Chincoteague, Eastern Shore Review

REVIEW #1: Sep 2014Ashman Feb2

We visited Chincoteague over a standard weekend, wanting somewhere relatively nearby to go and stay overnight and, as new arrivals in the US, to start our explorations of thecountry. This fits the bill prefectly. We left at lunchtime on Saturday and drove directly to Assateague to walk the wildlife refuge walks. These are well maintained and easy for walking or cycling. We were warned about the mosquitos and used plenty of bug spray, but were still eaten alive by them. We visited the Lighthouse, but found that the opening hours, to go up, were particularly short, closing at 2:30 each day. The refuge is particularly good for wildlife photography and we were lucky enough to come across turtles, ponies, fox squirrels and a number of large birds to photograph on the island. There is a huge beach on the eastern part of the island with large breaking waves that would suit surfers (I imagine, not being one myself), although red flags were flying on the day that we went and therefore no-one in the water at all.

After the visit to the Refuge, we went back to Chincoteague and watched the sun go down on the shorline, just off Main Street, before finding a Motel to stay for the night. Having not booked in advance, our options were slightly limited, but we chose the Birchwood Motel on Main Street (approx 1 mile away from the centre of town). The Motel is family run and the manager was particularly attentive. The rooms were functional and, while maybe could do with some modernisation, it was okay for us.  Breakfast was included in the price, although this only consisted of cereals and pastries, along with fruit juice and coffee. That evening, we went for dinner at Mr Baldy’s Restaurant. We were surprised to be the only customers in the entire place at 8pm. The food was basic, but okay, if a little “bar food” style in presentation and they do not serve alcohol.wild horses

bald eagleThe following day, we took a drive to another wildlife walk on Chincoteague island this time and then explored the island a little more. If you are into wildlife photography, then take some time to drive around the slightly more out of the way streets, as we found large numbers of Ospreys and Herons to photograph from relatively short distances. We then visited some of the boutique shops and galleries on Main Street while we got ready for a Boat Tour.  Having been recommended to book a Boat Tour of the Island in “Captain Dan’s Boat Tours”, it was the highlight of the visit. We were with Captain Ray (Dan’s father), who took us out for 2 1/2 hours and we were lucky enough to see 45 Ponies, a pod of Dolphins and 3 Bald Eagles, along with various Ospreys and other Birds. The price was $35.00 per person, but thoroughly worth every penny and I can totally recommend it to anyone – he will not take money off you if he feels that you did not get to see what you were after.

Overall, Chincoteague is great for wildlife and a short weekend away. There is little nightlife if that is what you are looking for, but plenty of walking and photography on offer – just make sure that you take the Mozzie Spray!

Dave and Monica Jones

 

REVIEW #2: Jan 2013

In January we took a long weekend trip to Chincoteague, Eastern Shore.We drive down from Yorktown and crossed the impressive Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) which is 23 miles long and cost $12 each way. It was a beautiful day and so decided to stop off for a walk in the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge, just the other side of the CBBT. Well worth the stop for a good brisk walk.

Continuing our journey to Chincoteague, we drove for about 2hrs, although I have to say the countryside enroute was not that impressive. We arrived late afternoon at our hotel, Hampton Inns and Suites – but this was impressive. Recently refurbished, with great rooms overlooking the bay and a decent sized indoor pool and jaccuzzi.  The staff were excellent, with a plentiful breakfast in the morning and all for less than $100 per night.  That evening we had a meal in ‘Don’s’ restuarant, a 2 min walk from the hotel – sadly this consisted of poor, overpriced food and only slightly better service.

The next day we awoke to another sunny day and views over the bay. We headed off to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge a few miles away. We spent the morning on trails around the refuge (all tarmac, which was good for the children on their bikes) and then the afternoon on the open sands of Assateague beach. With the day not finished, we took a dip in the pool and then headed to Bill’s Seafood Restaurant. Here you pay a little bit more, but the food, service and atmoshere were miles better, so we thoroughly recommend it.

All in all, a great getaway for a long weekend if you are after out of season peace, walks and fresh air and very affordable accomodation. Oh for some reason the famous Chincoteague horses were not playing that weekend, as we never even saw one!

The Ashmans

 

Ashman Feb