Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First Stop: Chincoteague Island

When we planned our trip up the coast to Maine this year, I thought it would be nice to surprise Tessa with a quick visit to Chincoteague Island. It is the place where the book, Misty of Chincoteague, written by Marguerite Henry is set. Tessa's class studied the book in literature this past year, and it has always been one of Tessa's favorite--being about horses and all!

As soon as we checked into the hotel and unloaded the car, we took a walk down the street to look for a place to have dinner. Just a few houses away was the inn where the book was penned. That was pretty cool!

As exciting as it was to see this inn, what we really wanted to see were the wild horses! We were advised at the visitor's center inside the state park where to pull over to possibly see the horses grazing. If there were none there, then we could hike down a trail to another spot. When we got to the first spot, we realized that unless we had some high-powered binoculars, we weren't going to see any horses. Not willing to have made the trip for nothing, we took to the trail.

Unlike most trails, this one was not well marked, so we had no indication of its length. We quickly realized that it was going to be nearly impossible to get to our destination without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They literally covered us as we walked. Kelly did her best to keep spraying everyone down with bug repellent, but it was ridiculous. With hoods on our heads and our hands continually waving, we made it to the end--and it was a long walk! Too bad there were no horses to be seen.

It was probably the most disappointing thing that happened on our entire trip. I thought Tessa would cry. I wanted to cry. I had imagined this to be so special--bringing literature to life. Yikes! I won't do that again!!!

On the way out of the park at the end of the day, we were able to see some horses in the distance. You can see just what we saw in the photo below. Exciting, huh? I have since learned that Chincoteague is really not the best place to go to see the wild horses--mosquitoes maybe, but not horses. A little further north would have been better. I'm not sure why the *experts* at the visitor's center didn't bother to tell us that before we risked our lives.
The thing that redeemed the day was what we found at the end of the park. I'm not sure why I was surprised, but there was an awesome beach. I guess the horse sightings were so disappointing, I expected the beach to turn out to be a work of fiction, too! When you don't see the ocean very often, the first glance is always pretty impressive!

We really weren't prepared to swim, but we told the kids that they could walk in the water a bit. Then we'd go back to the hotel to change into our suits and return for a relaxing afternoon on the beach. That was just nonsense. Within minutes all the children were swimming, clothes and all.

There was a group of Mennonite folks from Ohio that arrived at the visitor's center at the same time we did. When we got to the beach, they were already in the water, clothes and all--probably trying to drown their disappointments, too! I do believe the clothes and all was probably on purpose for them though since they seemed prepared with life jackets and tubes! When I took a walk on the beach past them, the dad commented that he and his wife were admiring our girls' swimming dresses. *smile*

The kids had a great time at the beach after buying some tubes and changing into their suits. I can't say that Kelly and I relaxed any since we played lifeguard most of the time.

1 comment:

Justine said...

i love that picture of the back of Tessa! You should crop and keep it!

Love your story.