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Entries about assateague

Two Lighthouses and an Aborted Trip to Little Washington

Driving by our old house in Norfolk


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2011 Back to Back Enchantment of the Seas and Lighthousing Driving South & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

My sister had bought a week at a condo in Key West at a charity auction. She wanted us to visit her in Key West and since I had a new car for the first time in 30 years, we were driving down. On the way, we were visiting grandchildren, cemeteries and lighthouses. The first lighthouse was the Assateague Lighthouse.
Assateague Lighthouse

Assateague Lighthouse

Getting Ready

Bob was packed a week in advance for the trip. I started thinking about packing on Saturday and got one suitcase packed Sunday and the other one done Monday February 14th

Tuesday 15 February 2011

We went to the new Italian restaurant over in Wildewood with the Hewins for trivia.
5018206-Sign_over_the_door_Wildewood.jpgSign over the door and inside of the restaurant

Sign over the door and inside of the restaurant


At the restaurant, the serving people were overwhelmed by the new rush of people

Chinese clam (shells - I've eaten the clams)

Chinese clam (shells - I've eaten the clams)

Calzone Ripieno Al Forno $10.00

Calzone Ripieno Al Forno $10.00

Crab cake (sandwich without sandwich)

Crab cake (sandwich without sandwich)


and the food wasn't all that good. It also gave me heartburn and I've had some intestinal discomfort since then.

We came in 2nd and won a bottle of wine which we insisted that the Hewins' take as we do not drink. We also gave them the fresh food in the fridge, although I think Bob forgot to give them the cut celery and also we had one of the fruit boxes left.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Weds morning we did the morning chores and unplugged the modem, and TVs and turned off the water and left about 9. We got gas at BJs and the car has only been getting a little over 28 mph. The GPS was taking a really long time calculating the route.
Our new GPS

Our new GPS


At some point I figured out that I had it set on the most economical route which seems to mean the shortest and less high speed highways, so I changed it. We were in Prince Frederick by 10 and were going over the Bay Bridge before 11.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll booth

Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll booth

I was reading the AAA book and it said that there were lighthouse tours and gave a number to call. So I called. After going through the phone tree four times, I got the number they gave at the end written down (twice I didn't get that far before I picked). They said lighthouse tours didn't start until April, and she also said she didn't think that the National Seashore southern visitor's center was open except on weekends.

Arby's Reuben for lunch

Arby's Reuben for lunch

I decided to stop in Cambridge at a restaurant that the AAA book said overlooked the river, but it turned out to be on the grounds of a big hotel, and we couldn't find it. So we ate at Arby's because when I was working the Eastern Shore the Arby's in Cambridge and Salisbury had frozen custard, which was yummy. But they don't have it anymore. I had a Reuben and a chocolate turnover

Chocolate turnover

Chocolate turnover

in which the chocolate was warm and so I ended up with some on my face. Lunch took us about half an hour.
Car advertising Girl Scout Cookies

Car advertising Girl Scout Cookies


On the road a car passed and initially I thought it had "Go Hokies" written on the rear window. That would have been a little odd, but what it actually said was "G S Cookies"

Then about 1:30, a fire engine passed us
100_8154.JPGRumble strips

Rumble strips


and then everything on the road stopped. There had been an accident and they had wreckers
Wrecker with wrecked car

Wrecker with wrecked car


and they airlifted the victims out by helicopter. That took about 10 minutes.

We got to the Virginia border about 2
e5b619e0-d5f2-11ea-a443-65fd0aea1139.JPGBerries at Virginia  welcome station

Berries at Virginia welcome station


and we got maps (Virginia, Chincoteague, National Seashore, etc)

We arrived on Chincoteague (which the GPS pronounced Chincoty or something like that) at 1424
5857563-Island_Access_Chincoteague.jpg5857564-Island_Access_Chincoteague.jpg
A new 3/4-mile (4,035-foot) bridge has been built over Black Narrows and Lewis Creek Channel. The bridge provides motorists with better access to the Town of Chincoteague. A 729-foot connector bridge will be built linking the new bridge to Marsh Island.

