May 31, 2008
|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.