Chincoteague and Assateague Islands February, 2009

Assateague Island Main Page      Assateague Island Pics Feb, 2009      Chincoteague Pictures Feb, 2009
Sunrise over Black Duck Pool
You can click the buttons above to see pictures from this trip.  The Chincoteague pictures mainly try to show what has changed in the past few years.  There's a few just to show what's there.  On this site, most of the information is found on the Chincoteague page.

Assateague Pony.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.We hadn't been to Chincoteague and Assateague Island in a year and a half.  Its one of my favorite places to visit so it was time to go back.  It had to be a short trip since unemployed people don't get long trips.  I was also curious to see how much the town had changed due to the new construction.

I was up at 4:00AM and heading east.  You have to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and head across Maryland.  When you get to Salisbury, go South on Route 13 and look for the signs.

When I got there, it was straight through Chincoteague to Assateague Island.  I was headed to the beach but took a while to getTundra Swans.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here. there.  There were several Great Blue Herons in the creek along the road.  There were also a bunch of ducks at Swan Pool near the beach.  I got seriously sidetracked on the way to the beach.  I even set up the scope and tried digiscoping for a while.  I got some pictures but they need work.  Not sharp enough for prime time.  On the other hand, the pictures are of birds a long way off.

Great Blue Heron.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.I made a swing around the wildlife loop after the beach.  Its 3.5 miles and took me forever.  Way too many distractions.  There's an eagles nest in Black Duck Pool.  I had a good scope and couldn't find the nest but could watch the eagles occasionally.  By the time I got to the forested section, I'd killed a lot of time.  The eagles were in and out as they were sitting on eggs.  There's a closed circuit TV you can watch in the Visitor's Center to see them.
Northern Shoveler.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.
I finally completed my walk.  It was many pictures later.  I wanted pictures of Northern Shovelers and got several.  Not great but better than none.  I also got pictures of herons and egrets standing side by side.  Normally, the herons tolerate no one.  I also saw an eagle carrying a major branch back to the nest.  I'm not really a birder but saw Green Winged Teals, Pin Tail Ducks, Black Ducks, Common Merganser and other birds I couldn't name.

Lunch was at McDonalds.  I wanted something quick and it was getting late.

I stayed at the Lighthouse Inn.  It was OK.  I checked their website before leaving and found little useful information.  They didn't even show rates.  The reservation / rate parts of the site didn't work.  The ice machine was turned off and there was no breakfast included in spite of what was on the web.  I was kind of irritated but I suppose it all turned out OK.  The room was old but clean.  It had a small fridge and microwave.  The king-size bed was comfortable.  The rate was $59.95 for the room and that was reasonable but you couldn't find it on their website.

Glorious Sunrise.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.Up at 5:30 for the sunrise.  Assateague doesn't open until 6:00 so no rush to get there too early.  Sunrise  was mildly disappointing but I got some good pictures anyway.  The trick is to zoom into the sunrise to where you get only the good parts.  You also have to have a tripod.
Ponies in Black Duck Marsh.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.
I didn't see many ponies.  There were 8 or 10 near the road in Black Duck Marsh.  There's pictures of them in the album.  There was one loose in the Wildlife Loop.  He wouldn't quit eating long enough to look up.  Typical but I took his picture anyway.

On the way back to town, I stopped at the Refuge's Visitor's Center.  One of the bald eagles had hatched overnight.  It was cool to watch one of the parents tear off pieces of meat to feed it.  It then laid back down on the little one and the other eggs.  I heard later in the day that the other one hatched too.

Changes in town.

Breakfast was at Mr. Baldy's.  It used to be the Chincoteague Family Restaurant and serves a mainly local crowd.  I wasn't impressed but would go back again for lunch just to see.  I wanted to go to Skipper's for breakfast but there isn't a Skipper's any more.  It has a new name but I don't recall what it is.  It didn't have a buffet sign either.  Oh, well.  Dinner was at the Chincoteague Inn.  Their porch area is like a local bar but they serve food too.  The crab cakes were pretty good and the atmosphere was what I wanted.  I had a couple of drinks earlier and thought I shouldn't drive to AJ's.  One other thing, the Mariner is now a Quality Inn.  It looked  pretty good too.

Sunset Bay Villas.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.I didn't know what to expect of Chincoteague this visit.  There's been talk of a lot of new building.  The new bridge is well under way.  I'd guess 6 months to a year to finish it but don't have a basis for that.  Sunset Bay Villas is built.  In Ocean City, it would look nice.  In Chincoteague, I thought it was an eyesore.  It isn't ugly but didn't fit the landscape and blocked the view for many except those that could afford a $600K condo.  My thought was that if you need a place like that to stay, you may well not like the town you're staying in.  I like Chincoteague as it is but fear places like this will cause even more changes.
Landing at Water's Edge.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.
The Landing at Water's Edge is also nearly complete.  Its townhomes located between the Waterside Inn and the Anchor Inn.  They don't fit the town much in my opinion either but they don't take up near the view that Sunset Bay does.  They were $700K when we were last there and I didn't check this time.

Landmark Plaza.  Click to see larger picture.  Use browser back button to return here.The Landmark Center is like a ghost town.  Cap't Fish is where the Shucking House Cafe is.  They used to be where Sunset Bay is now.  Not my favorite but they must be doing OK.  Shucking House used to be Sue's favorite breakfast place because of being over the water.  The old Landmark Crab House looked closed but not necessarily deserted.  Not sure what's going on there.  The rest of the shops seem to be waiting to be torn down for the new condos and marina.

On the whole, I had a great time and look forward to going back.  The town is changing but much of what I like is still there.  Its still my kind of place to go to the beach.