April 30th, 2013 by Katie Pate
In our last post, we outlined some fun ways to spend your time at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Beach, including crabbing, clamming and fishing. However, maybe seafood is not your thing. Here are more ideas for beach fun during your trip to the Virginia coast!
Horseback riding is allowed along the beach in the Over Sand Vehicle zone only. This area usually closes from March 15 to late Fall.
Find a beautiful reminder of your vacation on Chincoteague.
Shells can be a beautiful, affordable and natural souvenir of your visit to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Each person is allowed to take one gallon or less of unoccupied shells. Driftwood may not be collected.
Having a campfire on the beach is one of the nicest ways to spend an summer evening on the Virginia coast. Bring beverages and snacks – make hot dogs, s’mores and even clams! But keep in mind certain regulations must be followed so you don’t get in trouble with the park service. Campfires are allowed only in designated sites located along the beach. You also need a fire permit (which is free) and a site assignment. Get these at the Toms Cove Visitor Center.
Boating is an exciting way to explore Assateague and the waters surrounding the Island. Boats are allowed to land at Toms Cove Hook between September 1st and March 14th. However, there are no boat ramps or docks available for public use at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. So if you want to come to shore, make sure to bring your floaties or a waterproof bag for carrying your goods!
Can you believe we still have more ideas for beach fun this summer?!? Check back this month for our final post on Chincoteague Beach activities!
Need a Place to Call Home in Chincoteague?
We invite you to be our guests at Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast in downtown Chincoteague.
March 27th, 2013 by Katie Pate
As the warm weather returns to the Virginia Coast, the beaches will begin to fill with swimmers and sun bathers. What else can you do at the beach in Chincoteague and Assateague?
Fishing – Visitors can choose to fish in designated areas of Toms Cove and Swan Cove. Visitors may also choose fish from the beach, outside of life-guarded areas. Fish after hours by procuring an overnight fishing permit from the Toms Cove Visitor Center.
Some of the fish common to the waters around the refuge are bluefish, striped bass, summer flounder, Atlantic croaker, spot, and red drum. Clearnose skate, bullfish, and Southern stingrays may be caught, as well as smooth or spiny dogfish sharks. Crabs are notorious bait thieves, and can include lady crab, spider crab, and blue crab.
Crabbing – One of the most popular activities at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is crabbing. Crabbing is permitted in designated areas in Swan Cove and along Beach Road, as well as from the boardwalks near the entrance gates. Blue crabs make a tasty meal, and catching these feisty creatures only requires a few tools: a crab line, a net, and a bucket for your catch. Don’t forget bait! Chicken necks are a good choice – the smellier, the better! When crabbing, remember to observe state limits on size and quantity. Each person is allowed one bushel of hard crabs per day.
Clamming – All you need to clam are a bucket or basket and a clam rake. Look for the tell-tale “key hole” in the mud, or just pick a spot and start digging. There are several different types of clams that can be found in the waters around the refuge, including hard-shell clams (also known as “quahogs”), soft-shell clams, and razor clams, which have a long and narrow shell. Visitors may take a maximum of 250 clams in one day. There are also multiple commercial and private clam beds in the waters around Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. These areas are prohibited for recreational clamming. Resale of clams taken from the refuge is prohibited.
Come back to the blog to see the rest of the list!
Lodging on Chincoteague
When visiting Chincoteague, we invite you to be our guests at Miss Molly’s Inn. We are a premier bed and breakfast with personable, friendly staff and delicious breakfasts. Welcome to the island!
March 14th, 2013 by Katie Pate
Next month, the infamous Chincoteague Pony herd will be rounded up for vet checks. The southern herd will be rounded up on Friday April 6 and the Northern herd on Saturday April 7. You will be able to see the Southern herd in the Southern Corral, just off the road that takes you to the beach.
This is one way to see the Chincoteauge Ponies all together besides the main pony swim in July. If you’re not into crowds, this is an alternative.
Observing Ponies on Assateague
You don’t have to attend a penning or the pony swim to see the wild herds on Assateague.
To see wild ponies, first head to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island.