The new bridge maintains a single lane of traffic in each direction, divided by a double line.
869324685857554-New_Bridge_t..gue_Island.jpgNew Bridge to Chincoteague

New Bridge to Chincoteague


I decided to check out the southern visitor's center first, so we crossed the bridge to Assateague Island
Empty entrance kiosk

Empty entrance kiosk


And the Tom Cove Visitor's Center was indeed closed. We took a couple photos of the lighthouse from there.196950095857532-Lighthouse_f..incoteague.jpgLighthouse from the Wildlife Refuge

Lighthouse from the Wildlife Refuge


Boardwalk to Toms Cove Visitor's center

Boardwalk to Toms Cove Visitor's center

Scrub trees at the closed National Park visitor's Center for the National Seashore

Scrub trees at the closed National Park visitor's Center for the National Seashore


5020022-Assateague_Light_Chincoteague.jpgLighthouse from Assateague

Lighthouse from Assateague


We looked at the beach, but I was saving my energy for the walk to the lighthouse and didn't go out on it.
Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Beach

Assateague Beach

366197815070741-More_beach_C..ife_Refuge.jpgMore beach from the car

More beach from the car


Didn't see any ponies because, most of the time they stay up on the Maryland end of the island. There are no wild ponies on Chincoteague Island itself - just on Assateague. The only time there are ponies on Chincoteague is after the Pony Swim. At “slack tide” on the last Wednesday of every July, Chincoteague's “Saltwater Cowboys” herd about 150 ponies across the Assateague Channel to move them from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.

We took some photos of the birds in the wildlife refuge.
5857556-Wildlife_refuge_Chincoteague_Island.jpgFemale mallards in the wildlife refuge

Female mallards in the wildlife refuge


Lighthouse, a Swan and Snow Geese?

Lighthouse, a Swan and Snow Geese?


There were supposed to be snow geese, and there were white birds but they were too far away for me to see whether they were geese or swans.
5857515-marshes_Chincoteague.jpgbeach marsh and birds

beach marsh and birds


Great blue heron - fishing

Great blue heron - fishing

We got to the lighthouse trail and did walk to it although it took just about every energy unit I had.
Top of the lighthouse from the trail to parking

Top of the lighthouse from the trail to parking


Although one might expect that the lighthouse itself would not be handicapped accessible - after all the design of the thing means that there will usually be many steps to get to the top. Even the Sullivan's Island lighthouse which is the only one with an elevator has an additional 25 foot ladder to be scaled to get to the lantern room.
Picture at the first rest place

Picture at the first rest place


But the path to this lighthouse is particularly difficult to negotiate if you have trouble walking. It is deep gravel.Bob said it looked new. You could not use a scooter or wheelchair, and even walking was difficult for me. I had to stop and rest several times.
Birdhouse

Birdhouse


These photos are the ones I took while I stopped to rest.
Closer now but tree branches in the way

Closer now but tree branches in the way


Entrance sign - almost there

Entrance sign - almost there


This is as close as I got

This is as close as I got


I got up to the cleared area around the lighthouse, and sat down to catch my breath.
Taken sitting on my cane

Taken sitting on my cane


Bob went up to the lighthouse and took photos of the signs
Bob walking around the base of the lighthouse

Bob walking around the base of the lighthouse

Sign about the lighthouse

Sign about the lighthouse


The original lighthouse was constructed here in 1833 In 1860, construction on a taller, more powerfully illuminated brick lighthouse began, and was completed in 1867.
Assateague Village sign

Assateague Village sign


Assateague's lighthouse has twin rotating lights that flash one after the other from a height of 154 feet above sea level. The lights can be seen 19 miles out to sea.
Assateague Light

Assateague Light


A new brick oil house, measuring fourteen by eighteen feet, was added to the station in 1891,
Oil house

Oil house


and in 1907, ruby-red glass was placed in a portion of the lantern room to create a red sector in the light. In 1910, a concrete bungalow was built at the lighthouse for Keeper William Collins, who was responsible for the beacon light at Fishing Point in Tom’s Cove. The lighthouse, an oil house, and the bungalow are the only structures from the station that remain standing today.
5857980-base_of_the_tower_Chincoteague.jpgBottom of the lighthouse

