We spent the weekend of Sept. 18 - 20 at Chincoteague, and had a very nice time. We didn't know before we went that it was the second Saturday of bike week there, which added to the traffic on the island, but it was still a very nice, relaxing time.
We drove up from Williamsburg, leaving around 11 a.m. on Friday. We were very lucky with the traffic both coming and going. No tunnel backups at the HRBT either way, a first for us! We had planned to stop along the way at the Exmore Diner, but it was very busy, so we went on up, and stopped at the new Bojangles at Onley. Enjoyed it, staff was friendly and food was good.
We noted the bridge construction as you approach Chincoteague is coming along nicely. Currently a portion is one way, but it moves pretty smoothly most of the time. We first drove over to Assateague. I hold an annual NPS pass, so all I had to do was show that for admittance. We drove to the lighthouse parking, and walked up to the lighthouse. Although it was supposed to be open, on this day it wasn't, so we didn't go in or up, but we enjoyed the walk and the views over to Chincoteague. Continuing on, we stopped at the Bateman Center, where I bought a ticket for the bus tour on Saturday morning, which is run by the Chincoteague Natural History Association.
Next we went to the Hampton Inn to check in. We were on the third floor, with a nice view of the channel between Chincoteague and the mainland. The room was very clean, spacious, and comfortable. We needed a couple of things, so we stopped at H&H Pharmacy. At the gift shop there, I bought a Christmas ornament, brass with lighthouse and pony. We also made a quick stop at the ABC store; I hadn't noticed there was one there before.
That evening we drove out to Wright's for dinner. I liked my crab cake and fried oysters, and my husband said the lobster tail he had was good too. The waterview was nice, with lights in the distance. But the place is looking in need of a spruce up to make it fresh and appealing.
My husband is a bacon-and-eggs in the morning guy, so instead of partaking of the offerings at the Hampton Inn breakfast area, which I thought looked pretty good, we went to Bill's for breakfast. The pecan pancakes with cranberry-orange butter and maple syrup were very tasty, and our service was very good too. Then I drove out to Assateague for the bus tour.
The bus had some Celtic Woman music playing before the tour began, which was nice. Our driver/tour guide was a native of the area, and very knowledgeable. We had many photo opportunities, and I took a lot of pony pictures. We also saw a sika deer, and lots of waterbirds, including belted kingfishers and blue herons. Very interesting and well worth the time (a couple of hours) and money ($12).
We just had time for a quick lunch at SugarBaker's - delicious chicken salad with pineapple on sunflower seed bread for me, and a french dip for my husband. Then we drove to the Curtis Merrit Harbor, where we met Captain Charlie of the Island Queen Charters. He has a pontoon boat and takes people (maximum of 6) fishing and on sightseeing tours. We were there for a sight seeing tour. Captain Charlie was very friendly, personable, and shared a lot about the area while we went along on the boat. We got good views of the ponies, the lighthouse, lots of birds. We even saw two bald eagles, although they were high in the trees and we just caught a glimpse. It was very brisk out on the water, so our two-hour tour was just about the right time!
We ran into a traffic jam getting back to the hotel. We think it had something to do with traffic on the bridge getting stalled, but we didn't find out the reason. We had time for a rest and some reading before going to AJ's for dinner. We didn't have reservations, and they were busy, but we were seated and had a very nice dinner. We started with oysters, and followed with grilled scallops for DH and flounder topped with seafood scampi for me. No dessert, we were both satisfied with our meals. My one regret for our weekend is that we didn't get to Muller's or Island Creamery for ice cream.
In the morning we once again skipped breakfast at the Hampton Inn in favor of breakfast at Mr. Baldy's. We'd had breakfast there when it was the Island Family Restaurant, so I wondered how it was now. Well, it was very good, and I was happy we'd tried it.
Then back to check out and wave a fond farewell to one of our favorite places. There is an amazing amount of things to do, and this long weekend wasn't nearly long enough.