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Posts tagged ‘Easter 2015 Vacation’

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 4: Assateague Island Revisited

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, we checked into the Best Western Chincoteague Island around 1:30 pm on Easter Sunday, April 5.  After checking in, we relaxed in our room until 4:00 pm.  The Best Western hotel is the closest hotel to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island.  We were within walking, or bicycling, distance of the wildlife refuge entrance.  After paying an $8.00 entrance fee earlier in the day, we were free to enter and leave the refuge as many times as we wished.  From 4:00 pm until 7:30 pm we returned to the wildlife refuge two more times.

 

The best-know residents of Assateague Island are its wild ponies.  The ponies may be seen by strolling to the Woodland Trail observation deck or driving along Beach Road.  We saw these ponies, while driving along Beach Road.  We didn’t, but should have, walked the Woodland Trail to the observation deck.  We will definitely make use of the Woodland Trail on our next visit to Assateague Island!

At the end of Beach Road is Toms Cove and the Assateague Island National Seashore.

The Assateague Lighthouse can be seen from Toms Cove.

The Wildlife Loop, located a short distance from the wildlife refuge entrance, is a 3.2 mile loop that circles the Snow Goose Pool.  The Wildlife Loop is a great place to observe wildlife, especially waterfowl and wading birds. It is open to walkers and bikers throughout the day, but vehicles are permitted to drive on it from 3:00 pm until dusk.  We drove on Wildlife Loop two times between 4:00 and 7:00 pm.  We saw waterfowl on the pool, but they were so far away I couldn’t get a good photograph.  The next time we visit Assateague Island, I want to ride bicycles on Wildlife Loop!  I am getting excited already about our next visit to Assateague Island, and we have no plans yet for a return visit.  I do know that I want to spend a long weekend there, with accommodation at the Best Western Chincoteague Island.

 

Panoramic view of Snow Goose Pool from the Wildlife Loop

The Assateague Lighthouse can be seen
from one of two observation platforms on Snow Goose Pond.

This solitary tree drew both my and Bob’s attention.

On Monday, April 6, we awakened around 5:00 am.  We got showered and dressed, and we were enjoying breakfast (complimentary) shortly after 6:00 am. We checked out of the hotel and began our trip back home around 7:00 am. We spent several hours on Maryland roads. We followed Routes 13 and 50 across the Bay Bridge. Routes 97 and 695 took us toward and around Baltimore to Route 70. We crossed the Pennsylvania  border at 11:15 am. We continued following Route 70/76 to Bedford, PA. We ate lunch at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House in Bedford, and then hopped onto Route 99. The rest of the route from Bedford to home was very familiar to us, as we have used the same route many, many times. We returned home a little after 4:00 pm.

Our Easter vacation was very enjoyable. The weather was cooperative in that it rained only one day (Saturday) and for a very short time. Sunshine was plentiful. One day (Friday) was quite warm, reaching temperatures in the low 80s. The other days were cool, even chilly! I did not complain about the cool temperatures, though. It was warmer in Virginia, than at home.   I am looking forward to our next vacation at Chincoteague / Assateague.  I hope the wait isn’t too long!

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 4: Chincoteague Island

In yesterday’s blog post I wrote that we drove through the town of Chincoteague, after lunch. Chincoteague Island is Virginia’s only resort island.  The town of Chincoteague is known for the Chincoteague Ponies, although these are not actually on the island of Chincoteague but on nearby Assateague Island.  Chincoteague is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

While in downtown Chincoteague, we admired the Robert N. Reed Downtown Waterfront Park.

The Robert N. Reed Downtown Waterfront Park is located
at the intersection of Main and Mumford Streets.

The lovely white Queen Anne style building is the Chincoteague Island Library.

the Library

 

The Sharon Nicole was docked at the 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.   We sat in this particular chair because the “O” looks like a wedding ring.

 

Misty of Chincoteague

 

While driving through downtown Chincoteague we saw our first Chincoteague pony.

This is the site of the Fireman’s Carnival, located at 3648 Main Street.  The Carnival leads up to the world famous Pony Swim and Auction always held on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July.

a Chincoteague pony!

 

While on Chincoteague Island, we also enjoyed the view along Chincoteague Channel and saw a couple houses that were decorated for Easter.

