The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Easter 2016 Vacation’

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.  We spent much of our second vacation day at the NASA Wallops Visitor Center and exploring Assateague Island.

On Saturday, March 26th, we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore at 6:00 am to watch the sun rise at 6:55 am.

_LG20575 4x6Assateague Island Sunrise

While on our way back to the hotel from the seashore, we made a couple stops along Beach Access Road.  Our first stop was at Little Toms Cove.

_LG20585 4x6The Assateague Lighthouse is visible across from Little Toms Cove.
We opted not to walk the Assateague Lighthouse trail this year.

_LG20586 4x6We saw Northern Shoveler Ducks on Friday.
We were rewarded with their presence again on Saturday.

 

We saw ponies at our second stop on Beach Access Road.

_LG20590 4x6Chincoteague Wild Pony

Back at the hotel we ate breakfast in our hotel room, as it was quite crowded in the breakfast room and too chilly to sit on the outside patio.

After breakfast we drove into the town of Chincoteague. At the draw bridge we turned right onto Main Street and followed it to the end, where there was a turn around.  We made three stops on Main Street.

Our first stop was at the Captain Timothy Hill House.

_LG20597 4x6Captain Timothy Hill House (c. 1800)
Oldest house on Chincoteague Island

The Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest house on Chincoteague Island.  We were not able to tour the house interior, as the house was closed for the season.

Our second stop was at a house with a miniature replica of itself built beside a mailbox.

_LG20600 4x6
A house and its miniature replica

Our third stop was at a yard sale, where I picked up the game Connect and four bags of small plastic toys for our granddaughters.

We made our way back to the traffic light at the draw bridge. We crossed over VA 175 and drove into downtown Chincoteague on Main Street. We were soon stopped by runners.

_LG20601 4x6
Runners on Main Street

_LG20602 4x6

A search on Facebook revealed that Saturday was the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  All proceeds from this event support the Chincoteague YMCA financial assistance program.  We did continue our drive on Main Street, slowly, encountering runners all the way and on the return trip.

_LG20606-photobacks-texture-templateChincoteague Island docked boat

The Chincoteague Channel runs alongside Main Street.  This boat was docked near where we turned around to return to downtown Chincoteague.  I applied a texture effect to the original photograph and love the result.

An Easter egg hunt followed the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  Upon our return to downtown Chincoteague, we parked across from the Robert Reed Park. We walked over to the park and watched the Easter egg hunt.

_LG20609 4x6
Here comes the Easter bunny.

_LG20612 4x6The Easter bunny posed for lots of pictures.

_LG20620 4x6On your mark, get set and GO!

_LG20621 4x6Some children picked up Easter eggs near them,
while others ran to pick up the eggs the farthest away.

_LG20622 4x6Easter Egg Hunt

After the Easter egg hunt we made a return trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The highlight of that trip was a great blue heron.

_LG20627 4x6
Great Blue Heron

_LG20628 4x6
I watched this great blue heron for about 30 minutes.  The only movement the heron made, during that time, was to stretch its neck!

Later in the morning we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We parked at the Wildlife Loop and walked the ½ mile Marsh Trail.

_LG20645 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

20160326_154401604_iOS 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

_LG20649 4x6Marsh Trail Scene
The overlook was our destination.

20160326_154725075_iOS 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

20160326_155515283_iOS 4x6I am standing on the overlook.
You can see Marsh Trail, leading up to the overlook.

After walking the Marsh Trail, we drove along Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  A Chincoteague wild pony was closer to the Beach Access Road than it had been all weekend.

_LG20658 4x6
Chincoteague Wild Pony

_LG20664 4x6

It was very clear along the Assateague Island National Seashore, a big difference from Friday’s foggy scene.

_LG20665 4x6Assateague Island National Seashore

After leaving the seashore, we stopped opposite Little Toms Cove.

_LG20671 4x6My best photograph of the Northern Shoveler Duck!

_LG20673 4x6
These wading birds were fun to watch!

UPDATE 4/1/2016: 
I emailed Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for help in identifying the birds in these two photographs.  The top photograph “features a greater yellow legs on the left and that bird is transitioning to breeding plumage. The other two birds are also yellow legs, but probably lesser. The bottom photograph “Few birds. Foreground is another lesser yellow legs. Far right is a long billed dowitcher. Smaller birds are dunlin and the other larger birds middle and left are short billed dowitcher.”  Thank you, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, for identifying these birds!

_LG20680 4x6
Farther along Beach Access Road we spotted a Kingfisher, a first for both of us.

