December 23rd, 2012 by Katie Pate
Are you a seafood lover? I know I am. Oysters happen to be one of my favorites. I prefer them raw with lemon and horseradish cocktail sauce or Bar-b-Qued with lemon and Tabasco.
Separated from the Chesapeake by a long peninsula and sheltered from the ocean by only the lip of Assateague Island National Seashore, Chincoteague Bay is not fed by any significant sources of fresh water. Oysters from here pack the full salt wallop of the Atlantic. For this reason, and because of the easy access, Chincoteague was a popular spot for gathering Gulf oysters to sell in northern markets.
‘Chincoteague Salts’ was the classic name for the oysters from our island. You can still find them some places. True to the name, it is a very salty oyster, generally skinny and elongated. Also an exceptionally clean one for the mid-Atlantic, as you’d expect from the National Seashore setting.
History of the Chincoteague Oysters
The real heyday for Chincoteague oysters was during the late 1800s and very early 1900s. During this time, the boomtowns of Greenbackville and Franklin (on the mainland, across the bay from Chincoteague) thrived thanks to bivalve gold. Even though native Chincoteague oysters were gone by the 1940s due to overfishing and disease, there was a second period of economic viability that resulted from planting seed oysters.
Oysters transplanted from the Chesapeake Bay into Chincoteague Bay allowed them to be marketed as ‘Chincoteague Salts’ and also gave them a saltier taste than oysters from other areas. These oysters were allowed to rest and fatten in the Chincoteague Bay for two to three years before being harvested. Of course, this business, like any other, had those who would cut corners and harvest them as soon as they had been in the water a few hours or days. Nevertheless, when a menu or sign in Baltimore, Philadelphia or New York read “Chincoteague Oysters,” these transplants brought top dollar. (Source: From Burns, M.A. and L.S. Hartsock. 2007. Voices of the Chincoteague: Memories of Greenbackville and Franklin City. )
Today, the Toby Island Bay Oyster company and others continue this tradition of bounty from the seaside.
December 5th, 2012 by Katie Pate
Are you tired of the packed bars, restaurants and city streets on New year’s eve? Come and join us on the Virginia coast for something completely different!
Chincoteague Island is still a place of beauty and wonder during the winter. Sure, it’s not bathing suit weather, but a walk on the beach with a warm coat, holding hands with a loved one as the fresh ocean wind stirs your hair – this is a great place to start a new year fresh!
Speaking of starting fresh, the #1 way to do that here on the Island is to participate in the Polar Pony Plunge. You may have heard of a polar bear plunge – well, this is our version.
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November 17th, 2012 by Katie Pate
Starting at 7 p.m. on December 1st, the Chincoteague Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade is adorable and family friendly. Make sure to arrive early in order to get a good seat. The parade will feature floats, marching bands, color guards and fire companies from around the shore. Expect plenty of people on horseback, including the saltwater cowboys. Saltwater cowboys spend some wet and wild hours at the end of each July herding the Chincoteague ponies from their year-round home on Assateague Island across a football-field-long stretch of water to Chincoteague Island for the annual Pony Penning and Auction.
Of course old Saint Nick himself will be making a special visit to the parade. The awards ceremony and visits with Santa Clause take place at the Firehouse after the parade.
This is a treasured event by locals and we love participating every year. If you would like to visit our island this winter, won’t you consider our historic Chincoteague bed and breakfast for your stay?
October 22nd, 2012 by Katie Pate
On the Second Saturday of each month, from April through November, the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance sponsors the 2nd Saturday Art Stroll. This is a creative community event featuring art of all media: arts and crafts demonstrations, exhibits, live music, readings and book signings, wine tastings…and the unexpected! This year’s last Second Saturday event is November 10!
The Art Stroll takes place at participating galleries and shops around the Chincoteague Island from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. In many cases, there are also special events during the day at the downtown park. Come out and meet local artists, see exhibits of a wide variety of visual arts, listen to live music and more!
John Beam of aNoPheles Blues Gallery wails on drums with Island Stomp
Here are some examples of fun events that have taken place at past 2nd Saturdays. Call the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance for details about November’s Second Saturday at 757-336-0044.
Threadgoodes – Carol Mabin signs copies of her Watson House Cookbook from 6 – 8 p.m.
Threadgoodes – The Pampered Chef, 1-3:00pm
Island Butterfly – Oil and water color painter Lucy Roehm
Flying Fish – Stained glass by Tom Bolean
Island Arts – Fish Carver Ed Kuhm
Osprey Nest Gallery – Painting by Kevin McBride
The Working Artists Studio – June Mohr and Gail Reichard – painting pictures of boats, 6-9pm
Flying Fish Gallery – new spoon jewelry by Margie Bolean
Wine, Cheese and More – Virginia wines are featured, 6-9pm. Tastes are free but donations to the CCA Scholarship fund are appreciated.
Why don’t you book a weekend stay at our Chincoteague bed and breakfast, where you can explore all of the fun and art the island has to offer? This is a great time to get away and have some quality time with a spouse or girlfriends before the chaos and obligation of the holiday season.
