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Help with vacation needed

Hello! We are going to visit Chincoteague during the pony swim the last week of July. I have heard it is a beautiful place. I was wondering if any one could give me ideas of must sees! I don't want to miss anything while I am down there. We have never been down there or anywhere in the area so it should be exciting. We are looking for resturants, shops, walking trails, canoeing, fishing anything! Thanks!

Pittsburgh...
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1. Re: Help with vacation needed

It's hard to miss much, as Chincoteague is small. Recommended restaurants would be Bill's Seafood Restaurant and The Village for seafood. Neither are fancy, but then nothing on Chincoteague Island is very fancy, just charming. There are a few ice cream parlors; my favorite is Island Creamery -- best ice cream I've ever had.

As far as things to do, between the beach and wildlife viewing, we keep busy. There is always the lighthouse to see. We spend hours on Assateauge Island riding bikes, looking for bald eagles and watching for deer.

You will be there during Chincoteagues absolute BUSIEST week of the year when crowds just overtake the place. If you get a chance, go again in September or early October when things calm down again. That is when we like to visit.

AKJ
Bruceton Mills...
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2. Re: Help with vacation needed

We tried to put most of what we know about Assateague Island and Chincoteague on or website.

www.alandsuejohnson.com/assateague_island.htm

There's pictures and reports there from our 2 trips to the Pony Swim as well.

Here's some quick thoughts. If you don't have reservations already, you may be too late to stay in town.

The town is very crowded on the day of the swim. It lessens each day there after. You need to see the pony swim, the ponies in the pen at the carnival grounds, the auction and the swim back to Assateague. The bring the northern herd down the beach at some point but we missed that.

For restaurants, we like Bills and AJ's. The Village is popular but not my favorite. Not sure why. Etta's is OK. Not sure what might be new or have changed since we were there.

Hiking on Assategue Island in July likely involves mosquitos. Big open beaches. The wildlife loop is a nice walk. 3.5 miles and easy to find. We like to walk north from there up a service road. Normally to see the northern herd but not sure how that will work out at the pony swim.

Its a small area. It doesn't take long to see it.

If you can, the best way to see the pony swim is by boat. We've been out on kayaks. If you don't mind that, you should try to find a guide to go with. The one we used apparently left town but there's still at least one there.

Williamsburg...
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for Williamsburg
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3. Re: Help with vacation needed

We've gone during pony swim week twice. Last year, we rented a house for the week. We had a really good time! Go over to Assateague on Monday or Tuesday to see the ponies in the pens. Wednesday morning is the swim. Park at the high school and take the free shuttles to Memorial Park for the swim if you aren't able to be on the water as AKJ suggests. Then walk from the park to the fairgrounds. After the swim, the ponies are rested a bit, then paraded to the fairgrounds where they are penned.

Get up to the auction early Thursday morning. Bring a lawn chair or be prepared to stand. There are some bleachers, but everything fills up early. We went early and watched a while, then walked up to Bill's for breakfast. Came back and watched a bit more, but it was really crowded. But it's still fun to watch and dream! Be sure to go to the fair at least one evening, and eat the best fried oyster sandwich you'll ever have.

On Friday morning, if you get to Memorial Park early enough, you can see the ponies swim back. The crowds are much lower and you'll see more.

The Chamber of Commerce has a website with a wealth of information: http://www.chincoteaguechamber.com/ The chamber has a phone number with recorded information about the swim times for the swim over and the swim back, so you can get updated info.

I liked the little movie theater - saw the latest Harry Potter and Ratatouille on two different nights. The shops downtown are interesting to poke around. I got a fun t-shirt at the Purple Pony Shirt Co. The Wine, Cheese and More Store has a good selection of wines, including some from the Eastern Shore. The Chincoteague Pony Centre on Chicken City Road has a gift shop. They also have many descendents of Misty. http://www.chincoteague.com/ponycentre/

If you'll be renting a house, I recommend getting groceries at the Food Lion, where you turn off of 13 to get to Chincoteague. There is also a Fresh Pride in town, but the Food Lion has more extensive selection and better prices. Also stop at one of the seafood stands; we bought steamed crab at the stand next door to the Fresh Pride; with a little melted butter and some fresh corn on the cob, it was wonderful.

We enjoyed a meal at AJ's on the Creek and at Don's downtown, too. We've heard Mr. Baldy's is good, but didn't get to try it. Mr. Whippy's is fun for ice cream, my fave is Island Creamery, but haven't made it to Muller's yet.

We also drove to the Maryland side of Assateague, where we saw their ponies up close at the beach. You have to go up on the mainland side; you can't get to the Maryland side from the Virginia side of Assateague. On the Assateague side, the Park Service has some tours and programs, and there's a small pool where you can touch some of the water creatures, even a horse-shoe crab.

The NASA facility at Wallop's sounds interesting, but we didn't have time for it last trip.

Oh, you'll have such a good time! Let us know how it goes when you're back.

southern new jersey
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4. Re: Help with vacation needed

I agree with your one reply that said if you did NOT already made reservations for Pony Penning, it may be too late. You are going the absolute busiest week of the year. When it is that busy, you will wait in line to get to the beach on Assanteague - waiting for one car to leave the lot, then the Park Rangers allow another to enter. Unless you want to get to the beach by 7am to park. There are very very nice bathroom facilities on the beach, changing areas, and showers to clean off in. Also, the one time fee of $15 per car will get you in the park all week including the museums on the island, the trails, lighthouse, etc. We've been going down for 25 years and let me tell you, the best thing to happen on this island is the new restaurant Seashell Cafe! Same old same old for Village, AJ's (which I think is going downhill) and Bill's on Main Street. Seashell Cafe is a real different, cosmopolitan menu. Best we had last week. Don't expect great shopping; its only on one part of Main Street and the art galleries and gift shops are on Maddox. Island Creamery yes has the best ice cream; Mr. Whippy is fat free garbage. Very little WiFi on the island. I believe one station is at Island Creamery and one is at the Internet Cafe. Wallops Island NASA museum is very much worth the trip on the way in or out of route 175 - you can't miss it - Enjoy! Next time, book a house or condo - they are dirt cheap. For what I pay up here at the Jersey shore - $2300 a week - you get in Chincoteague for half that price.

5. Re: Help with vacation needed

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