Ponies can often be seen in the marshes along Beach Road and from the observation platform on the Woodland Trail.
There are a few parking pull-offs on Beach Road, but if you don’t have much luck there, your next best bet is to take a walk along Woodland Trail, also off Beach Access Rd. The trail is paved for part of the way. About half a mile into the trail, there is a pony viewing spot. It is clearly marked. Note: The mosquitoes can be vicious, so bring spray!
You can also sign up for a tour of the wildlife refuge and the opportunity to see more wild ponies at the Visitor Center. The tours are at 10 and 4. If you are interested in this tour, be sure to sign up for it early because they fill up quickly.
To get more of an up-close encounter with the ponies, head to an unusual location: McDonald’s! The McDonald’s on Maddox Boulevard is right next door to the pony pen. Often there are seven or eight ponies and with their foals. For a quarter, you can get corn feed out of a dispenser and feed the ponies.
Please consider Miss Molly’s your home away from home when you visit Chincoteague.
March 6th, 2013 by Katie Pate
The chill of winter winds is starting to dissipate from the Island and plants are blooming. Wisps of warm air are returning to the breezes, and we have a variety of events taking place on the island to get us pumped up for the 2013 season. Check it out!
Museum of Chincoteague Island Opens for 2013
On March 23, the Museum will re-open after closing for the winter. This season the museum features an exhibit on Chincoteague life circa 1900. The Museum is open on weekends (Fri-Sat-Sun) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located at 7125 Maddox Blvd. For more details visit www.chincoteaguemuseum.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 757-336-6117.
Easter Decoy and Art Festival
The 34th Annual Decoy Show and Fine Art Festival held on Friday and Saturday of Easter Weekend, March 29 & 30. Local and national carvers and artists of all kinds exhibit and sell their works.
The show takes place at Chincoteague Combined School (4586 Main St.) from 12 – 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
See beautiful bird decoys like these at the 34th annual Easter Decoy and Art Festival
Awards are given in various categories, including the Curtis Merritt Award of Excellence, which goes to an artist who demonstrates the highest standards of creativity, character and overall quality. This is decided by the other exhibitors. Best Carver and Best Artist are people’s choice awards and the Best Photograph of Chincoteague or Assateague is chosen by the committee.
Wooden Easter Eggs will also be on display, decorated by the exhibitors. They are a show highlight each year and fetch handsome sums. There will be a silent auction as well.
For more details visit www.chincoteaguedecoyshow.com, email email@example.com, or call 757-336-6161.
Celebrate Spring at Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast
Miss Molly’s Chincoteague bed and breakfast has five porches surrounded by landscaping and a beautiful English garden. Come this spring and enjoy watching the plants bloom and flourish after the winter while enjoying coffee in the mornings and a glass of wine before dinner.
February 19th, 2013 by Katie Pate
As the winter weather is starting to dissipate, we begin to look forward to the heat of the summer again. That lovely feeling of a cool ocean breeze on your face in the hot sun and digging your toes into warm sand on the beach – oh! We can’t wait for the summer days to return!
We think one of the best ways to spend a warm day in Chincoteague is by participating in some water sports. And we have a bunch of great water activities here on the island! Here are some of our favorite:
- Kayaking:Explore the warm back bay waters (water temps: 70 to 90 degrees) of Assateague Island while kayaking into calm creeks, coves and a vast array of pristine inland waterways where the Chinctoeague ponies make their home. Kayak guides can take you into areas for wildlife viewing. See the famous Assateague Lighthouse and land at a beach on Assateague where the wild horses roam.
The Assateague lighthouse
- Sailing: Have a unique experience, whether you are a total sailing novice or an expert! Most sailing charters let everyone become part of the crew, should they choose. Or just relax and be the ‘lookout.’ View the beauty of Chincoteague and Assateague from a different perspective. Often times sailing charters see dolphin, sea turtles and waterfowl.
- Parasailing: Another great way to see the island from a unique perspective, this fun and exhilarating ride is sure to please young or old patrons!
- Jet Skiing: If you have a penchant for speed, try a jet ski! Enjoy stunning views of the island from the water. Most rental agencies also offer lessons and guided tours.
