2008 Keys 2 Canada travel blog

a nearly empty campground overlooking Hog Island Bay on the Atlantic

our campsite

there are the permanent cabin owners across the road from us

not a lot of folks using this nice place

the Atlantic from our campsite

kids playground

road to the lodge

the lodge where we have to go to get on line

the swimming pool at ocean's edge

dock by the swimming pool

the only camper using the dock today

boat dock and marina on the Machipongo River

resident tern

Machipongo River

low tide mud flat

so get back early or pack a lunch!

a little wake might be welcome

a very peaceful marina with no boats

lots of places to ride here

Canada geese

Goose stepping

They have a nice little pond

with boats for the kids

our site after the neighbors moved out

resident cottontail

things are so dead here they have to put in fake campers

and a fake eagle guarding the pond

lighthouse at the entrance gate - well it is Virginia Landing after...

what passes for a beach here

they have nice cabins to rent - right on the waterfront

very shady and inviting

flowers at the gates

the place just seems to go on forever

the Machipongo River and beyond that a few miles the Chesapeake Bay

you certainly never feel crowded here

one of the permanent summer homes on a private lot

there is such a variety of them - this one is a...

some are modulars, some are trailers with rooms built on

some are just houses built in the traditional way

they are mostly empty except on the weekends

after all those years in California it still seems strange to see...

on our way to Chincoteague we stopped at a roadside vegetable stand...

this was my favorite shot of the day - and as usual...

the road out to Chincoteague Island

a lot of road construction going on here

a drawbridge over Chincoteague Channel and then you're on the island

it's an old town and the streets are narrow

our campground was a ways out of town

this is a real funky campground - but they have good WiFi

and this beautiful black swan on their pond

he has some white wing feathers and a white patch on his...

our campsite for the night, and a big thunderstorm is coming in

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 4.22 MB)

Black Swan Swimming

(MP4 - 5.12 MB)

Ducks on Pond and Black Swan

Leaving Virginia Landing for Chincoteague Island - Saturday, May 31

These last six days have been long, often tedious days spent dealing with a slow WiFi connection, and one which we had to go half a mile to their lodge to use. With so much journaling to do it made for a frustrating week, but if you’re going to drop out and mark time for a while, Virginia Landing is a nice place to do it. Today we're leaving Virginia Landing and heading up to Chincoteague Island, but before we go I want to say a little about this quiet but special place.

This sprawling acreage sits on the narrow strip of Virginia coastline that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, some fifty miles south of Chincoteague Island and the Maryland border. It’s laid back and a little rough around the edges, but it’s also quiet and peaceful, and seems reminiscent of another time. I would have absolutely loved it as a kid.

It started years ago as a summer home development, where people could buy small lots and put trailers or little cabins on them. It’s way off the beaten path and close to fishing. The property is about two miles long and is bordered on three sides by water, the Machipongo River on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the place where they meet on the south.

When the original developer failed financially, Thousand Trails bought the property. At least all of it that hadn’t been sold off for vacation homes. Now it's an interesting mixture of blocks of little structures surrounded by huge fields set up for RV’s and camping. It’s so far from civilization (7 miles beyond Quinby and who ever heard of that?) that it never fills, even in the summer, and now it’s mostly empty except for a area in the woods that seems popular.

There’s no real beach but there’s a nice swimming pool on a field overlooking the Atlantic. On the river side there’s a marina with a boat launching ramp, but the sign warns boaters that they may not be able to return to the marina at low tide.

In both directions you look across wide expanses of water with only low grassy marshes to break them up on the west, and a distant reef just visible in the east. Few boats disturb either the glassy waters of the river, or the lead-green chop of the bay. Birds are numerous, with the dominant sea bird being the tern. Canada geese take over the fields with their half grown young, and occasionally a yellow and black hooded warbler lights nearby and checks you out.

The Thousand Trails staff is extremely friendly and accommodating, and no matter what you want to do they say it’s “OK”. By contrast, many places hand you a long list of RULES when you check in, and the rules are full of phrases like ‘not allowed' and ‘forbidden’ and ‘no exceptions!’ Here they have a short list of Preserve Guidelines, and it includes words like ‘please’ and stresses thoughtfulness and cooperation.

It’s a small difference, but an important one, and tomorrow when we leave here I know I’ll miss it. But then, every place we go is like that isn’t it? Even Bubba, Nana ‘n Turkeybutt gave me something to smile about. :-)

We got out of camp in the early afternoon and had a nice drive up Highway 13 to Chincoteague Island. We found a private campground off the beaten path again and here the WiFi is fantastic. An hour after we got here the skies opened up and we had thunder right over head that shook the RV, but by sunset all was quiet again. Tomorrow we are going to visit the wildlife refuge here. Don't know if we'll be lucky enough to see any of the famous Chincoteague Ponies, but we're going to try.

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