Sunday, October 23, 2011

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD

I feel as if I have been going non-stop for the last few months, and when I look at all the places I've been and all I've done, I realize, I have. So I'm off for a few days of relaxation at the beach.

Assateague National Seashore is on Maryland's eastern shore, just south of Ocean City. They have both oceanside and bayside campgrounds. We are on the oceanside, with only a sand dune between me and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fancy really likes this place. She gets to walk on the beach every morning.

Assateague is known for its wild horses. They are totally wild and wander everywhere.

Even through the campgrounds.

This young foal is only a few weeks old.

They also have a small deer, called a Sitka Deer.

There are great bike trails throughout the park.

We did go into Ocean City one day just to check out the boardwalk.

About half the stores are closed for the season, as are most of the hotels and condo's. Even the beaches are empty.

But we did see some great sand art. I liked this one. It's so true.

We also took a trip down to the southern part of the barrier island, to Chincoteague. This is Misty. 'Misty of Chincoteague Island' is a book, based on a true story, about a foal from one of the wild horses. There are actually 2 herds of horses on the barrier island. The wild horses are on the northern end and are owned by the park service. The horses on the south end are owned by the Fire Department and they are rounded up, swam across the bay, and then selected horses are auctioned. It is a fund raiser and has been going on for close to 100 years. The horses on the southern end are not really wild, they are kept on the island, but are watched over and fenced in, not allowed to totally run wild like those on the north end. The horse swim is held the last week of July every year and they saw thousands of people attend this event.

Here are some of the horses down at Chincoteague. There are 2 stories about where the horses came from. One is that the settlers put their horses on the islands to avoid taxes. But the most popular and romantic story is that they are survivors of a spanish galleon which went down off the island many years ago. The park service says DNA shows the first story is more true, but most people still like the 2nd story better.

There were wind warnings out this day and the waves were angry. But that didn't stop the surfers and the kite boarders.

The lighthouse on Chincoteague. It is now several miles inland, but when it was built over 150 years ago it was on the shore. Being a barrier island, it is constantly being reshaped by the wind, waves and storms.

As we were leaving we spotted this bald eagle sitting in the marsh.

Did you know NASA has a facility on the eastern shore of Maryland? Neither did we until we drove by.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility has the distinction of being the most active of all NASA's launch ranges. They have conducted over 15,000 rocket missions since 1945. The visitor center wasn't real big, but it had some interesting exhibits. Many of the launch missions have to do with weather satellites.

A few more days just relaxing on the beach and then I'll be ready to start heading south, down the eastern coast towards Florida.

1 comment:

AshleyKiya said...

You are so lucky! I wish I could go see the ponies :D