Chincoteague is a small community on Chincoteague Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore. We've been visiting there for around 25 years. We've always preferred it to the hustle and bustle of other beach towns. Our girls were teenagers before they even learned what a boardwalk is. The arcade was small but had air hockey. There was a miniature golf course. Life was good.
Its easy to think of Chincoteague as the gateway to Assateague Island but it deserves more credit. It truly is a small town near a beach rather than what you expect in an East Coast beach resort. Short on bars and entertainment, its long on simply being a pleasant, relaxing place to visit.
The girls don't go with us these days but we still visit 3 or 4 times a year when we can. We enjoy walking to dinner and walking around town to recover from dinner. We always feel safe, even at night. We've always enjoyed meeting the people in town. At one point, we talked about buying a house there. It seems now that we waited too long. Its gotten very pricey.
We've seen things come and go. Probably more than I can remember. McDonalds opened and you could get breakfast in under an hour. The Beachway Restaurant closed. Castaway's closed. The Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn opened. Don's didn't change at all that I can tell.
Chincoteague is the home of the annual Pony Swim and Pony Auction. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department uses this to raise money to support themselves for the year. It happens the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. In 2003, we finally went to see the swim and auction. From Kayaks it was a lot of fun to watch.
We used to enjoy buying seafood at the local seafood stores on the south end of Main Street. They're pretty much gone now. We used to enjoy Mason's. We recently stayed at the Waterside Inn. I commented to the lady behind the desk that we hadn't stayed there before because we were upset that the seafood place was replaced by the hotel. She turned out to be the owner of the hotel and said that was a long time to hold a grudge. Turned out she was Donna Mason and owned both the seafood place and the hotel. I guess they did what they had to do. In any event all is forgiven. We also had very nice stay there. The picture is the view from our room.
Chincoteague is now undergoing serious changes. The Landmark Crab House and all associated shops in the plaza have been sold. Grubstake is gone. The Christmas store is closed. Captain Fish's and the Chincoteague Inn are sold. The Maddox Family Campground was in negotiations to be sold but they fell through. All to be torn down and replaced with condos. The building for Landmark Crabhouse and Shucking House Cafe are still there. Captain Fish moved to Shucking House and Chincoteague Inn is open for now. Hopefully the campground will remain a while longer. All to be replaced with high end condos and people with no sense of the history of Chincoteague. I'm afraid we've lost a Landmark in more ways than one.
As an update, the Landmark Crab House is still gone but the shops will apparently still be around for a couple of years. We were told that people were being offered a one year lease with an option on a second year. Work has been completed in the area near the Chincoteague Inn. Chincoteague Inn is open for now and Capt Fish has moved. For an update as of February, 2009, click here. It isn't the result of in-depth study but what I could see.
Bill's Restaurant and AJ's are still around and providing good meals. The Village is still there. Chincoteague Inn is still open but I don't know for how long.
None the less, we'll keep coming back and we'll keep enjoying it.