The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Assateague Island VA’

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 7 – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

In my previous blog post I wrote that we returned to our rental AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, after lunch.

Around 3:00 pm we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove on the Wildlife Loop twice and took Beach Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Wildlife Loop – 14 Turtles on tuft of grass
Wildlife Loop – Great Blue Heron and Glossy Ibis
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Snowy Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center
Great Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center

Yes, we visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge several times during Chincoteague, VA vacations. Often we visit the refuge more than one time a day. The refuge is one of the main reasons we go to Chincoteague year after year.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Back at Chincoteague

In my previous blog post I wrote about our morning visit to Oriole, MD on Day 5 (April 5th) of our Easter vacation.

We were back at our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, by 12:15 pm.  We ate lunch and spent a few hours relaxing.

Around 3:00 pm we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove on the Wildlife Loop and took Beach Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

The highlight of our visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
was seeing an eagle sitting on its nest.
The eagle’s nest is seen from the wildlife loop.

We returned to Tranquil Shores. I prepared tuna casserole for dinner. For dessert we went to Island Creamery for ice cream — Chocolate and peanut butter cup for me; Java Jolt for Bob. 

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 4

I got up for the day at 6:00 am.  Bob was already up and in the midst of making an egg and cheese bagel sandwich.  Bob said he got up around 5:00 am.  My breakfast was instant oatmeal and a banana.

Around 9:00 am Bob and I decided to go to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Bob walked to the refuge; I drove. 

Assateague Island National Seashore
It was a cloudy morning at the seashore, but so beautiful too.
Great Egret seen along Beach Rd, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

I picked up Bob, as he neared the Toms Cove Visitor Center. When I picked up Bob, he had walked 3.85 miles. 

We were back at our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, by 11:00 am. We ate lunch (leftover BBQ from the day before) and relaxed.

We returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge shortly after 3:00 pm.   We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and then down to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
One Great Blue Heron, Four Poses
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
Seven Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

Denise and Nic sure picked the right day to drive up here.  We saw lots of Chincoteague ponies yesterday.  We didn’t see any ponies today. 

We returned to our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, around 4:30 pm.  Bob grilled two rib eye steaks for our Easter dinner.  The steaks were accompanied by fried potatoes, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We ate dinner on our screened-in porch.  

We watched a couple TV series on Hulu this evening–“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Lark Rise to Candleford”. The second TV series, “Lark Rise to Candleford”, was suggested to us by Bob’s brother’s wife. That series, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress, is set in 19 century Oxfordshire. We are enjoying each episode. I enjoy the show so much that I am considering the purchase of a book of the same name.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 3

Today, April 3rd, is the third day of our Easter vacation.

We had visitors today. Our friends, Denise and Nic, drove up from Virginia Beach this morning. They arrived around 10:00 am and left for home around 4:30 pm. The four of us had fun together sightseeing on Assateague Island at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and at the seashore. We went sightseeing in Chincoteague as well.

We walked the Lighthouse Trail at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Lighthouse Trail is a 0.25 mile loop that takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Trail Informative Sign
Denise and Nic at the Assateague Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is 142 feet tall.

We walked the Woodland Trail as well. The Woodland Trail is a 1.6 mile loop that takes you through a beautiful pine forest.

We stopped at the overlook where Chincoteague ponies can sometimes be seen.

My recollection is that we saw one pony way off in the distance, too far away for a decent picture especially with a mobile phone camera.

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

The four of us at the Assateague Island National Seashore

We visited two parks in Chincoteague–the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park and the Veterans Memorial Park.

The four of us at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park

These four Adirondack chairs are 10 feet tall and weigh more than 500 pounds.  The chairs arrived in Chincoteague in the summer of 2014 and promote the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan.  They had been located at Virginia’s Kiptopeke State Park since May 2012.  

Denise and Nic at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Bob and I at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Veterans Memorial Park Cross; Assateague Lighthouse in the background

From Veterans Memorial Park we returned to our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch –cheeseburgers. potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chips and salsa and, for dessert, cheesecake.

Bob grilling burgers for lunch

We ate lunch on our screened-in porch.

After lunch we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and drove the wildlife loop. The 3.25 mile loop trail is open to walkers and bikers all day. Vehicles are permitted to drive the loop from 3:00 pm till dusk. 

We spotted an eagle nest, but we didn’t see the eagle.
Two Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

We drove back down Beach Rd and saw ponies, lots of ponies, in the marsh. We saw several egrets, too, both along Beach Rd and as we were driving the Wildlife Loop.

A Very Pregnant Chincoteague Pony
We saw the most ponies in one place during Denise and Nic’s visit.
One of several Great Egrets that we saw at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

We had a great visit with Denise and Nic. We are so glad they were able to make the drive up for the day.

Meanwhile, back at home …

Easter Vacation 2021

Today, April 2nd, is Day 2 of our Easter vacation.

