Monday, July 23, 2012

Chincoteague + Assateague Island {road trip}

Chincoteague Island was mine and Joseph's first official vacation after our honeymoon.   We traveled 6 hours to this small town and we both instantly felt a connection to it.  {It could have something to do with with aftermath, 9 months later out popped Zoe.}  It reminds me of all the things I use to love about my hometown {Surf City, NC} before all the tourists moved in.  A quant little fishing town with loads of hidden treasures just waiting to be appreciated, kids riding bikes, bed and breakfasts, fisherman coming in from the docks, old shacks, fried seafood, hand carved decoy and most importantly genuine, good hearted people.  It's amazing, how age makes you miss things that we so often took for granted in the past.

Assateague Island is nestled on the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland.  It's approximately 37 miles long with 2/3 of its northern island in Maryland and 1/3 of the southern island in Virginia.  The southern part of the island is called the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  There is no one road connecting the two bordering states on the island.  Therefore, when we have only visited the Virginian side of Assateague Island.  It's know for it's lighthouse, bird habitats and it's annual Pony Penning. {more info}

For the past couple of years, I have been taking my kids back to Chincoteague Island, VA.    We had the privilege of meeting some "locals" on our first trip and over the past 10 years, we now consider them family.  My kids now refer to them as Aunt Dee and Uncle Red and they have all the love and admiration as if they were their own.

My family and I are in Chincoteague now.  "Pony Penning takes place the last week of July.  It is a once in a lifetime event that after this week, we will now have had the privilege of seeing twice.  Once a year, they corral all the wild ponies and horses to the tip of the island where they swim across the channel onto the mainland.  After, a brief rest, Saltwater Cowboys herd them down Main Street to the local fire department where they are auctioned off the following morning.  

Last years auction raised $99,500 for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, 69 horses were sold, lowest bid was $450 and the highest bid was $6,700.

{Pictures were taken during last years visit.}

Every road trip needs a song.  This is one of my daughter's favorites from Flicka, her favorite movie.


  1. Awesome post, makes me want to visit! do they auction the horses to control the population?

  2. Yes and no. Chincoteague doesn't have a fire tax like we do. They have a volunteer fire department and every year for the past 87 years they have auctioned off the horses to raise money for the fire department as well as they hold a fireman's carnival in which all proceeds go to the fire department. The firemen take care of the horses on the island year round making sure they get vaccinated and fed. They don't auction off all the horses just the foals and maybe a few older horses depending on population.

  3. Oh, that's pretty cool!! Just wanted to make sure they weren't wiping out the population. I definitely want them to be there when we visit! :)