Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Hanging out with the Chincoteague ponies

Gathering of ponies

So, besides getting some of the best saltwater taffy ever, our reason for spending a couple days in Ocean City on our way out of the Delmarva Peninsula was so that we could head down to the 93rd Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim.

We were really looking forward to it – watching the ponies make the swim across the channel,

Fullscreen capture 7312018 84015 PMand then the parade through town to the festival grounds, where the next day the new ponies would be auctioned off – some going home with new families, and others being donated back to the fire department to live in the wild an Assateague Island with the herd.

The swim was planned between 8am & 10am on Wednesday, and we woke up bright & early for the hour drive down to Chincoteague . . . to pouring rain! 

We listened to the rain, checked radar maps, and debated whether we should make the drive, or not.  We ultimately decided to go, but didn’t get on the road until 7:30, knowing that we may likely miss the swim.  I was checking the Facebook page while we drove, and just before we arrived on Chincoteague Island, the ponies started their swim.

Watching the swim on Facebook live

The swim only takes about 5 – 10 minutes, so we knew we had missed it, so we headed right over to the Festival grounds to wait for them to arrive.

I was able to get a few photos later from the Fire Department’s Facebook page.

Arriving on Chincoteague Island

Successful swim

It turns out that from Veterans Memorial Park, you can only see the swim on a big screen.  In order to see the horses in person, you have to wade into the marsh, about thigh-deep in mud.  No thanks – I don’t think we would have been up for that!

We waited downtown for the parade to start, as the ponies rested up form their swim.

Munching on marsh grass

Resting after the swim

About an hour after we arrived, the pony parade started.

Here come the ponies!

The ponies were accompanied by the Saltwater Cowboys.

Saltwater Cowboys

The new foals were intermingled with the adults of the herd.

Pretty ponies

More ponies

They didn’t seem fazed at all by the crowd watching and cheering them on.



(The dark horse with the blond mane in the photo above is Riptide – he’s the “king” of the herd, and father to multiple foals.  He’s a beautiful horse!)

The last group of ponies

Bringing up the rear, the newest foal was too small to walk that far, so he got a ride in the trailer.

Newest baby getting a ride int he trailer


At the end of the parade, the ponies were all taken to the large corral at the Festival grounds.  We took a few minutes to get some breakfast at a local restaurant, and it was a good thing we went there first – after we were seated the crowd hit, and they were lined up out the door!  Tom had french toast, and I had blueberry pancakes (the Chincoteague Blueberry Festival had just wrapped up) – YUM!

After our breakfast, we walked back to the pony corral.

The adults concentrate on eating

Most of the adults were eating, while most of the babies were resting, or just looking around at all the people looking at them.

Just watching us



These four look like the neighborhood patrol.

They don't seem to like the crowds

But the really popular spot was the hay bales.

Looks like they're all in a huddle


I read on the Fire Department’s Facebook page that there were 57 foals this year;  10 of them were designated as Buybacks, which meant that the winning bidder got naming rights but that the pony would be returned to the herd.  The others would go home with their winning bidders.

The red tag on this pony designated it as a buyback foal.

Mares and Babies

The foals were so cute!

Little Baby




In many cases, the mares and foals were separated from their stallion.

They don't like being separated

These couple kept calling to each other, and the stallion would look up from where he was eating and run over to her.

Little Family

He was a feisty stallion, and after he saw her at the fence he would charge back into the crowd at the hay bale and make everybody scatter.

Then he would charge at the other stallion and make everybody scatter

He went up against Riptide several times while we were there watching, then he would run back over to the fence.

Then he would come back to the fence

Some looked like they were whispering secrets to each other.

Telling secrets

We loved watching the little families.

Another family gathering

So, even though we didn’t get to see the actual swim in person, it was cool to see the ponies as they paraded through town and relaxed in the corral, so we were glad we came.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Back on the Road–Ocean City, MD

Ocean City

Welcome to Maryland

Our original plan for when we left Kiptopeke was going to be to cross back over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, through Hampton and Richmond, and then taking I-64 through West Virginia and Kentucky, and then up into Indiana.

After talking to the other hosts at Kiptopeke, though, who are from Pennsylvania, they recommended that we travel north through the Delmarva Peninsula and cross on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge into Annapolis, and then take I-70 and I-68 across Maryland, clipping the corner of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and crossing Ohio into Indiana.  They assured us that it was a good route, so we decided to give it a try.  We wanted to get up to Ocean City and Chincoteague at the end of July anyway, so we just timed our departure to give us a few days in Ocean City on the way.

CFort Whaleyampgrounds at the beach in Maryland are expensive in the summer!  We finally managed to get a “But 2 nights, Get 1 free” deal through Sun RV at Fort Whaley Campground, about 10 miles west of Ocean City.

It was a nice park, and we were glad to enjoy the amenities of an RV Park for a few days!

It was a short 100 mile drive, so we arrived before noon and got set up.

Our site at Ft. Whaley

We enjoyed the pool a couple afternoons,

Nice pool

and played some complimentary miniature golf.


Mini Golf

It was a pretty good little course, and Tom only beat me by one point!

Pretty good course

Last fall when we came to Ocean City, we got some salt water taffy that was the best we’ve ever had . . . that was a big part of the reason we wanted to come back through here!

We took a trip out to the beach one afternoon,


Ocean City Beach

and walked along the boardwalk.

On the boardwalk

It was very windy that day, and the waves were really big . . . but there were still kids in the water!

Rough surf


Too rough for us!


Sand sculptures on the beach

Sand sculptures


After walking on the beach and board walk for a while, we headed back toward the Jeep and stopped to get what we came for.

Whenever we would tell somebody that we went to Ocean City, they would say “Oh, did you get some fries from Thrashers?” and we would say no we didn’t, because the line was a mile long!  This time, though, the line was short so we decided we should give them a try.

Too many fries!

Mmm . . . they were good!

But maybe Tom had too many!


Trying Thrashers Fries

After our little snack, we stopped at Dolle’s to pick up our buckets of salt water taffy – it’s as good as we remembered!!

WE had one more reason for coming up this way . . . but that will have to be a blog post all on its own!