Thursday, October 19, 2017

Assateague Island National Seashore

DSC_0360

I forgot to mention in my last post that, with the additional of Maryland to our map, we’ve completed the New England area of the country and we have just 5 states remaining to visit in the contiguous US.  We’ll have to make sure our travel plans take us through those last few states in the next year or so!

New Map_2

So, back to the weekend . . . Finally, as promised, Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day!  Nicolas had to go home in the afternoon, so we went to mass early so we would have more of the day to work with.

The Assateague Island National Seashore is home to a herd of wild horses, and just a few miles down the road from us, so that was our destination for the day.  We stopped in at the Visitor Center

IMG_5873










to get an idea of where to go, and Nicolas picked up his military annual national parks pass.

Assateague Island is partially state park, with a campground and beach, and partially national seashore, with several walking trails, campsites on the ocean side and the bay side, beach and an area for over sand driving.  Nicolas would have loved to go out on the sand with his truck, but this area requires an annual pass at a cost of $70 – too much for a one time visit!

DSC_0438

We were just driving through the state park on our way to the national park when we spotted our first wild horse.  He was walking along on the bike path, and park staff were following in a golf cart to keep him away from cars.

We continued on to the first of several trails, the Marsh Trail, and spotted a couple more horses along the road,

DSC_0363

DSC_0367











and several more out in the marsh.

Wild horses in the marsh

We walked along the Marsh Trail, where Tom and Nick were tormented by a huge seagull,

DSC_0377

DSC_0380










until Tom scared him away!

Seagull

There was a small Nature Center,

Nature Center

and the bay seemed to be a favorite location for windsurfers and parasurfers.

Windsurfer on the Bay

Parasurfers

Parasurfer

The next trail we came across was the Forest Trail,

Life of the Forest Trail

which took us through a pine forest into the marsh.  We didn’t see anymore horses, but plenty of evidence that they had been there!

There were plenty of birds, though --

pelicans,

Pelicans

egrets,

DSC_0416

and even a bald eagle at the top of one of the trees in the marsh.

Nicolas spotted an eagle in a tree

Bald Eagle

I zoomed in as much as I could with my camera, and then cropped the picture down as much as possible without making the picture too blurry.

It’s not really clear, but you can definitely tell it’s an eagle.







I took a few pictures of the marsh before we moved on to the ocean side of the island, and the dunes.

Assateague Bay

DSC_0419










The last trail was the Dunes Trail,

IMG_5875

which took us out on the dunes in a loop that passed by an old attempt at creating another boardwalk like Ocean City. 

IMG_5876

There are remnants of an asphalt road, and a few old pieces of building foundations, although most of it has been covered back up by sand.

IMG_5887

We continued along the trail, and at one point I was taking a picture of Nicolas while he was taking a picture of us!

Dunes trail

Dunes Trail

After the trail, we walked down to check out the beach.  It was low tide, so the beach was huge!

At the beach

Nice!

Beautiful Beach

IMG_5894












I actually end up in some of the pictures when we have Nicolas with us!

At the beach

There’s my junior photographer!

Tom & Nicolas

It was a beautiful day, and we really enjoyed exploring Assateague Island – in addition to the hiking trails, there’s also a bike trail along the entire length of the road through the state park and national park.  It would be a great place to bring bikes.

We were all getting a little hungry, so we headed into Ocean City for some dinner and then it was time for Nicolas to head home.

Sad smile

We were sad to see him go, but we’ll see him again in a few days when we arrive at his campground . . .  and we’ll be there for over a month!

Smile

Tom and I hung around for another day – rainy day Monday – and were rewarded with an amazing sunset . . . even if it was a little blustery and chilly again!

Sunset at our site

IMG_5919












Sunset over the Bay

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ocean City, MD–still a busy beach town, even in October

+

Rainy Maryland

As we left Lums Pond State Park and continued south through the Delmarva Peninsula, we picked up some rain as we got closer to Maryland.  It wasn’t coming down too hard, and we only had about 110 miles to travel, so it wasn’t too bad.


Fortunately, we had a break in the rain as we arrived at Castaways RV in Ocean City, so we were able to get set up and take Casey for a walk around the resort before it started up again.


We walked down by the beach and you could really feel the cold front moving in – it was a cold and blustery day!

The beach at Castaway RV Park

Tiki Bar










After our walk we went back inside the warm RV and I put on a batch of spaghetti sauce for dinner.   Mmm!

We woke up to drizzle on Saturday morning, but kept our hopes up that it would clear by noon, as the weathermen promised.  Nicolas called at 7:30 to let us know he was on his way!

He arrived at 10, and after getting caught up on what he’s been up to, I made us some brunch and we headed down to the boardwalk in Ocean City.  The rain had stopped, but it was still cloudy.

Ocean City Boardwalk

We walked along the boardwalk and beach, and we were surprised at the number of people there on this rather dismal October weekend.  There was some type of kite show going on,

Kites on the beach

Kite demonstration

It's a flying pig!

bubbles!,

Big bubbles

and some type of ultimate frisbee competition.

We walked along the beach – it was a nice beach, and the hotels along the beach look pretty nice, too.

Hotels on the beach

Glad to have the boy home for a few days!











Ocean Gallery

The boardwalk was very nice, too – lots of your typical tourist shops and restaurants . . . lots of stuff on sale, too . . . if we needed T-shirts, we would have been in luck!

We did buy some salt water taffy, though . . . can’t go to the beach and not get taffy!  Dolle’s – it was REALLY good!  We had to get more later to take with us!





We had heard from some folks in the campground that there was a Corvette show going on at the boardwalk, too . . . as we walked, we kept seeing more and more people in Corvette shirts, and at the end of the boardwalk we finally found them.

Lots of Corvettes

They were all getting lined up for a parade at 4pm.

Rows and rows of Corvettes











The majority of the cars were newer Corvettes, but there were a few really nice older models, too!

Nice Stingray

Nice!











A couple of nice older Corvetttes

We debated whether we should stick around for the parade or not, but Tom was getting hungry and our parking time was about to run out, so we decided to head over to Berlin, where there was an Oktoberfest going on, and get some lunch there.

There were a couple of bands playing in the streets,

One of the bands at Oktoberfest

The German Band











and breweries offering beer tasting.

Tasting a few beers

I’m not a beer drinker, so I passed on that, but Tom and Nicolas did some sampling and each got a beer with their lunch.

IMG_5866

After lunch and looking around through the few shops in town, we debated going back to the boardwalk for the Corvette parade, but Nicolas said he would rather go back to the campground to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Halloween decor

In the dragon;s lair











It was the first of the campground’s three Halloween weekends, and there was a fair amount of kids around for the festivities.

Tom and Nick were ready for them!

Ready for the trick-or-treaters

The rain held off for a couple hours, but then the drizzle started again, driving us inside for the rest of the evening.

Meanwhile back in Michigan, Bryce and several thousand of his fellow MSU students were camping out with the basketball team and Coach Tom Izzo.

Lots of students at the campout!

Lots of tents at the campout










Bryce and friends with Coach Izzo

(That’s my bearded son in the Piggly Wiggly shirt!)

Looks like he had a good time!