Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Visit To Chincoteague

This quiet, little town filled with hotels of varying quality and souvenir shops sits on the marshy edge of the DelMarVa peninsula's coast. This morning I woke up to search out a convenience store, but Google Local didn't rate the nearest one very highly, so I took that as an opportunity to explore while the rest of the family slept.

At four in the morning, Chincoteague Island's population of tourists and people who earn a living off tourists are sleeping and the roads are deserted and lined by darkened storefronts. My only companion as I slipped through the sand-lined streets was a persistent fog that thinned teasingly now and then, only to return in thick patches. I drove in towards the mainland on my search, leaving Assateague, Chincoteague, and Wollops behind, but I did find that the only other person awake and on the road in the area drove a white SUV and had a fondness for tailgating.

Eventually, I gave up and stopped at a member of the same convenience store chain as the one in town that had been poorly rated. I picked up several large bottles of Deer Park water and a small container of Pringles and headed back.

The horses of Assateague Island fed on the offerings of a coastal marsh as we headed towards the beach yesterday. The first time we came to Assateague, I promised my wife that we'd try to see them, but we didn't journey far down the nature trail before aggressive mosquitos drove her back to the car. My little boy threw a fit because he wanted to see the animals, and as his dad, it was my duty to offer to take him. But we barely walked another dozen meters before the mosquitos overwhelmed his curiosity. Since I had little desire to see them myself, I was happy to head back with him at the fastest pace his little feet could set. But this time, I spotted them off the side of the road, and ticked this off her list of things to do.

My little boy, my pride and joy, as he rushes back and forth with the waves. It's a game a lot of children play ... I did it myself. He also spent a lot of time kneeling in the wet sand after a wave washed back out, looking through the debris of shells and small stones for anything worth showing off or keeping. With his attention thus diverted, the sneaky Atlantic Ocean had plenty of chances to rush in and knock him down before retreating again. But JP handled these assaults with delighted laughs and little desire to change his strategy. He did, however, get knocked around rather badly for a three-year-old and he clung to my leg desperately until the surf retreated. He looked up at me with a worried expression and I wondered if he'd want to leave now, but I gave him a smile and he returned it with a laugh and went back to his search.

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