Morning after we finished our crazy single day adventure at Washington D.C. we headed out, sore feet and all, down to Chincoteague Island. It was a three hour ride, which was not bad. Remember, this was mid May, so the weather was rainy, foggy and chilly. Not beach weather at all. I am very happy that we had this magical fog with us on the island. It was cool, and beautiful.
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While in D.C. our hotel was not worth mentioning, the one in Chincoteague was. We stayed in the Refuge Inn (please note, I am not affiliated with them in any way, just recommending a nice place) and loved it. They had a small refrigerator and coffee maker. There was also a community washer and drier. While it is not a kitchen, it helped a ton! There was a beautiful pool. The people were friendly and nice. The free breakfast and coffee were fantastic! The best part was the horses. The Inn has several horses out front in an enclosure. You can purchase some food for them and feed them. Guess what we did for the first night we were there? We fed the horses, did our laundry, swam in the pool, and explored the area, and then fed the horses some more.
Right across from the Inn there was a bike rental. One of the reasons we booked there before really reading anything about it is the bikes. The bike rental was affordable. In fact, coming from NJ, it seemed downright inexpensive. The first evening we rented bikes and took a ride to town for some ice cream. A while ago we decided that ice cream is very important to us (the adults in this family). We went to Island Creamery, and the place was hopping despite it being off season. The ice cream was delicious. Here is a photo of the other side of this charming town:
The Inn has an observation deck, and this is the view:
The next morning we woke up, had the complimentary breakfast, and went to rent the bikes for the day in order to explore the National Wildlife Refuge. While we walked about 15 miles in DC, here we covered the 15 miles on bikes in no time! It was easy. The bikes were super comfy. They had these Cloud 9 Bike Seats that were so comfortable, I wound up buying two of them to bring home with me. My souvenir from this trip was two bike seats! Practical, and comfortable.
Exploring the National Wildlife Refuge was amazing! I am pretty familiar with many natural spaces in the area, but this took my breath away. I have never seen this many species of birds in one place. The different kinds of herons! While riding, we spotted the bright neon blue grosbeak. We saw sika deer along the way. We even saw the Chincoteague ponies, who were a bit father off, so a pair of binoculars were helpful. There is a path that leads to the lighthouse, so we got to see it up close. It was closed, no going inside it. I was happy that it was cooler, and there were no other tourists there. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the crowded and steaming hot Washington D.C.
We rode all the way out to the beach area at the end of the island, but it being gray and drizzling, there was not much to see there. We finished off our bike ride in half a day.
Soon, it was time for us to leave. We said ‘good bye’ to the ponies at the Inn (some of us cried a little because we grew attached in the 2 day span). Said ‘thank you’ to the staff, packed our newly acquired bike seats into the car and headed north.
My plan was to stop at Assateague Island for a hike on the way home. My family disagreed. They were tired and just wanted to get home. I won. Kind of. We drove through Assateague, and they let me out here and there. Ha! Our first stop was the shore line. The entire family came out of the car and took a walk by the beach. The beach was beautiful! Clean, sparkly, with a wide line of sand. There were no ponies there.
We took a drive to the other side of the island, where there was a boardwalk path through the marshes. We all filed out of the car and took a walk.
Along the way we spotted a crowd of humans. The reason they all congregated in the same spot? They saw the ponies:
There was another area that we explored, it was all marsh and incredible. I regret not giving us an extra day in Assateague. It was a really fun place to explore.
On the way in and out of Chincoteague we passed by the NASA Wallops Space Center. It would have been a cool place to visit, especially if our trip coincided with a launch. Maybe next time.