October 5th, 2012 by Katie Pate
Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company hosts a number of beloved events throughout the year. One such event is the annual Chili-Chowder Cookoff, held the third weekend in October. This is the first time the fire company is hosting and they invite locals and visitors to participate and enjoy.
A family friendly Chincoteague event
On Saturday, October 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. come with your appetite to the carnival grounds at 3648 Main Street! The admission to the Chili-Chowder cookoff is free. Along with delicious stews, expect an arts & crafts fair, a raffle and prizes for the best chili and chowder.
There will be live music at the annual festival and the adorable the Little Miss Chili Pepper & Mr. Hot Stuff competition. Any little boys or girls interested should apply by October 13, 2008. The children will be onstage answering questions and have the option to display a talent if desired. Ages 3 to 6 may enter. The competition is always a crowd pleaser and lots of fun! First place winners win a $25 savings bond and ride in the Christmas Parade representing the Main Street Merchants.
And of course, there will be tons of chowder and chili to eat! Don’t worry, hamburgers hot dogs and ice cream will be for sale as well.
Food will be served at noon until it’s all gone!
For more information, visit Chincoteague.com/cvfc3 or call (757) 894-8771.
September 13th, 2012 by jenn
Chincoteague celebrates the delicious oyster with the 40th Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival in October.
Saturday ~ Noon to 4 pm
@ Tom’s Cove Park ~ 8128 Beebe Road
The native peoples of what is now Virginia’s eastern shore long valued the fruits of the sea. And when settlers established the little town of Chincoteague, it soon became a fishing and shellfishing village. Once the causeway was completed in 1922, the Chincoteague seafood industry really began to flourish with a trade in fish, crabs, clams and oysters to New York City and Philadelphia.
There’s no better way to honor this long and distinguished shellfishing tradition in Chincoteague…than by eating a ton of shellfish. The Chincoteague Oyster Festival has become a grand tradition among locals and visitors alike. It is a day of eating oysters, oysters and more oysters at Tom’s Cove Park, 8128 Beebe Road in Chincoteague. And if you need a break from all those fresh, delicious oysters, there will also be hot dogs, salad, steamed crab, clam chowder and more!
That ‘and more’ includes live music by the band, Island Boy. Their mix of rock and soul will make you get up and dance, whether or not you’re absolutely full to the gills with oysters. In addition to dancing and music, there will also be a contest with lots of opportunities to win great prizes–everything from tickets to next year’s Oyster Festival, to gift certificates for local businesses and cruises around the islands.
Tickets are $40 for ages 5 and over. That includes all you can eat oysters plus more food, entertainment and general good fun! Buy your tickets in advance online and learn more about this fun Chincoteague community event at ChincoteagueOysterFestival.com. This is a popular event, so get your tickets before they’re gone!
Special thanks to the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce for putting on such a great annual festival!
September 2nd, 2012 by jenn
Spider’s Explorer is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the Virginia Coast.
During your stay at our Chincoteague Island lodging, you’ll find that Virginia’s Coastal waters offer so much for visitors to enjoy. One of our favorite water adventures is a pontoon cruise on Spider’s Explorer. Captain Spider has many years of experience navigating his inspected and insured boat around Assateague and Chincoteague islands. The 24-foot Tri-toon Lextra 2510 can take up to six touring customers. The roomy, comfortable boat is also very stable and safe.
Cruises are two hours and, depending on the season, they give you a chance to see the Chincoteague ponies, migrating birds, dolphins, turtles and other sea life. It’s also a great way to experience the Virginia Coast’s spectacular sunsets and gorgeous ocean views. Bring your camera and capture the memories! Other special tours can be arranged during the annual Pony Penning and Fourth of July celebrations.
Chincoteague “Spider” Cruises are also a perfect way to celebrate honeymoons, friends’ getaways, birthday parties and weddings! (The captain is also a licensed Marriage Celebrant.)
Here are recent comments made by passengers about their experiences on Spider’s Sunset Cruises in Chincoteague:
I definitely would recommend Spiders Explorer sunset cruises while vacationing on Chincoteague Island to any family with or without small children. Although we’ve been visiting Chincoteague Island, VA for many years, Captain Bob Fears added to our knowledge of the island’s history and wildlife…The pony herds were off in the distance this year but with Captain Bob Fears this year we saw a young bald eagle and many dolphins which we hadn’t seen last year. The sunset was gorgeous…. So glad we decided to do a cruise again this year.
Patty S. ~ Palmyra, VA
Excellent! We took the sunset cruise and it was perfect. We saw ponies, osprey, oyster beds, and an eagle. The tour includes the entire island and Spider is very knowledgeable about the island, its wildlife and history. Definitely recommend this tour.
Tami G. ~ Grand Junction, CO
We hope you get to experience a cruise on Spider’s Explorer as well as other wonderful outdoor adventures on the Virginia Coast Islands. The staff at our Chincoteague B&B will be happy to make the arrangements for your adventure on the water.
