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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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.