5.18.2018

Spring Break 2018: Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

During the kids' Spring Break (back in March), we took a quick an overnight trip to Chincoteague/Assateague Island.  They are known for the wild ponies that have lived on the island since the 17th Century.  We knew Jonathan would love it and the rest of us were just excited to get to the beach.
Headed to the coast!





Our first stop (about 15 minutes from our final destination) was Wallops Island.  We had heard about the NASA Facility there and thought the kids would enjoy checking it out.  If I'm being honest, I knew Ron would probably be most excited about it. :)


We saw this plane continually circling the area and touching down at the nearby runway.  We learned this was one of the locations that Navy pilots train to land on aircraft carriers.

An autographed photo from Neil Armstrong to the Wallops Station.  Pretty cool!

 








After that brief stop, we made our way to Chincoteague.

We were all starving so we went straight to lunch.  We were looking forward to some seafood, but the place we stopped at wasn't opening for the season until the next night.  They suggested Famous Pizza so that's where we went.

We checked into the hotel after lunch, but before we made our way to the room stopped to see the views.  It was gorgeous!


Luckily, our balcony had the same view.

Cute little cottages near our hotel.
Next, we were finally headed to the beach...






The water was FREEZING.  As much as the kids wanted to get their feet wet, they were also worried about getting too wet so they did a lot of running away from the waves.





















After the beach, we went to check out the lighthouse and take a quick bike ride along one of the paths.


 

We saw some ponies way off in the distance!  Not as close as we would have liked. :(



We brought our own bikes and I forget why we didn't bring mine.  I got stuck riding Kaitlyn's.  Haha!



Although the temps were chillier than we would have liked, we had to take the challenge of seeing which of the two rivaling island ice cream shops had the better treats.  Our first stop was Mr. Whippy!



We were still searching for wild ponies, but Jonathan was delighted to find this friend adjacent to the McDonald's parking lot.



We grabbed our gourmet meal to-go and rushed back to the hotel to catch the sunset from our balcony.




For the kids, the highlight of any trip we take is the hotel pool.  They took their pre-bedtime dip after the sun went down.

We woke up the next morning to head to the beach for sunrise.  Unfortunately, the clouds didn't give us much of a view. 



Kaitlyn was too cold to leave the car.  We managed to talk her into a few family selfies.




Jonathan weathered the cold morning snuggled between us.

If you look closely, you can see deer on either side of the road...still no wild ponies.

We headed back to the lighthouse to take the trip to the top.  This is where we discovered Jonathan's possible fear of heights.  
 

Unlike his sister, he had no interest in stepping outside for a picture at the top.
 

He just wanted me to take him back down so he could get out of that thing.

We decided to take one last bike ride on a Wilderness path where we heard we had a better chance of seeing ponies.  It started drizzling before we even set off on the path so Kaitlyn wasn't going anywhere.  After a few minutes of sitting in the car and seeing that it wasn't raining too much, (and hearing that the boys saw some ponies) I was able to convince her to give the bike ride another try. 


Jonathan found ponies!  They were so far away and barely visible, but we saw them! 
Jonathan and Ron climbed through the marshy area to get a closer look.  He was so happy!




We found a few more animal friends as we finished the path.

There's an eagle way up there.




Our last stop was the Assateague Island Visitors Center.  We heard all about the wildlife on the islands and learned that we were on the wrong side of the island to see the truly wild ponies!  Apparently, the ponies on the Virginia side of the island are pinned in large areas around the island.  They are monitored and get regular veterinarian care.  The Maryland side of the island has all of the true wild ponies who are not regularly monitored.





One last dip in the hotel pool before lunch.


We had a delicious seafood lunch before hitting the road.

And of course, Kaitlyn had to try the other ice cream shop, Island Creamery!  She said this was the winner because they had so many flavors to choose from!





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