August 15th, 2012 by jenn
View Art at the Chincoteague Art Stroll
If you enjoy looking at art, meeting artists and enjoying food, wine and live music, then this monthly Chincoteague, VA event is just the thing. There are often special events such as book signings, readings, and other spontaneous and fun happenings too! You never know what will happen, so it’s best to just go to Chincoteague and check it out.
The Chincoteague Art Stroll is held the second Saturday of each month. From April through September, the walk is 6-10 pm at all participating galleries, studios and shops throughout Chincoteague Island. During October and November, hours are 6-9 pm. From December through March, there’s a break as we cozy up for the winter months.
As you tour the galleries and shops in Chincoteague, you’ll see original photographs and paintings. Many celebrate the beauty of our Virginia coastal town as well as the Chincoteague ponies. There’s a wide range of subject matter and styles to choose from. You’ll also see whimsical and finely made crafts, from beautiful mobiles and jewelry to hand-sewn art bags and blown glass. Art openings all weekend, street entertainers, demonstrations and refreshments at each location add to the festive atmosphere of the Art Stroll in Chincoteague.
The book shops, and gourmet food and wine stores also stay open later. Taste samples of their wares and buy some to bring back to your room at our inn near Assateague Island. The galleries and gift shops have many wonderful and original gifts to buy for yourself or for your loved ones who love creative gifts.
For more information on this Chincoteague Cultural Alliance event, please visit ChincoteagueCulturalAlliance.org/2ndSat.html.
While you’re staying at our Chincoteague B&B, please be sure to enjoy the galleries, fine arts and crafts produced by our local Chincoteague artists and artisans.
August 2nd, 2012 by jenn
At our Chincoteague Island inn, we do a lot of things to ensure your comfort. From the big things such as our concierge service, to small things like chocolates by your pillow, we do all we can to make sure your stay is pleasantly memorable. Newly added to this list are the memory foam mattresses we’ve put in some of our rooms.
Many people love memory foam mattresses. Out of all the styles of mattresses, memory foam rates higher on average for owner satisfaction. They’re especially good for people who need pain relief from pressure points because the foam conforms to the shape of the body. There are no springs poking at you and the foam fills along your sides so there are no unsupported spaces. Memory foam mattresses are also great for couples: when one person gets up at night, the movement doesn’t transfer across the foam. The person still sleeping doesn’t get jarred awake by the motions of their partner getting up and out of bed. In addition, memory foam mattresses last longer–about 10 to 15 years–compared to most quality traditional mattresses which have a lifespan of eight to ten years.
Currently, the following rooms have memory foam mattresses: Marguerite Henry and The Yellow Room. In addition to having a comfortable memory foam king bed, the Marguerite Henry has a spacious sitting area and full private bath. The Yellow Room also features a king bed and a wonderful bright decor. If you’re a memory foam fan, be sure to book either of these two rooms! Also, we intend to keep adding these popular mattresses gradually as the mattresses in our other rooms eventually wear out.
If you have any thoughts about the addition of memory foam mattresses, please do let us know. We always love to hear from you as we continually work to give every guest at our Assateague area inn the finest hospitality.
July 16th, 2012 by jenn
Our Chincoteague inn features a delightful English Garden with many types of scented heirloom roses.
One of the things guests love about our inn near Assateague is the abundance of flowers in our English Garden. At this time of year especially, the hollyhocks are putting on a wonderful show of yellow, pink, purple and red. Trumpet vines are singing with flowers and the clematis are overflowing their trellises. Most showy of all are our roses. We have a tremendous variety of them including Floribunda, also known as “rambling roses,” which cluster and climb thickly in glorious shades of pink. We love our old fashioned roses such as Centifolia and Moss Roses in fuscias and reds. These types of heirloom roses are less hybridized than many of the newer varieties of roses. As a result, they tend to be more disease resistant and are generally less fussy to maintain. It makes it that much easier to create a lush garden bursting with flowers!
Not only are they lovely to look at, but these heirlooms are also treasured for their wonderful scent. When our guests walk along our garden paths, both the smells and sights are truly a delight. Most of our varieties do have thorns, but they’re not at all like the aggressively thorny Rugosas. Our heirloom roses are much more friendly than that! If you carefully put your face close to the flowers, you can inhale deeply and enjoy our roses’ aromatic charms. The best time of day is late afternoon or early evening on a warm day (plenty of those lately!) By then, the scent will be intoxicating. If you’re curious about these sorts of things, try getting up early, have a whiff of the roses (and then indulge in your delicious two-course Miss Molly’s inn breakfast.) Later, after you’ve had your true Engligh tea of home-baked goods, fresh strawberries & cream and other refreshments, go back out to the garden again. If you smell the roses, you’ll notice that the later afternoon/early evening scent is much stronger! But don’t wait too long…cool temperatures inhibit the smell.
Whether you’re staying at our Chincoteague B&B or you’re going about your daily business, we hope you take some time to go out and smell the roses.