Bottom of the lighthouse


This dwelling is located south of the tower and is used to house staff for the wildlife refuge. (We didn't take any photos of the house) Coastal lighthouses are frequently threatened by the encroaching sea, but at Assateague Island, the opposite is actually true. The southern tip of the island, known as Tom’s Cove Hook, is slowly being built up by vast amounts of sand deposited by ocean currents.
Island on the move

Island on the move


Most of the Hook did not even exist before the twentieth century, and now the lighthouse stands much farther from the inlet to Chincoteague Bay.
Map of Tom's Hook

Map of Tom's Hook


In 2006 he lighthouse started to be renovated and it was completed in 2013 after our visit.
Still shining

Still shining


The 150th anniversary of the lighthouse was celebrated in October 2017.

On the way back toward the hotel
Near the Wildlife Refuge Entrance

Near the Wildlife Refuge Entrance


we passed the museum (closed).
Museum (closed off season)

Museum (closed off season)


The museum has the original fresnel lens from the Assateague Island Lighthouse. (Fresnel is pronounced Fre-nell - the S is silent) and we saw the McDonalds where we could see the lighthouse, but I thought we would come back for that later. I was trying to find a couple of cemeteries to see if I had located them on the map correctly.
Main Street

Main Street


But we turned the wrong way on Main St and went up to the other end and had to turn around.
5035675-Street_in_Chincoteaque_Chincoteague.jpgRoad in Chincoteague with our GPS map

Road in Chincoteague with our GPS map


We got to the hotel about 1530.
Pony logo in the entrance of the Hampton Inn

Pony logo in the entrance of the Hampton Inn


They seemed genuinely to want us to have a good stay. Unlike a lot of Hampton Inns, this one has a heated indoor pool (which we did not get a chance to try). They gave us cookies and said there was tea and coffee anytime.
5070512-Bed_Chincoteague_Island.jpgMicrowave and fridge

Microwave and fridge


There is a fridge and microwave in the room. They also said they were serving a snack supper between 5 and 7.

I downloaded the photos we took (Bob took 11, I took 80) but I kept having to go into the bathroom to meditate. Next time I go I'm taking the phone book in there to read. Bob wasn't enthusiastic about the supper
5035694-Dinner_at_the_hotel_Chincoteague.jpgDinner

Dinner


which was soup, chips, cold cut sandwiches and drinks. But I didn't think I could get that far from the bathroom, so in the end that was what we did

Thursday 17 February 2011

Bob set the alarm for 7 and we got up a little after that. Went to breakfast about 8:20.
5019158-TV_in_breakfast_room_Chincoteague.jpgTV and painting in the breakfast room

TV and painting in the breakfast room

Bob at breakfast

Bob at breakfast


In addition to waffles and cranberry juice they had scrambled eggs, sausage, hard boiled eggs, hot and cold cereal, pastries, toast, tea and coffee.
My breakfast

My breakfast


We ate at a table by the window overlooking the canal. It was posted no swimming because of swift currents.
904006915070514-Another_view..gue_Island.jpgViews from the window at breakfast

Views from the window at breakfast


I saw ducks flocking to where someone was apparently feeding them,
486631865070510-Ducks_in_the..incoteague.jpgDucks in the canal

Ducks in the canal


and then they all swam down a canal in a phalanx.
Phalanx of ducks swimming down the canal

Phalanx of ducks swimming down the canal


We checked out, about 8:50, but when I got to the car I couldn't remember where I had put the GPS. Finally figured it out after emptying my whole computer bag. I had stuck it and my cell phone in the side bottle slot. Anyway we did to go the McDonalds and
McDonalds from the street

McDonalds from the street


and take pictures of the lighthouse.
Lighthouse from the back of the McD's parking lot

Lighthouse from the back of the McD's parking lot


Then we drove the length of Main Street, touring the Historic Downtown.
Visit our Historic Downtown sign

Visit our Historic Downtown sign


But there did not appear to be any organized route to follow or any type of pamphlet with information on what to look at that would detail the history. The Fire Department and the Library are listed as historic buildings. The original Library building was once a barber shop.
Movie theater (left) and library (right)