_LG20688 4x6
Belted Kingfisher

We ate a late lunch about 20 miles from Chincoteague Island at Metompkin Seafood Market

20160326_183948054_iOS 4x6Metompkin Seafood Market

We found this seafood market by asking Siri, iPhone’s virtual assistant, where to find a good place to eat near Wallops Island.  Siri made an excellent choice.

20160326_181220969_iOS 4x6You place your order here, either for fresh seafood or for fried seafood.

The menu is behind the counter, but it is located outside on the patio wall as well.  While looking at the outside menu, a woman walked by and remarked “Order one of everything.  Everything is good.”

20160326_180425212_iOS 4x6Fresh Seafood

We both ordered fried seafood platters.  We waited 15-20 minutes, I believe, for our meals.  It was standing room only inside that tiny shack!  We struck up a conversation with a local man, who has been coming to Metompkin Seafood for 10+ years.  He told us everything on the menu is good.  We ate our meals on the patio outside.  The man with whom we struck up a conversation inside joined us outside at our table.  The conversation was pleasant, and our meals were very filling and tasted great!  We would definitely make a return trip to Metompkin Seafood Market!

Returning to Chincoteague Island, we made another trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was after 3:00 pm, so it was possible once again to drive the car around the Wildlife Loop. We actually drove the loop two times. I am happy that we decided to drive twice around the Wildlife Loop, as we saw a deer the second time around.

_LG20692 4x6Wildlife Loop Deer

As we approached the deer, a car was in front of us stopped on Wildlife Loop looking at the deer.  The deer turned around and went back into the weeds.  The stopped car moved on.  We slowly approached the place where the deer had been.  Bob pulled off the road and turned off the engine.  I got out of the car, standing behind the hood.  We waited for a few minutes.  The deer popped its head out and quickly pranced across the road.  It really wanted to get to the other side!

Before returning to the hotel we drove to the Island Creamery for dessert.

20160326_201857035_iOS 4x6
the Island Creamery

The Island Creamery, which sells homemade ice cream, is a popular place. It was busy, but the line moved faster than we expected.

20160326_202553214_iOS 4x6

Bob ordered 2 scoops of Java Jolt ice cream; I ordered one scoop of Marsh Mud ice cream and one scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Delicious! I wouldn’t have ordered the Marsh Mud ice cream, if it hadn’t been recommended to me by a couple in line behind us. They told us, when that ice cream was first made, it was made incorrectly. However, everyone liked that ice cream, so they kept making it the wrong way.

We returned to our hotel, the Best Western Chincoteague, around 5:00 pm. I noticed that the hotel cleaning woman had placed an Easter chocolate on each of our pillows.  What a nice touch!

We checked out of the hotel at 5:00 am on Easter Sunday and began our drive back home. Our ETA was 12:53 pm.   We made a few stops on the way home, the longest stop being at Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown MD.  We stopped there for breakfast.  We both ordered the Sunrise Sampler.  We returned home around 2:30 pm.

We are talking already about our next vacation in Chincoteague!

 

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.

On Friday, March 25th, we ate breakfast around 6:30 am at the hotel. Our complimentary breakfast selections included scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, a variety of breads and bagels, cold and hot cereals, a variety of hot and cold beverages, waffles, and pastries. After breakfast we returned to our room and enjoyed a second cup of tea/coffee, while sitting on our third floor balcony. The rain, which was in Friday’s forecast, had not yet started. It was a breezy 57 degrees. I was comfortable sitting outside, with a fleece jacket on.

A little later in the morning we drove the 12 miles to Route U.S. Route 13 for gas at the Exxon station. When we reached the U.S. Route 13-Chincoteague Road intersection the night before, the fuel station had just closed for the day. Bob wanted to get gas there to earn Plenti points. There is a Food Lion store next door to the Exxon station. We made a quick stop there to pick up a few grocery items. We returned to the hotel to drop off our purchases. Soon afterward we left the hotel and drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island.  The Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel is very close to the wildlife refuge, less than 1 mile away from the gate.

There is an admission fee charged to enter Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, unless you are on foot or bicycle. Daily admission costs $8.00 per vehicle. A weekly pass costs $15.00. We purchased the weekly pass, as we planned to visit the wildlife refuge on Saturday as well. When I am 62 years old, in 2 more years, I will be eligible to purchase a lifetime national park pass for $10.00. That pass will be a worthwhile purchase!

We followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore. (See Google map of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge provided below.)

WildlifeRefuge

We saw a fawn soon after passing through the wildlife refuge gate. I missed the shot, as I didn’t have the camera ready to shoot.  It was a windy and rainy morning; the lighting poor.