Chincoteague Channel view

Easter decorations

Easter decorations

We ate dinner at Mr. Baldy’s Family Restaurant, located along Ridge Road.  Bob ordered the special, Surf & Turf, and I ordered fried chicken. We were the only guests in the restaurant. Our waitress was very friendly; service was great; and the food was good.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about our Easter vacation in Virginia.  We made a couple more return trips to Assateague Island before calling it a day.  I have one more vacation blog post to share with you.  We finally saw some Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island.  I bet you can’t wait until I share the next blog post with you!

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 4: Assateague Island Egrets

As I wrote in my previous blog post, we arrived at Chincoteague Island before 9:00 am. It was way too early to check into our hotel, so we visited the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island.  The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge includes more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. The refuge provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds as well as other species of wildlife, including the famous Chincolteague ponies, and plants.

Here is a map of both Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, obtained from the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge brochure. If you right click with your mouse on the map and choose to “Open link in New Tab”, you can view the map as a larger size image.

 

Assateague-Chincoteague_Map

Once on Assateague Island we followed Beach Road to Tom’s Cove, hoping to see birds and ponies. We saw several egret but not one pony.

Snowy Egret

This egret was in the marsh area where we saw ponies, when we visited a few years ago.

The egret was fishing.

After several attempts to capture a photograph of the egret with a successful catch, I gave up and continued our drive on Beach Road.  Before reaching Tom’s Cove I found a few more egret.

a Great Egret

a Great Egret in flight

a Great Egret landing

 

 

Upon reaching Tom’s Cove, we turned around to make our way back to Chincoteague Island.  Before leaving Tom’s Cove, though, I snapped this photograph of a seagull that hasn’t learned to read.

Seagull at Tom’s Cove

It was close to 11:00 am, when we departed Assateague Island. It was still too early to check into our hotel, so we decided to do lunch. We ate lunch at the Chincoteague Diner, which happened to be next door to our hotel. You may recall that it was Easter Sunday.  It is traditional that we eat a ham dinner for Easter Sunday.  The diner menu did not include ham, at least not the type of ham I am accustomed to.  The special of the day was something called ham oyster.  The ham was probably okay, but I wasn’t interested in an oyster dinner!  I ordered a center-cut pork chop dinner; Bob ordered Stuffed Mushroom stuffed with crab meat.The service and food was good.

After lunch, we drove through downtown Chincoteague.  I will share photographs that I took on Chincoteague Island in a future blog post.

We checked into the Best Western Chincoteague Island around 1:30 pm. Our hotel room was spacious with two queen beds, easy chair, activity table, and private balcony from which we could see the Assateague Lighthouse. After checking in we relaxed in our room until 4:00 pm, when we returned to Assateague Island.

In my next Easter vacation blog post I will share the photographs that I took of Chincoteague Island.  There will be more photographs that I took on Assateague Island, too, in a future blog post.

 

 

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 4: Assateague Lighthouse

On Easter Sunday (April 5) we awakened at 4:45 am, 15 minutes ahead of the time that we had set the alarm. We got up, showered and dressed. We finished packing and carried our stuff to the car. We ate breakfast at 6:00 am and were on the road by 6:30 am, en route Chincoteague Island from Virginia Beach, VA.

We enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise, as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel,
en route Chincoteague Island.

We were standing at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, when I took this picture.  We had just crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.  The Bridge we crossed would have been to the right of where I took this picture.

 

We arrived at Chincoteague Island before 9:00 am. It was way too early to check into our hotel, so we visited the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island. Our first stop was at the Assateague Lighthouse.

This sign provided information in regard to the Lighthouse Trail.
We reached the lighthouse via a ¼-mile trail.

Bob took this picture of me, while on the Lighthouse Trail.

Assateague Lighthouse

Assateague Lighthouse

According to its website, the Assateague Lighthouse stands 142 feet high, its base over 27 feet in diameter.  The top of the lighthouse is accessible to the public.  There is no entrance fee to climb to the top of the lighthouse, although donations are cheerfully accepted.  We climbed the 175 steps to the top of the lighthouse.  We paused briefly at each of the 7 landings on our way to the top!

View from top of Lighthouse

The view from the top of the lighthouse is magnificent!

On the way back to the parking lot from the lighthouse, I saw a turkey vulture sunning itself on top of a tree branch.

Bob took this picture of me on the trail.  If you look closely, you can see the turkey vulture in the tree.

 

Turkey Vulture sunning itself

 

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Evening Hours

Continuing on with blog posts about our Easter vacation in Virginia, today’s blog post concludes Day 3 of our vacation.