Movie theater (left) and library (right)

Laundromat next to decoy shop and T-shirt factory

Laundromat next to decoy shop and T-shirt factory


5857586-Shops_on_Main_Street_Chincoteague.jpgShops and Gas station on Main Street

Shops and Gas station on Main Street


Bridge to the mainland

Bridge to the mainland


We left the island over the new drawbridge and drove to US 13. We missed seeing the gas that was $2.99 (or else they upped the price since last night), so we stopped when we saw some that was $3.059.
Gas station (blurred because camera was slow)

Gas station (blurred because camera was slow)


The car is getting 34+mpg. We have seen two Roses department stores over here, and several Walmarts that are painted cream color and not grey. We also saw a Peebles department store - we used to have one of them where we live.

Next looking for the Cape Charles Light in the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.

I had put the GPS location for the Cape Charles Lighthouse on Smith Island into the GPS. That took us into the Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge
Bridges over Fisherman's Inlet

Bridges over Fisherman's Inlet

Entrance to the wildlife refuge

Entrance to the wildlife refuge


to the Wise Boat Ramp. The refuge information says that the Wise Point Boat Ramp on the Inside Virginia Passage provides access to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay for fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography.
Parking lot at the boat ramp

Parking lot at the boat ramp


Bulletin Board at the boat ramp - Smith Island Closed

Bulletin Board at the boat ramp - Smith Island Closed

General Ramp Rules and Regulations:

Day use area only (no overnight parking)
A pass is required for parking and/or launching (must be displayed from your rearview mirror)
Launching or loading is limited to 20 minutes
Parking is allowed in marked spaces only
Prohibited activities include:
Use or display of alcoholic beverages
Pets (even in vehicles)
Personal watercraft (Jet Ski, etc.)
Fishing or crabbing along the shore or ramp
Cleaning, gutting or disposal of fish or bait
Swimming or wading
Kite boarding or wind surfing
Vehicles or trailers exceeding 8.5 feet in width or 45 feet in length when coupled
Mooring at or walking on the commercial boat dock
Being present in the area outside hours of operation

Reminder:

Due to the critical nature of their habitats for wildlife, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge and Skidmore Island (part of the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge) are closed to the public. Trespassing (including boat landing or walking on the beach) is prohibited.
Signs at the Boat Landing

Signs at the Boat Landing

Sign at the Boat Ramp

Sign at the Boat Ramp

Ramp from the water Photo Credit: USFWS

Ramp from the water Photo Credit: USFWS


The GPS then told us to start off road navigation. We did not have our boat with us in February :), and our boat wouldn't be suitable for use at this location anyway.

We looked but couldn't see the lighthouse.

There were men all over the Refuge wearing orange vests with poles with a little white disk in top.
Man with pole on the right side as we pass

Man with pole on the right side as we pass


I went back to the Refuge administration building. The man I talked to said the guys with the disk at the top of the poles were surveying the roads - they use GPS for that now. He said that there was a tree covered island in the way of seeing the lighthouse from the refuge. He showed me on a map where the lighthouse was.
Map of the refuge - cemetery in inset

Map of the refuge - cemetery in inset


He said the only place you could see it from land was the northbound lane of the Bridge Tunnel. There was a stuffed snow goose on the top of a bookcase so I took a photo of it.
Snow Goose - middle bird

Snow Goose - middle bird

There was a historic cemetery on the map, so we drove to the parking area and walked down to it. First we passed a WWII bunker of Fort John Custis. At the beginning of World War II, a lot of the land that is now part of the wildlife refuge was acquired by the federal government and named Fort John Custis, after a prominent eighteenth century resident of Northampton County. Large bunkers in the fort housed 16-inch guns designed to protect naval bases and shipyards in Hampton Roads. There were approximately 800 soldiers who defended the Bay entrance. The Fort also served as a logistical support base for east coast prisoners of war

In 1950, the U.S. Air Force changed the name of Fort John Custis to the Cape Charles Air Force Station. The Air Force occupied their AFS until 1981.
Sign at bunker

