Monthly Archives

January 2017

Welcome to Chincoteague Island

All our journeys don’t always end up how we had hoped, but if you are flexible you can always find interesting places to explore in and around Delmarva.

After watching a rocket launch from our front lawn in Delaware, we decided that on our next day off from school we would head down to the NASA center on Wallops Island.

NASA is about 70 miles from our house in Delaware. It is a quick and pretty drive through some small and towns on Maryland’s eastern shore. I neglected to check NASA’s website before we left though and, when we arrived, the NASA visitor’s center was closed.

Not wanting the entire trip to be a bust, the kids and I drove a little farther into Chincoteague. To get to downtown Chincoteague, we had to drive over a bridge and what appeared to be a marsh. It was kind of cool because there were these billboards that were perched on top of the marshy water.

I am glad we decided not to just turn around and go home. Even in the middle of winter, Chincoteague is a neat place. Downtown Chincoteague was a bit deserted. Although it was a warm day, it was off-season, so we had the town to ourselves.  That’s not a bad thing if you like quiet and don’t want to fight crowds.

First, we wandered around downtown. There was not a whole lot open. Sundial Books was open. I am trying to turn my kids into readers so we headed in. The bookstore doesn’t look like much from the outside. Once you enter the store, though, you are struck by its white walls, rows of brightly colored books and its cozy atmosphere.

The book selection is vast. My kids each picked out a Golden Book children’s book. We wandered into the back of the store and upstairs. We found framed pictures of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen, who we love, hanging on the walls. We found room after room of books. It was like visiting our own personal library. We found comfy chairs to sit down and read.  The kids took the cue and did just that. The owners were nice, too. We chatted with them for a while about Baltimore and Chincoteague. They gave us some tips on where to get the best ice cream, and we were on our way with some books in hand and some postcards by a local artist.

We drove a little farther to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived later in the afternoon, minutes before the lighthouse was going to close. We toured the Herbert H. Bateman Educational Center. They had interactive exhibits, which my kids love. The staff also could not have been nicer. My son, who is six years old, lost his $10 bill in the center. In tears, my son asked if anyone had turned in his $10 bill that his aunt had given him. They had not.

As we were heading back to our car, a park ranger came out and handed my son his $10 bill. It had fallen next to one of the exhibits. My son gave the park ranger a hug and we were off to check out the horses and the beach.

The nature refuge is quiet and there were ample places to pull the car over and check out the horses. Make sure to bring your camera and a pair of binoculars. We then headed down to the beach. My kids love the beach. There were some mounds of sand that resembled little hills that my kids rolled down.

For an impromptu visit with no advance planning, and off-season to boot,  we were impressed with Chincoteague. We will be back. It may be one of our favorite places on the peninsula.