This vacation, Tammy and I focused much of our time and energy on the horses and talking to the visitors and people who call Chincoteague home. Nevertheless, we were able to squeeze in a few touristy things.
Here’s some ideas for you:
NASA Wallops Visitor Center is my favorite kind of museum-free parking and admission and full of things I never knew! Established in 1945, Wallops Flight Facility is “NASA’s premier location for conducting research using aircraft, scientific balloons and sounding rockets-known as ‘suborbital vehicles’.” Begin your visit with an overview of Wallops movie and the interactive exhibits inside, then go outside to see the different large-scale models there. If you time your visit right you can even watch a launch (rocket or other space aircraft). We didn’t get to do this as the next one wasn’t tile August but, as a free, first come-first serve event that most people never get the opportunity to do, I’d highly recommend looking into it.
Ray’s Shanty (since 1986) is an unpretentious, wood-paneled, old-fashioned type of steak and seafood place right down the street from Wallops. Since they don’t take reservations, we arrived at 4:30 for an early dinner. Our wait was only five minutes but by the time we left the line stretched out the door. Tammy’s fried shrimp and my prime rib were mouthwatering and the portions were generous. But what I’m still salivating over was their hushpuppies which were, without doubt, the best I’ve ever tasted. And believe me when I say I’ve sampled them all over the South for years. Just the right combination of crispy and moistness-indescribably delicious!
Mister Whippy (which I would have gone to for the name alone!) gets my vote for ice cream. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they only have soft-serve-its really good ice cream served for 50 years in every way imaginable-dips, sprinkles, sundaes, shakes, and cyclones. We got vanilla/chocolate twists and sat down with hordes of other satisfied customers, including a youngster next to us who was enjoying a chocolate cone with chocolate dip and rainbow sprinkles. Oh, to be young again…
Enter the Chincoteague House of Jerky at your own risk. I have never seen so many unusual types of exotic types of preserved meat in my life! There was even a vegetarian option (mushroom). Needless to say, I stocked up on gifts for the men in my life. And I have the credit card bill to prove it!
Highly recommend the Hampton Inn on the waterfront. Though a chain hotel, it has a great personality and I’d give it five stars for customer service and cleanliness.
The only thing I didn’t like about the Hampton was the coffee. Luckily there was a gourmet coffee (and clothing) shop across the street. I got my caffeine fix and a new skirt and top for and upcoming wedding, all in one stop!
Visit Assateague Island (Virginia side) for its lifeguarded swimming beach, bike riding, Visitor Center, and nature trails. If it’s summer, bring lots of water, bug spray, and high-test suntan lotion. There’s no shade on the sandy beach and the bugs can be brutal but the swimming, birds, and wildlife viewing make it worth it. There’s an entrance fee for vehicles but you can use your National Parks Pass if you have one. Luckily I do!