Assateague Island National Seashore is partly in Maryland, which we visited in the fall, and partly in Virginia, on Chincoteague Island, which we visited this weekend.
The two areas are completely different – the Maryland side feels much more remote, although there are state and national campgrounds, and hiking trails where the wild horses wander and can be seen fairly close.
On the Virginia side, Chincoteague Island is very commercialized with a downtown area, hotels, campgrounds, restaurants and shopping. Then you enter the Chincoteague NWR which is very remote where the horses are located, but it’s much harder to see them because they are kept away from the public areas of the refuge.
The closest we could get to the ponies
We didn’t have a lot of time to explore because we needed to get back to Kiptopeke before the Friday afternoon crowds started arriving, and we wanted to get lunch in Chincoteague, but we did take a drive out to check out the beach.
It was a nice beach, and there were lots of people out there enjoying the beautiful day.
We stopped in at the Visitor Center to talk to the volunteers (no on-site RV volunteers), and watched the movie that talked about the two herds of wild horses on Assateague Island.
It was very interesting to see the differences in how the two herds are managed. In Maryland, the herd is pretty much allowed to manage itself, although the mares are vaccinated to allow them to only have one foal each.
In Virginia, the herd size is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, and the herd size is maintained at 150 horses by rounding them up every summer and auctioning off a selection of young horses. The horses make the swim across to Chincoteague, where they are penned and counted, every year in July. We’re planning to make the trip back up there to see that – along with thousands of other people!
On the way out of the refuge, we stopped to take a look at the Assateague Light House. It was a short, 1/4 mile hike to the light and back, but we ad to power walk to keep from being carried away by mosquitoes!
It’s a pretty light house, but we just took a couple of quick pictures and got out of there – the mosquitos were brutal!
Hopefully when we come back later in the summer it won’t be so bad, and we can spend more time looking around.
We got a quick lunch at the Chincoteague Diner, and made it back to Kiptopeke by 3pm.
We built a campfire in the evening, and introduced Tom;s Dad to cooking on the fire – italian sausages and hot dogs.
On Saturday afternoon, Nicolas came out and we took him out for a nice birthday dinner in Cape Charles, followed by birthday pie.
The next morning, we had bacon and some special pancakes that I saw on facebook – cinnamon roll pancakes.
They were really easy to make . . . and Yummy!
Sunday was a beautiful, calm day on the Chesapeake Bay, and we sat down by the pier for a while, watching the fishermen and boats on the bay.
Nicolas spent most of the day with us, and then headed home. We saw him again for dinner on Tuesday when we took Dad over to the airport to fly home.
Meanwhile back in Michigan, Bryce was playing in the mud!
He and some friends from school volunteered at and ran in the Tough Mudder. It was his 2nd time, and he said it went pretty well – they finished anyway!