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There aren’t many beach towns left in America that celebrate time honored traditions like that of Chincoteague, VA. Off the coast of Virginia, Chincoteague Island is a historic village where wild ponies are the talk of the town. If you remember the book “Misty of Chincoteague” you’ll fall in love with this seaside town dedicated to the preservation of the wild ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague. In addition to the famed ponies, there are the people and businesses of Chincoteague that make this beach town unforgettable.
We went to Chincoteague for a visit with “Aunt Jean and Uncle Joe” who took the liberty of showing us a great time on the island. With any visit to the shore, there is always seafood involved. Luckily, we were with the two island experts who knew all the best local spots.
Our visit started with steamed claims, soft shell crabs and a tomato pie. If you’ve never had a tomato pie, stop by Church Street Produce and order one. Filled with tomatoes, mozzarella, and herbs in a delightful pie crust, the pies are made to order and fresh out of the oven when you pick them up. With oysters on the menu, we went where the locals shop, Sea Best Seafood in the heart of Chincoteague for the freshest catch and everything you need to make it delicious – be sure to tell them Jean and Joe sent you! No beach trip would be complete without ice cream! The Island Creamery makes hand-made small batch ice cream with free tastes of any flavor. My coffee ice cream in a waffle cone was a splendid mid-day treat. Eric had Birthday Cake ice cream and it was like a celebration in a cone!
Of course, the local brewery is always a point of interest with us. New to Chincoteague, the Black Narrows Brewing Company is the only brewery on the island. With the mainstay beer, Salts, a tasty tart oyster wheat with a briny hint of lemon, we were intrigued with the creativity here. Other offerings included a delicious Mosquito Magnet IPA, Lishe, a wild fennel stout with hints of licorice and roasted coffee, and Take in the Sky, a melon, shortbread, and black pepper concoction. The beers here are created with locally sourced ingredients and they are big on giving back to the community. I can’t wait to go back here to see whats new on tap!
Our discovery of the island continued with a trip to the Wildlife Nature Reserve, a habitat for the modern-day descendants of domestic horses left on the island three centuries ago to fend for themselves, and they did. They have adapted to the hardships of living near the ocean and continue to evolve into beautiful specimens of survival. In addition to the ponies, there is an abundance of wildlife, aquatic life, and plants that are unique to this delicate ecosystem.
If you love the sky, Chincoteague will not disappoint. Feed your curiosity with a visit to Wallop Island NASA Visitors Center. We didn’t get to see a rocket launch but we did get to see an amazing display of skill as US Navy Pilots performed “touch and go” maneuvers where they land briefly, touch the runway and take off again. This was a spectacular show of discipline, adroitness, and coordination in the skies overhead. Sunsets are spectacular and the night sky is bright with constellations and planets easily visible with the naked eye.
And there is still more…we were able to ride our bikes around the entire island. As a history nerd, I found a special place on the island, Chincoteague’s oldest standing structure. The home was owned by Captain Timothy Hill and built sometime around 1800. This rare home was discovered beneath a dilapidated structure in 2009 and restored to its former architectural glory, complete with a wooden chimney. There are two ships carved into the exterior logs, however, the artist remains a mystery. Legend has it, the house is haunted by Timothy Hill’s daughter Jenny. She was killed by her long time love Tom Freeman, when her father denied permission for them to marry. The house was moved from its original location and is open to the public on weekends.
Chincoteague is a nature lovers dream come true. There is just something about the beach that brings balance to one’s life. Eric and I both agree, we are drawn to the ocean and feel at peace there. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with our beloved Aunt Jean and Uncle Joe in their “happy place.” We felt welcome, comfortable, and loved. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Until next time,
Eric and Lori
Trains, plans, and automobiles have always been our mode of travel, until now…for the first time, we set foot on the high seas upon the @CarnivalCruise Pride, an impressive floating city of metal and martinis. When we embarked on the ship, it became evident we were in for a week long extravaganza. With nine stories, this boat had a waterslide on the top, a casino on the bottom, and everything you could possibly want or need in between.