During the evening hours of Day 3 (April 4), we stayed in our hotel room and watched TV (“House of Cards” on Netflix and “Bones” on Hulu Plus), read, surfed the Internet, watched the seagulls and beach activity from our balcony, and checked in on Facebook from time to time.  I did take a short walk on the beach to capture some photographs of the waves,

I love the lighting of the waves!

I liked how the setting sun added a golden glow to everything.

Seagull coming in for a landing

Our hotel

As I was leaving the beach and returning to the hotel, I happened to notice Bob standing on our hotel room balcony.  As I mentioned in previous blog posts, our hotel room was on the 8th floor of the Best Western Oceanfront.  You can see Bob standing on the balcony of the room in the middle along on the top row.

I had hoped to be able to see the full moon rise.  I wasn’t disappointed.

April’s full moon is named the pink full moon, aptly so.  What a beautiful sight!

After watching the moon rise, we packed and prepared for our morning departure.  Our time in Virginia Beach was almost over.  Our vacation, though, still had time remaining.

Next stop:  Chincoteague Island, VA.

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Afternoon Hours

Our friends, Kris and Bob, were supposed to meet us at our hotel at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 4. The four of us planned to walk from the hotel to the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant for lunch.  At 10:30 am Kris sent me a text saying that Bob got called into work very early in the morning, and he was still not home. Kris said she would send me a text when they were on their way. At 11:47 am, Bob still hadn’t come home from work (and Kris said it would take them 30 minutes to drive to Virginia Beach), so Bob and I went for a walk on the boardwalk to the King Neptune statue. It wasn’t a long walk.  Our hotel was located at 29th Street, and King Neptune was located at 31st Street.

Approaching the King Neptune statue

King Neptune is a 34-foot, cast bronze statue.
The statue was created by Virginia-based sculptor, Paul DiPasquale.

.

We returned to the hotel by way of the beach.

We saw the horses up close and personal. The horses wear poop bags. We had wondered who cleaned up the horses’ poop, as we observed them walking the beach from our hotel room balcony.

We live near an Amish community.  Bob said that the Amish in Sugar Grove, PA should be required to place poop bags on their horses!

 I really enjoyed seeing the horses on the beach!

 

At 1:25 pm Kris sent a text saying that Bob would not be leaving the office until 5:00 pm. Before coming home he had to drive to the UPS hub in Norfolk to get parts on a flight to the UK. The four of us would not be getting together after all. We were very disappointed, as we were looking forward to seeing Kris and Bob. Kris and Bob moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia 6+ years ago, and we haven’t seen each other since their move.

Bob and I ate lunch at the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant, the restaurant at which we had planned to eat lunch with Bob and Kris.

Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant

The atmosphere at Abbey Road Pub was casual and cozy.  Service was a little slow.  Our lunches, though, were good. I ordered a Chef Salad, and Bob ordered Crab Cakes.

We returned to our hotel after lunch, spending more time on the balcony of our 8th floor hotel room.

I was setting up the camera to capture a self-portrait of Bob and me.  The photograph shown above was a test shot.  I just happened to take the picture just as a seagull passed by.

Bob and I on our balcony

I was supposed to be reading, while sitting on the balcony.  I didn’t get much reading done.  The seagulls kept pulling my attention away from the book that I was reading!

I will wrap up Day 3 of our Easter vacation in my next blog post.

 

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Morning Hours

We slept in until 7:00 am the morning of Saturday, April 4.   We missed sunrise; however, I don’t believe it would have been a good one. The morning was overcast, windy and damp.  At times it was drizzly and at other times rain falling lightly.

Upon awakening, we showered and got dressed quickly. We ate breakfast at our hotel (complimentary). After breakfast, we relaxed in our hotel room.

We watched seagulls flying near our 8th floor balcony.

The seagulls gave me good practice with shooting birds in flight!

 

Pigeons flew by our balcony as well.
Sometimes a pigeon would stop for a rest.

 

When we weren’t bird watching, we read the newspaper and eBooks.  We surfed the Internet and checked in on Facebook.

I set up a very special photograph, too, on our balcony. Paired with a compatible Olympus camera, the OLYMPUS Image Share smartphone app allows me to see the camera’s Live View on my iPhone screen. It also allows me to operate my camera remotely from my iPhone.

It is said that Virginia is for Lovers

I agree.
Virginia is for Lovers!

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