We slept in a bit this morning.  Our later-than-usual awakening was most likely caused by our early departure from home yesterday and noisy hotel guests who kept us awake.  Those guests left sometime in the late evening. Do you find that strange? I do. Perhaps they were asked to leave?

We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 8:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had an egg and bacon sandwich, a banana, cranberry juice, a banana nut muffin, and a cup of tea.    Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast in paper bags to our room and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 9:00 am and began the last leg of our drive.  Today’s destination is Chincoteague, VA.  As was the case yesterday, the GPS is programmed to avoid highways.

Shortly before 11:00 am we stopped for a potty break in Cambridge, MD at the visitor center (Sailwinds Park). It was only 36 degrees. It was a lot warmer during our stop there in late November last year. We enjoyed a walk in the park last year. Today we were happy to hurry to the bathroom and back to the car.

At 12:00 pm we met our friends Tom and Ellen for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD. Bob ordered a brisket sandwich with Sweet Potato fries; Tom ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; I ordered chicken wings and a half order of fries; and Ellen ordered French onion soup and clams. We sat inside and ate our lunch. It was too cold to sit outside to eat, as we did in November. The food was delicious, and we enjoyed our time together. I don’t have a picture of the four of us because I forgot to have one taken!

We departed the brewery at 1:30 pm and arrived on Chincoteague Island around 3:00 pm. We had an hour to kill before the check-in time at our AirBnB. We drove around the island a bit, before heading out to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Virginia’s Assateague Island National Seashore

We checked into our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, at 4:00 pm. We unloaded the car and got settled in.

Meanwhile, back at home….

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 6

Today (November 26th) is day 6 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.  It is Thanksgiving Day too.  I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning we went for a drive at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop.  The Wildlife Loop, which is normally open to vehicular traffic from 3:00 pm to dusk, is open to vehicular traffic all day today through Sunday.   The sky was heavily overcast, and it was raining.  We saw very little wildlife on the Wildlife Loop.  

Leaving the Wildlife Loop, we drove on the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove and turned around.

We finally saw a Kingfisher!

We returned to the wildlife refuge early this afternoon.  The reason we chose to spend Thanksgiving week in Chincoteague came to fruition today.  Today begins Waterfowl Weekend.  There is a 7.5 mile service road off the Wildlife Loop that is open to the public only during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  The service road opens at noon and closes at 4:00 pm.  We drove the service road today, arriving there shortly before noon.  We pulled off the Wildlife Loop behind other cars and waited the few minutes for the service road to open.  It should be noted that no one was permitted out of their vehicles, and we weren’t supposed to stop.  Traffic did stop at prime viewing spots, but a park ranger would show up to tell us to keep moving. It took us a little over 1 1/2 hours to drive the 15 miles round trip.  We saw the northern herd of wild ponies, as well as waterfowl. 

a Wild Pony Grazing

a Pair of Trumpeter Swans

a Great Blue Heron

Wild Ponies

Wild Pony

a Wild Pony

Wild Ponies

I loved seeing the ponies standing in the water.

a Wild Pony

Wild Ponies

a Wild Pony

the same Wild Pony walking toward me

Snow Geese!

We plan to drive the service road again tomorrow. 

For our Thanksgiving Day dinner Bob grilled steak.

Accompanying our steak we had store-bought potato salad, whole green beans (frozen), and applesauce.  It wasn’t a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, but it was a good dinner.

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 4 – Back in Virginia

We relaxed at Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental, for a couple hours upon our return from Maryland.

In the afternoon we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove, where we turned around.  We had a few photo opportunities along the way.

a Great Egret and a Cormorant Sharing a Log

The Egret flew off, and the Cormorant was joined by a friend.

Two Cormorants

From the refuge we drove to the Island Nature Trail on Chincoteague Island.  We had not known about this trail during past visits to Chincoteague.  The Island Nature Trail is located along both sides of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive.  The land where the trail is located represents some of last large tracts of undeveloped land on Chincoteague Island.  The south side of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive has an accessible 0.7 mile long, paved loop path complete with benches and interpretive signs.  The north side of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive is a natural surface trail that loops approximately 0.45 miles through pine forest and glade.  We went for a walk on the 0.7 mile loop trail.

the Island Nature Trail

A Pine Siskin on the Island Nature Trail

There are three ponds that can be seen from the Island Nature Trail.

One of three ponds seen from Island Nature Trail

This bridge crosses over the third pond that we saw from the Island Nature Trail.

This is the pond over which the bridge crosses.

After our walk we returned to the wildlife refuge and drove around the Wildlife Loop, which opened up to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  The highlight of our drive around the Wildlife Loop was the sighting of several tundra swans.  

Tundra Swan

On our way back to Tranquil Shores we stopped at Subway for take-out subs, which we ate at the house.

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