_LG20373 4x6Seagull at Assateague Island National Seashore

_LG20378 4x6Northern Shoveler alongside Beach Access Road, across from Little Toms Cove

We returned to our hotel, when the rain began to fall so hard that it was difficult to see anything.

Late morning we visited the NASA Visitor Center, which is located on Wallops Island about 5 miles from the Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel. According to its About Us webpage, the visitor center “features exhibits about aeronautics, orbital and sub-orbital rockets, scientific balloons, current missions, and the history of Wallops Flight Facility. In addition to exhibits, the Visitor Center also features an auditorium, a Science on the Sphere Theater, an observation deck, as well as numerous free public programs, events, and group tours of the facility. The Visitor Center also serves as the viewing site for rockets that launch from Wallops Island. Located inside the Visitor Center, the Gift Shop, open seasonally, offers models, patches, games, clothing and a variety of NASA souvenirs.”  The outside grounds has rockets and aircraft used for space and aeronautical research including a full-scale four stage reentry vehicle used to study the earth’s atmosphere.  I took several photographs, while at the visitor center.

_LG20382 4x6
The Nike-Cajun sounding rocket
is able to carry a 77-pound payload to a height
of about 90 miles and has been used at Wallops
since 1956.

_LG20384 4x6
Four-stage Reentry Vehicles were used to study phenomena
associated with high speed reentry
through the Earth’s atmosphere including
radio transmissions during reentry conditions.

_LG20387 4x6
 Space suit seen inside auditorium

_LG20388 4x6
In the auditorium we watched an informative 20-minute film about the space mission.

25490278194_5436bc37d9_o 4x6
Bob took this picture of me wearing a space suit.

_LG20390 4x6This is the view from the observation deck.

_LG20392 4x6
This rocket was visible from the observation deck.
A much better picture was possible from the ground.
Little Joe was used to test the Mercury Spacecraft prior to manned light.
Monkeys Sam and Miss Sam were launched from Wallops
utilizing this rocket vehicle.

We walked behind the Visitor Center and found three more exhibits.

_LG20393 4x6
This rocket was not identified.
Bob said to say it was a UFO.

_LG20395 4x6The Astrobee F, a solid-propellant sounding rocket first launched from Wallops Island in 1972,
could lift a 200-pound payload to about 260 miles altitude.

_LG20397 4x6The Aerobee 150, a liquid-propellant sounding rocket with a six-foot solid-propellant booster,
was used from 1955 to 1985.  It could lift a 150-pound payload to 160 miles altitude.

After visiting the NASA Visitor Center, we ate lunch at Royal Farms.  Royal Farms is a privately owned chain of gas station/convenience stores headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The store is very reminiscent of Sheetz, a gas station/convenience store with which we are familiar.

After lunch, on our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we stopped briefly at the Public Landing at Queen Sound located on Wallops Island alongside VA 175.  Two seagulls were vying for my attention.

Queen_Sound_Seagulls_portrait-16x20-vertical-02
Queen Sound Seagulls

We soon made our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We followed Beach Access Road, once again, to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

_LG20410 4x6
Friday’s weather was quite changeable…heavy rain, thunder and lightning to heavy fog to sunshine with temperatures in the upper 70s. I have never seen fog such as in these two photographs, while at the seashore.

_LG20420 4x6
Everyone still had fun!

 

We turned around at the seashore and was again driving along Beach Access Road.

_LG20427 4x6
We watched this egret for quite some time alongside Beach Access Road.  The egret sat in this tree for a long time.  All of a sudden, the egret flew to the water below.  I missed photographing the short flight.  We watched several more minutes, while the egret fished.

_LG20442 4x6Egret fishing

Our next stop was the Woodland Trail.

25492435583_a9c73844b1_z

This is Woodland Trail (photo taken by Bob).  It was shocking to see how much the area had changed from when we walked the trail in past years.  There were so many dead and fallen trees that the area looked barren. An Internet search revealed that this area suffered from a southern pine beetle infestation that killed many trees this past fall.

_LG20448 4x6We saw this pair of Vultures, soon after beginning our walk on the Woodland Trail.

The Woodland Trial is one of the best places to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague.  You have to walk about a half mile into the trail to get to the observation platform from which you can see the ponies.  There are signs marking the way to the pony viewing so you can’t miss it.  We saw several wild ponies grazing off in the distance.

_LG20453 4x6Chincoteague Wild Ponies

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Wildlife Loop, which opens to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  While driving around the loop, we saw an egret, a pair of Mallard Ducks, and a pair of Canadian Geese.

