The Town of Chincoteage

In my previous post, I said I’d share pics from Cape Charles and Chincoteague, but, truth is, since it was raining, I did a really piss-poor job capturing images of Cape Charles. So you’ll just have to Google that one if you are really curious.

I did, however, get to spend a decent amount of time in Chincoteague. I got to poke around the town a bit — it’s bigger than I anticipated — and spend some time on the national wildlife refuge.

To get to the town of Chincoteague, which is on Chincoteague Island, you head east for about 11 miles on VA-175 from US-13. The landscape becomes rural pretty quickly after leaving US-13, so one would expect it to be less and less populated, with trees giving way to marsh as one approaches the Chincoteague Island (CI). And that’s sort of what happens. But first, you have to drive past Wallops Island, “NASA’s principal facility for management and implementation of suborbital research programs.”

Despite knowing I’d be passing the NASA facility, seeing the field full of radar antennas and other high-tech-looking stuff on one side of the road and a few smallish rockets on the other side of the road just felt odd.

Heading into Chincoteague

Also odd was the number of billboards along the north side of the road leading to CI. For what seemed like a few miles, there was a billboard about every 50 yards (~150 meters) or so. They were all the same height and seemed to be positioned at the exact same angle in relation to the road. Weird.

It was late in the day when I reached CI, so I headed right for the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which is located on neighboring Assateague (ass-uh-teak) Island.

I LOVE Wildlife Refuges

The rain had slowed down a bit, but it was pretty windy and cold. And, with the skies so overcast, there wasn’t much light for pictures.

Snowy Egret in the Marsh


Autumn Splendor at the Marsh

Fall at the marsh is lovely to me, with all of the contrasting colors.

I made it to tow before it was fully dark and captured a picture of the LOVEwork, then proceeded to my motel.

After a long, relaxing evening, I headed back to the refuge early Sunday morning. (I’ll share those pics in my next post.) I planned my day around the 11:00 a.m. opening of the Museum of Chincoteague, which is very close to the refuge entrance. I did poke around town a bit after leaving my motel.

Misty statue in the downtown waterfront park.


Main Street


Main Street


As seen in a store window on Main Street.

With CI being a beachy destination, there was a certain amount of kitschy beach-themed and other stuff typical of east coast resort towns.

Seasonal Seafood “Restaurant”


Hippy Eatery



It seemed odd to me that I saw at least one giraffe every day during my brief journey. In a recent exchange with my buddy Fuzzy about the sudden appearance of giraffes in my life, she said something to the effect that maybe they’ve always been there and I’d just never noticed them.

Flirty Giraffe

Perhaps. But why have I all of a sudden started noticing giraffes?!?

I’ll have to file that question under unsolved mysteries of the universe. Oh, and hope I don’t continue seeing giraffes.

Chincoteague Island Mural

The lighthouse in that mural is the iconic Assateague Lighthouse, which was completed in 1867.

In addition to the refuge and one other must-see island sight, the Museum of Chincoteague was a must-visit destination for me.

I’d been wanting to visit Chincoteague since I was a kid and read Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague. Henry followed with other books, but Misty always played a key role, whether as a character in the book or as the head of a long line of island ponies.

The Famous Misty

Look what’s at the museum. Or maybe I should say look “who” is at the museum.

Misty! In the flesh.
Misty! In the flesh (Kind of. Is it still called flesh after death?)

I’m still sort of torn between being creeped-out that they’d stuffed Misty and pleased that I actually got to see her.


She looked so real. I mean, I know it is her, but in the above image, she almost looks alive, doesn’t she? She’s much smaller than I’d imagined. Of course, I was much smaller, too, when actually imagining Misty.

L-R, Stormy (Misty’s foal) and Misty

The museum is on the little side, but very well done and lovingly maintained.

First Order Fresnel Lens from the Assateague Island Lighthouse (c. 1866)

Apparently, that lens was used in the lighthouse until 1961 when it was replaced by a more-advanced directional coded beacon.

Close-up of the lens.


Seafood is still very much a part of island life.


Drawbridge (route to the mainland)

It’s a lovely place. I’m not sure how I’d feel about it in the heat of summer amidst throngs of tourists, but it is certainly a charming place to visit in the off season. I hope to return. One day…

5 Replies to “The Town of Chincoteage”

    1. Yes, UGH. Christmas decorations are up. I noticed them in Farmville AND Virginia Beach as early as Friday, November 6. Stores are playing Christmas music, too. It’s awful.

    1. Thanks, Richard.

      I read today that the entire lens had to be dusted on a daily basis with thorough cleaning required once a week. I can’t imagine cleaning all of that glass!

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