Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exploring SE Virginia: Eastern Shore

The last day of our little mini-trip was to explore the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  People have told us for two years that we need to get there, because it is a beautiful piece of Virginia.  Now for those of you readers who aren't familiar with Virginia, you may ask "where is the Eastern Shore?"  It is kind of like an appendix off of Maryland, rather like Point Roberts, WA, is a little appendage from British Columbia ... except in this case you don't have to leave the country to get there.

To see a map, click HERE.

To get there we had to cross the 23 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.  This itself is an engineering marvel and provided a beautiful crossing.

Greeting sign upon arrival.

Once we got to the Eastern Shore peninsula we headed north.  Along the way we saw a couple of cotton fields, the first we have seen in our two years in Virginia:

Eventually we arrived at the northern end of the Eastern Shore and found Chincoteague and Assateague. 

We first visited the old lighthouse there and climbed to the top to get a bird's eye view of the island.

View from the top:

Assateague Island is home to a herd of wild Ponies (well, semi-wild). 

They are owned by the volunteer fire department of Chincoteague. Each spring, many of them are driven across the waterway to Chincoteague for auction, thereby raising funds for the fire department and keeping the island herd at or below 150, the maximum allowed by the Park Service.

There are other wilderness preserve areas on the island, mostly to protect the marsh and seabirds.

The island also had an interesting variety of elk called Sika Elk, which was brought from Asia around 1920:

To finish the day off we drove through the historic sections of a couple of small towns, and then stopped to have dinner in Cape Charles before returning to Virginia Beach.

Thus ended our mini-vacation to explore the Southeast corner of Virginia.  We are always amazed at all there is to see and learn in this area.  What will be next?

Stay tuned ......

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