_LG20473-_LG20479-portrait-advantage-20
Wildlife Loop wildlife

We, then, returned to hotel and relaxed for about 1 1/2 hours, until 5:00 pm.

We ate dinner at the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, conveniently located next door to our hotel. This was our first meal besides Sheetz-like sandwich wraps and fast food burgers that we ate since leaving home on Thursday at 12:30 pm. Bob ordered a prime rib dinner. I ordered a meat loaf dinner. We each ordered dessert too. Bob had a slice of coconut cake, and I had a slice of chocolate cake. Service was excellent, and dinner was delicious.

We returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after dinner. We drove the Wildlife Loop once again. Then we followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  I watched the ocean waves for a time, while waiting for sunset.

_LG20493 4x6Assateague Island National Seashore

We watched the sunset from the boardwalk Toms Cove Visitor Center.

LJG20503 4x6Toms Cove Visitor Center

LJG20507 4x6Sunset across Little Toms Cove

LJG20540 4x6Sunset across Little Toms Cove

At 7:30 pm we returned to our hotel, where we stayed for rest of the night.

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 1 of 3)

Our Easter vacation began on Thursday, March 24th. Bob came home from work at noon, and we were on the road en route Chincoteague Island, VA by 12:30 pm. Our ETA was 8:30 pm, without making any stops.

We hadn’t even made it 50 miles from home before 20 minutes were added to our travel time, as the result of a detour on PA 948. We ended up going through Johnsonburg before returning to our route in Ridgway.  An additional 10 minutes was added to our travel time, when we made a bathroom break at Sheetz in Clearfield, PA.  We made it through Breezewood, PA without experiencing any traffic congestion.  A fuel and bathroom stop shortly after crossing the Maryland border added 15 minutes to our travel time. We gained back some of the time we lost earlier, though, before making the stop. Our ETA at 5:12 pm was 9:17pm.  We encountered nothing out of the ordinary, while driving through the Frederick, MD area.  There were lots of cars, moving fast.  We saw the most traffic congestion on I-97 about 3 miles from the exit for U.S. Route 50 to Annapolis and continuing on Route 50.

20160324_225116478_iOS 4x6
Crossing Chesapeake Bay Bridge
(commonly known as the “Bay Bridge”)

20160324_225311558_iOS 4x6
I did not like crossing the Bay Bridge.  I have an aversion to bridges that possibly goes back to when I was rear ended many years ago, while on a bridge in Maine.  While on the bridge in Maine, I saw through the rear-view mirror a truck barreling toward me.  I was trapped.  There was no way for me to get out of its way.  When we neared the end of the Bay Bridge, I let out a breath of air.  Bob asked if I was holding my breath, while crossing the bridge.  I wasn’t holding my breath.  What escaped was a breath of relief!

Traffic improved, after crossing the Bay Bridge.

20160324_231014718_iOS 4x6
Sun setting behind us
near Queenstown, MD at 7:12 pm

Around 7:30 pm we made a quick stop for dinner at Burger King in Easton, MD. Our ETA, after dinner, was 9:36 pm.

We arrived at the Best Western Chincoteague Island around 9:45 pm and checked into our room. Our home away from home for three nights was on the third floor, room 360. Our hotel room was spacious with two queen beds, a large bathroom and a private balcony that looks out on Maddox Blvd.  The Best Western Chincoteague Island is a very nice hotel, and we highly recommend it to everyone who travels to Chincoteague Island.

 

Wandering Together

A His and Hers Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Bicycling the beauty around us

This is a bicycling journal.

Chateaux des Fleurs

Sharing a world of joy with photos and words

National Parks USA

A tour of Public Lands & National Parks with T

Forester (Farster) Ancestry

The Ancestry of My Grandpap Roy Wilson "Pete" Forester (1915-1989)

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

Skid and Sandy On The Road

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

vivacioushoopster

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

Brown About

The Motorhome Adventures of Joan and Stephen

My Mommy's Place

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

A Tree Falling

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

Mr. Bill's Travel Blog

Amputee Travel... let the adventures begin!

Viewing nature with Eileen

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

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Deep Thoughts

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

Rambling On

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

Talk and Chatter

Reviews, talk, and fun

Senior Moments

The random musings of a fairly active Tennessee retiree

Pics & Pieces

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

PHOTOJOURNAL OF CORKER2

TRYING TO DO THIS WITHOUT A DEGREE!

Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer

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

MY QUALITY TIME

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

Linda's Peaceful Place

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

Life's Funny Like That

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

JOYFUL REFLECTIONS

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

I'll give you a piece of my mind

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

Hospitality Lane

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

Gretchen's Traveling

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

An English Girl Rambles from 2016 to ....

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