Saturday, May 24, 2014

VA Eastern Shore

Quick Trip

This year we plan to take small, relatively inexpensive trips to explore the region around our new home. Recently, we visited Virginia's Eastern Shore, a place we hadn't seen in many years. It was fun to cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on a clear, calm day and watch ships from the restaurant viewing area.
Shortly after crossing the bay we stopped at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. A brief, hot walk along one of the trails there brought us to an enormous gun which once guarded the Chesapeake Bay during World War II. The gun had a range of 25 miles and was only fired in practice, never against an enemy. It was originally mounted on a giant concrete bunker under which the gun now sits, and it fired huge shells as C demonstrates below.
Then it was time for a great lunch at the Cape Charles Coffee House in Cape Charles. After lunch we took a slow, leisurely stroll through extremely peaceful streets where wide avenues and almost complete lack of traffic inspired C to call Cape Charles, "the low blood pressure capital of Virginia"! The public beach there was wonderfully uncrowded.
The next day we drove to Chincoteague. On the way we stopped at the NASA Wallops Island Visitor Center where we watched planes practicing aircraft carrier landings on a nearby air strip. Several sounding rockets were on display.
During our last visit to Chincoteague many years ago we were chased from the hiking trails and beach by swarms of biting flies. Apparently, flies have been breeding well ever since. Within five seconds of leaving the car at the NASA Visitor Center I was again attacked by several pesty flies! Later, fortunately, a good breeze off the ocean kept flies away as C enjoyed her time at the sparsely populated beach. Maybe the beach is packed on weekends or holidays, but we enjoyed the retirement perk of uncrowded weekday attendance.
We did see some famous Chincoteague ponies off in the distance while driving back from the beach.
Driving among sparse traffic along Route 13 reminded me of 1950's childhood trips to Florida along Route 301 before Interstate 95 was available. Now, lots of abandoned houses and businesses line the road. Speaking of throwbacks: we had dinner at the Exmore Diner which featured old fashioned diner booths, barstools at a counter, and a reasonably priced menu of good diner food. And none of the gratuitous, annoying background music I hate!! No formless, meandering, grating, jazzy saxophones, or worse, radio stations blaring car commercials!! Just the sound of conversation and dinnerware.
On our final day, on the way home, we stopped in Kiptopeke State Park and explored one of the hiking trails there. The weather was perfect: low humidity, a fragrant breeze, and temperature in the upper 60's. The trail would have been much, much less enjoyable with swarming bugs and steamy humidity. No wildlife was visible, but we enjoyed moseying along the trail.
A spur on the trail went over a boardwalk and onto yet another uncrowded beach.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was visible in the distance, and C had one last chance to put her feet in the water.
Soon we were headed back to Interstate 64 and heavy traffic. The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel was completely blocked by an accident, and we sat at a complete standstill until that was cleared. In Newport News yet another accident had traffic backed up and crawling for miles. Eventually, we got off 64 and took smaller roads home.  

1 comment:

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

John Lennon