Sign at bunker


Bunker behind information kiosk

Bunker behind information kiosk

Stairs to the top of the bunker

Stairs to the top of the bunker


and then Bob climbed to the top of the bunker. He got a (better) picture of a vulture in the top of a tree, but he said you really couldn't see much.
932573665036500-My_picture_o..ife_Refuge.jpgMy photo and Bob's photo of the Vulture at the top of a tree

My photo and Bob's photo of the Vulture at the top of a tree


Then we went to the Historic Hallett Cemetery and took photos of the markers.
Cemetery in the winter

Cemetery in the winter


This cemetery is on the property of the Eastern Shore of VA National Wildlife Refuge in an area that was Fort Custis on the Old Douglas Fitchett Farm.
639305615840503-J_D_Hallett_..ife_Refuge.jpgJ. D.  and Thomas Hallett's stones

J. D. and Thomas Hallett's stones


Thomas Hallett and Tamar Trower
Inscription on Tamar Hallet's stone

Inscription on Tamar Hallet's stone


had five children - Arinthea Hallett, Sarah Hallett , James Hallett , Thomas J Hallett and Margaret Ellen Hallett. Thomas, Tamar and three of their children (James,
Sarah Hallett

Sarah Hallett


Sarah and Maggie) are buried in this cemetery. Maggie married Leonard Thomas Fitchett and they had eight children, including Hilary G Fitchett. One of Hillary's children, Rufus Carl who died at age two is also buried here.
[185602125036497-Grave_of_a_l..ife_Refuge.jpgMemorial of the Fitchett boy who died at age two

Memorial of the Fitchett boy who died at age two

We didn't go as far as the marsh overlook
Trail near parking lot

Trail near parking lot


Butterfly trail (for summer) in main refuge

Butterfly trail (for summer) in main refuge

456841965840488-Another_info..ife_Refuge.jpgInformation about wildlife

Information about wildlife

Sign which says "Public Hunting area

Sign which says "Public Hunting area


The refuge permits deer hunting - the harvest of animals is one tool used to manage wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment

We were approaching the Bridge Tunnel by 11:40 ($12 toll),
Approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel


Toll has been paid

Toll has been paid


and after we paid the toll, I could see the lighthouse far in the distance. I took some pictures out the back driver's side window, but they aren't terrific photos.
5020246-Visit_the_Lighthouse_Smith_Island.jpgLighthouse from the road

Lighthouse from the road


The Cape Charles lighthouse was built in 1895. It was still active in 2011 but it was made inactive in 2013. It consists of a 191 ft. octagonal pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern and gallery, solar-powered 190 mm lens. The tower is painted white; the lantern and watch room are painted black. This is the second tallest U.S. lighthouse. It is located on uninhabited Smith Island, just north of the cape. Accessible only by boat.
Cape Charles Lighthouse from the Bridge-Tunnel

Cape Charles Lighthouse from the Bridge-Tunnel


Starting across the Bridge-Tunnel

Starting across the Bridge-Tunnel


Now we were on the way to Norfolk. There are two tunnels to the bridge tunnel.
One of the tunnels

One of the tunnels


The first one is the Chesapeake Channel Tunnel and the second one is called the Thimble Shoals tunnel. Apparently they have transponders of some type in the tunnels because the GPS did not lose track of us and knew how fast we were going.

Bob asked me if I wanted to eat lunch at the restaurant on Sea Gull Island right at the end of the Thimble Shoals tunnel. I thought we might be able to see Thimble Shoals light, but the restaurant is on the other side. A big 18 wheeler was tailgating us through the tunnel, and it is a very sharp turn off the road to get to the restaurant and I wasn't sure Bob was going to make it.
703904225841555-From_island_..d_Virginia.jpgFence at  southern end of 2nd tunnel

Fence at southern end of 2nd tunnel

Restaurant from the parking lot

Restaurant from the parking lot

Part of the menu

Part of the menu


We both had clam chowder (the traditional kind and not the Core Sound kind) and a BBQ sandwich
5036179-Clam_Chowder_Norfolk.jpgCup of Clam Chowder $4.00 and BBQ sandwich $8.00