For the first time ever, my brothers and sisters came together for an eight day vacation on a cruise-ship to the Bahamas. In addition, my nephew and his wife along with her family, made the trip as well. With a group of 17, it was hard not to notice us. For the many of us in the group, this was our first cruise.
Food – It’s true what they say about the food on a cruise, it is delicious, abundant, and available around the clock. We loved the main dining room, each evening we gathered with whole family to a formal meal. We adored the evening menu with things like prosciutto ruffles, braised rabbit, broiled ox tongue, lobster tail, swordfish, salmon, steak, pork chops, and the list goes on. Each night the menu changed to reflect the port of call of our location. Our servers, Gerald and Mohammad, performed nightly with song and dance routines to lighten the mood. Other restaurants included Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, Bonsai Sushi, and David’s Steakhouse to name a few. Needless to say, we tried every eatery on the boat.
Drinks – there is just something about an exotic cocktail that confirms you’re on vacation. We tried as many concoctions as our alcohol tolerance would allow. Our favorite spot on the ship was the Alchemy Bar, where the mixologists were impressive, accurate, and intense. Of course, there were bars at every turn with craft brews, cocktails, and their infamous Bloody Mary’s. Many in our group managed to meet the 15 alcoholic drink limit per day, an impressive task in itself!
Fun – Each day, cruise guests are given a schedule of the day’s planned activities on the ship. We jumped right in a attended a cooking demonstration at David’s Steakhouse that included a four- course sampler. Not to be outdone, Bonsai Sushi offered a sushi rolling demonstration, complete with samples to try. Other activities like game shows, stand-up comedy, and karaoke happened nightly.
Ports – Our nautical course included the islands of Princess Cays, Nassau, and Freeport of the Bahamas. The sunshine was a pleasant change of pace from the overcast skies we left in Baltimore.
Princess Cay is an island owned by the cruise line. Lined with royal blue chases, we found ourselves on a pristine private beach. The cruise line prepared a barbecue-style lunch on the island and offered shopping, drinks, and anything your day at the beach required.
Nassau was not what what we expected. Once you left the dock you were thrusted in the middle of a bustling thoroughfare. The markets were filled with local crafts and merchandise. The locals were well trained in tourist techniques to get your attention and make you feel special. We were greeted as the beautiful lady and the handsome gentleman, as an continual icebreaker. The local beach was patrolled by armed security and we were warned not to stray from the first two blocks for safety reasons.
Freeport was our last stop. It was an industrial port surrounded by freighters hauling shipping containers. Just off the dock, there was small market area complete with souvenirs and tchotchkes to tempt the masses.
Our final night at sea was one for the record books. A winter storm named Skyler, created a weather phenomenon called a Bomb Cyclone on the east coast. The captain gave us fair warning the seas would be rough during the night and he was right. With 87 mph winds slapping the side of the ship, the real adventure began. As we hunkered down in our cabin, the sounds of the ship reacting to the rough water was like a scene from a movie, you know the one I’m talking about. We made it to calmer seas by morning about five hours behind schedule. The #CarnivalCruisePride crew was outstanding and never missed a beat to make our vacation memorable, right down to the last hour.
Thanks @CarnivalCruise for a memorable vacation on our first #Cruise in the #Caribbean. #Humbleweeds #CarnivalPride #FunSquad
You know the old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side? Well, it’s true in the US. Like thousands of others before us, we made the move to Colorado one year ago from the East coast. Colorado is synonymous for things like 14’ers, alpine skiing, craft beer, and cannabis. With the world at our feet, we decided to apply for jobs in the most controversial industry in America right now, cannabis. (more…)
Are you overwhelmed with too much stuff? Do you still hang on to old tax returns or text books from college? Does The thought of cleaning out the garage, a closet, or the entire house leave you feeling stressed? There are plenty of theories of why we hang on to things, but it’s different for each individual. According to Psychology Today, one reason, we don’t know how to proceed to remedy the situation because it’s all so overwhelming. Whether it’s an emotional attachment to items or just not sure where to begin, consider the following tips to start simplifying your excess baggage. (more…)