The Call of Chincoteague

Click here to view M Dawn’s sample picture book.

Three weeks ago I fell in love, and not with a person.  I had been after Bruce for months to take off with me to a new destination, but his landscaping/mulching, and handyman business had not let up like it usually does in winter. I had cabin fever, so my friend Kim and I drove over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a girl’s weekend. We pulled onto the Island of Chincoteague mid afternoon, dropped our bags at the door of a small island cottage and headed for the National Wildlife Refuge of Assateague Island, three miles to the East.    We needed time away from husbands and children to walk trails, feel the cold sea spray on our faces, watch the Eagles fly, and drink a Salty Dog in front of the fire after dark. We tossed curlers, makeup and dresses to the wind in favor of sweatshirts, faded jeans, and sneakers.  Bicycles called. Freedom felt good.

Chincoteague is famous for its Pony Roundup each year.  Wild pony yearlings on Assateague are rounded up and make a short swim across the shallow channel to Chincoteague where they are corralled, and auctioned off to benefit the Fire Department. Rumors have it that the ponies are descendents of horses that escaped from a sinking Spanish galleon in 1750.  As a girl, I read the book Misty of Chincoteague, and fell in love with horses. Now, I have begun a love affair with the small strip of land dotted with tall, narrow houses built at the turn of the last century.

The 37 square mile town is quaint, with a little over four thousand year-round inhabitants. Streets are named for founding families, trees, and what lies along their thoroughfare, like Church Street, Post Office Street, and School Street.  The town harbors one small grocery, a Marina, library, several gift shops, art galleries, and the Island Roxy, a thirties style Bijou theater. A man on Maddox Road carves decoys in his garage and sells them.  The locals stop and talk to you, ask you where you’re from, and invite you to enjoy your stay. Fresh seafood abounds.

“Do you think I can talk Bruce into buying a place here?” I asked Kim.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No, why would I be kidding?”

“It’s a nice place to visit and get away from the craziness of home, but would you really want to live here?”

“It seems perfect to me, no traffic, friendly people, quiet, and that sunset tonight, there are no words to describe it.”

“Quiet is right. The town shuts down at dark.”

“My kind of living,” I said, closing my eyes and leaning my head back against the couch. “I could be very happy here.”

I dropped Kim off at her house and pulled into my driveway after dark on Sunday night.  Bruce met me on the porch and took my overnight bag.  “How was your trip?” he asked, leaning in to kiss me.

“It was good,” I said smiling. “Tell me something?  Have you ever considered the creative opportunity in beach landscaping?”

He frowned, then raised one eyebrow.  “No,” he said. “Why?”

Click here to view sample images of Chincoteague by M Dawn Thacker for All rights reserved.

2 Responses to “The Call of Chincoteague”
  1. Adrienne says:

    Beautiful pics, Train. Love the title, btw.


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