Cup of Clam Chowder $4.00 and BBQ sandwich $8.00


We ate by the window
View from the window of the restaurant

View from the window of the restaurant

5841593-Signs_on_the_pier_Virginia.jpgSigns and Binoculars on the pier

Signs and Binoculars on the pier

Bird on the rocks below the restaurant

Bird on the rocks below the restaurant

Family on the pier

Family on the pier


We watched some of those Navy vehicles that are powered by a big fan in the back zipping around - I saw a man try to take a photo of them with his lens cap on. It didn't work
5036180-Navy_boat_Norfolk.jpgNavy boat and buoy

Navy boat and buoy

Navy boats

Navy boats


Me reflected in the ladies room mirror

Me reflected in the ladies room mirror


We drove along Little Creek
100_8297.JPGJoint Expeditionary Base - Little Creek-Fort Story

Joint Expeditionary Base - Little Creek-Fort Story


to our old house on Nathan Avenue.
Nathan Avenue - more trees than in 1961

Nathan Avenue - more trees than in 1961

8217 Nathan Avenue in 1961

8217 Nathan Avenue in 1961


They have removed all the azalea bushes and replaced them with grass. They took out the big evergreen Xmas tree that was in the front yard They have replaced the cream shingles with aluminum siding. They removed the metal awning that shaded the picture window and the house looks naked without it.
Then and Now

Then and Now


They even have aluminum siding on the car port supports. They've replaced the chain link fence with a big board fence. They have made the driveway a full double driveway instead of just two concrete strips and they've replaced the windows. There was a little dog inside that I think was a Llassa who barked at me, and the big truck in the driveway had a vanity plate "Doggy Mom" . But they still have the same steps and cheesy iron railing.
5036167-Driving_up_to_the_house_Norfolk.jpg8217 Nathan Avenue in 2011

8217 Nathan Avenue in 2011


When I looked through a chink in the fence, I saw a pool in the back yard and also several of what look like storage sheds and another building which could be a garage. I verified this with Google maps.
Fence

Fence


I knocked in a non-aggressive fashion on the door but nobody came - so we proceeded on to "Little Washington" Ever since I heard about "Little Washington" (which is the way North Carolinians refer to Washington North Carolina), I've wanted to see it. I got close this time, but saw very little
Visitor Information Center

Visitor Information Center


We stopped by the North Carolina Visitor's Center that is between the Dismal Swamp Canal and Route 17.
x100_7031.JPGReflections in the canal

Reflections in the canal

Civil War map

Civil War map


There is a bridge over the canal just past that point for the State Park. Bob walked over and took some pictures
Kayak launch

Kayak launch


I wanted to take the historic walking tour of Washington NC, but we were going to get there too late to get a map of the tour.

I called to see where it was and we were going to try it, but we didn't see where we were to turn to get to the town so we ended up going across a series of bridges which were not on the GPS maps.
Swamp

Swamp


The GPS did not say anything about what we were doing. We turned around and finally checked into the Comfort Inn about 1630. The hotel was comfortable although I did hear noise from other occupants from time to time. Our room had a microwave and dorm fridge in addition to two beds. They also had free wi-fi
x100_8327.JPGTV

TV

Bob reading the paper

Bob reading the paper


The bathroom had a separate sink area from the tub and shower, which was good, as Bob could be shaving and I could use the toilet without disturbing him. But the toilet was not seated properly and had one of those crappy plastic seats that they all seem to use now, so when I sat down, everything would shift under me.
Reflected in the bathroom mirror

Reflected in the bathroom mirror


We went out to the Golden Corral for dinner - at 1830 we were too late for the Early Bird,
100_8321.JPGDinner

Dinner

Dinner

Dinner


but we got the old person's discount.
Bob cleaning the windshield

Bob cleaning the windshield


Then we got gas on the way back to the motel - this time the car got 33+ mpg. I tried to take a picture of the bugs on the window when Bob was washing the window.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:11 Archived in USA Tagged park norfolk lighthouse refuge chincoteague assateague Comments (13)

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