I have a white-knuckled grip on summer. Blame it on Atlantic Ocean salt breezes and island music. I've just returned from the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, voted #1 on Coastal Living's list of happiest seaside towns.
From my hotel room balcony overlooking the bay and neighboring restaurant, Jackspot.
I'm pretty sure this beautiful place still has me in "slow" gear as I'm having a little trouble resuming life as usual. But that's the best kind of vacation isn't it? -- the kind you can give 5 stars because regular life got left behind somewhere.
Oversized Adirondack chairs by the bay.
Speaking of 5 stars, Chincoteauge and Assateauge Islands are destinations that consistently get more 5 star reviews than anything else on TripAdvisor.
A monument honoring 'Misty' of Chincoteague.
The popularity of the islands is a credit to the power of the well-written word. Once small, unknown fishing villages, author Marguerite Henry put them on the tourism map with her children's novel, Misty of Chincoteague. Written in 1947, the tale is fictional but is centered around real people, places, events, and wild horses.
The islands are known for the herds of wild ponies that roam Assateague. For hundreds of years, they've survived on marsh and dune grasses and fresh water from ponds. Read more about the islands and ponies, HERE. Locals have passed down the story for generations that the ponies are descendants of surviving horses from a Spanish galleon shipwreck.
Wild ponies grazing on Assateauge Island.
The wild ponies get a lot of press as the islands' main attraction, and they were certainly a hit with my children, but it was the easy non-fussy, laid-back vibe, friendly people and beautifully clean beaches that won me over. Watching dolphins play in the bay from my hotel balcony didn't hurt anything either!
Lunch on the patio at Jackspot, Chincoteague Island, VA
Soon my grip on summer will be useless. A sure sign are the ripening apples on my backyard espaliered apple trees... :)
I'll be back soon!