- Surfing: Assateague Island offers a pristine beach with fun waves. The surf breaks on Assateague Island are mostly sand bars. The surf improves significantly when there is any type of weather disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean, generating a swell. On really good swells local surfers will sometimes venture by boat to some good breaks on the nearby barrier islands.
Whatever your pleasure, we hope you will stay at our Chincoteague bed and breakfast during your visit!
February 4th, 2013 by Katie Pate
One of the worst misconceptions about the modern bed and breakfast is that B&B’s are for older, wealthy people. We are here to tell you – that’s just not true!
Let us explain how a stay at Miss Molly’s Chincoteague Inn is a great value.
1. Location ~ We are on Main Street, which means you can walk to restaurants and shopping. Save money on gas and relieve yourself from the burden of driving by having centrally-located lodging.
2. Elegant Outdoor Spaces ~ Our B&B has five wonderful porches where you can feel the sea breezes. Adorned with rocking chairs, loungers and even a hammock on our large second floor deck, we provide more than just a bed and a roof over your head.
3. Complementary Snacks and Beverages ~ Hotels these days have baskets with snacks and bottles of water in your room, however, the water costs $5 and the granola bar is $3. That doesn’t happen at Miss Molly’s, where we have tea, coffee, cookies and home-baked goodies available 24 hours a day in our lovely screened in porch. For us, this is just part of great hospitality!
4. Plentiful Amenities ~ In your room, enjoy chocolates on your pillow, fluffy robes, high quality hand-made soaps and shampoos, bottled water and makeup remover cloths. Free of charge.
5. Beach Gear ~ Save space in your suitcase and let us provide the beach equipment. We have bikes,
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January 21st, 2013 by Katie Pate
Has it always been a dream of yours to see the infamous Chincoteague Pony Auction? For many horse lovers and fans of Misty of Chincoteague, this event is something they’ve pictured hundreds of times. If the same goes for you, it is time to start thinking about planning your trip!
This July will mark the 88th year of the pony swim. Tens of thousands of spectators from around the world will gather on our little Island to watch this annual tradition. In this blog, we are going to give you some advice for when you attend.
July 20 & 21: The Pony Round-Up
The weekend prior to Wednesday’s Pony Swim, the “Saltwater Cowboys” – the fellas that drive the ponies across the water on horseback – will begin rounding up the approximately 150 wild ponies that live on Assateague Island.
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January 5th, 2013 by Katie Pate
When Marguerite Henry came to Chincoteague in order to research her new book, she stayed here, in our Victorian bed and breakfast. Even in 1946, when Henry visited, this beautiful home was in use as accommodations on Chincoteague Island for vacationers and the like. The owner of the property, Molly Rowley, was a young widow who brought boarders into her home as a way to make a living after her husband passed away. Henry would sit on the porch with Miss Molly and Captain Jack, Molly’s uncle, discussing thoughts and ideas for her new book, Misty of Chincoteague.
Author Marguerite Henry with the real-life Misty of Chincoteague.
History behind the Misty of Chincoteague Book
While Marguerite Henry was on the island, she attended the Pony Penning and met the Beebe family. The Beebes included Clarence and Ida Beebe, as well as their two grandchildren, Maureen and Paul. The real horse on which the book was based was actually foaled in domesticity on Chincoteague at the Beebe Ranch, not in the wild on Assateague Island as was told in the book. However, as in the book, Misty was sired by a stallion named Pied Piper, out of a dam called Phantom. Though these horses also were domesticated in real life, they too provided inspiration for the wild ponies portrayed in the novel.
Henry fell in love with Misty and wanted to purchase her from the family, but Clarence Beebe knew how much the children loved the foal and refused to sell her. Eventually, an agreement was made between Beebe and the author, and Beebe allowed Henry to purchase the horse for $150 if she included his grandchildren in her next book!
Henry followed through with the agreement and published Misty of Chincoteague in 1947, featuring Maureen, Paul, and the little filly as the main characters of the work. Misty continued to grow up on Henry’s farm in Illinois, accompanying the author on book signings across the country.
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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