight brought out the more unique and larger sea life. We saw a beautiful blue/green light in the water.  several times when bringing our net in, we had caught cute little jellyfish. They had no color when out of the water, but when the net was submerged again, the jellyfish began to light up. They were small and graceful. I was thankful I had not seen any of them while in the ocean. I knew they were out there, but not seeing them made the ocean water more enjoyable. I decided Jellyfish are show-offs. They wanted to be admired. The way they lit up for us, danced, and would not leave our area said it all…either that or they like chicken 🙂 image

Nick called to me, “Chrissy!  You have to come see this!!” He was standing over near teenage boys. They had caught something very large. Through teamwork, they managed to bring the large thing across the water line of the dock and they were coming straight at me. I looked over. It was a gorgeous sting ray! Her underside was white and her top was a deep brown color. Her tail whipped and swung from side to side. The boy’s rod was bent under the weight of such a large creature. They handed the pole from one boy to another as they made their way across the dock to the boat landing. She was too heavy to pull straight up out of the water.  Once she was docked, one boy stood on her tail/barb while the other boy gently removed the fishing hook from her back. They turned her over, checking to make sure she was okay and poured water from the bay into her breathing holes. We snapped some pictures and touched her. Then the sweet boy petted her and encouraged her back into the water safely.  I asked the boy his name: Jess.
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“Jess, you did a great job with  that beautiful sting ray!!”, I bragged.
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Shortly after the stingray had been released, the boys were all calling out to me. “Hey, Hey lady. Wanna see?” They brought me an eel to admire that they caught on their line. It looked like a huge slimy earthworm snake thingy.  I took pictures and gave them another pat on the back. We ended our crabbing adventure not long after that. image

It was a wonderful bay adventure!

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Island Bliss

We began our vacation travel by crossing over the Tennessee Valley, up the Appalachian Mountains, down & across the Chesapeake Bay, arriving on the most beautiful, un-commercialized, friendly, and natural Island.

This vacation was a learning experience for many reasons & I praise God for It. This is where we crossed several items off our bucket list, including:

1. See a beach on the east coast of the US
2. Walk on sand barefoot
4. See a sun set at a beach on the east coast
74. Swim in the ocean.
81. Drive underwater while having lunch in a car
83. Have a picnic on a grassy green medium in the middle of 2 roads.
88. Travel to & spend the night on an island
117. See a lighthouse up close, touch it, climb it
118. Wear a bathing suit in public

As on any island or shore line, Assateague Island has a Lighthouse. It’s the pretty red spiral one I kept pictures of for many years. I never would’ve dreamed that I would travel & really see it 🙂 Seeing wasn’t enough, I touched it too. 🙂 On the climb up, there are wide spaces made passable for 2-way traffic. Windows adorned those platform areas, each holding a piece of history & an independently gorgeous view. We paid a very small fee & climbed 198 steps to reach the top. Nick & Josh conquered a nervous fear of heights on that day as they made it to the top proudly. We received a sticker for our bravery & were awarded a lovely view of both islands. Wild ponies frolliced in the marsh pastures below and the birds shared their air space with us in the sky. Peace-tranquility-faith-honor-happiness flooded my being.

90% of the people we met were “Back home” friendly. It was as though our southern hospitality followed us, yet the people were much nicer than back home in Tennessee. Every islander had a smile to share & was genuinely happy to see the new visitors in their home town (even on a holiday weekend). Amazing!!

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The ocean was gentle and the beach was clean. Even the vast array of crabs were friendly, each one politely moving aside to allow sun seekers a place to lay their towel or step their foot where they trod. I had been warned about the sea gulls & how they would swoop down and borrow any sandwich in sight. But, even they were gentle & polite. They flew overhead & landed several feet away, watching for dropped food or discarded leftovers. From time to time they would get tired of food staring and take flight again, proclaiming “mine, mine, mine”! I was experiencing heaven on earth 🙂
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It seemed as though everyone had an Attitude of Gratitude for the serene setting on these two islands and I was very impressed by the honesty all over. Families of all sizes, back grounds, and states were present. Even though the beach seemed to fill up, there was still at least 25ft of space per family available each day & some days even more!

I absolutely loved Chincoteague & Assateague Islands!

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Virginia’s only Island Resort

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Our first family vacation was taken on Virginia’s only Island Resort. It’s a beautiful township where the citizens take pride in their community. This island is small, yet has something to offer everyone (especially adventures). I will break up the resort descriptions into a couple (or more) post, because let’s face it…no one likes to read an article a mile long 🙂

The name of my two favorite Islands are Chincoteague and Assateague Island. A connector bridge takes would be sun-seekers from one Island to the other. image

On the way to this serene escape, we travelled across Virginia. We entered and exited some of the other popular beach get-aways: Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Hampton, etc.

We traded them all for another hour or more of driving to come to Chincoteague Island…and it was so worth it!
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WINDSTREWN

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