Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sleeping with the horses

That title looks like Don Corleone had something to do with it, but actually we were treated to a camping trip on Assateague Island! My mother-in-law heard about the campgrounds and wanted to break in her new/used pop-up camper, so she invited us to go camping with them.

Some of the more stand-off-ish horses.
These are some of the wild horses (and yes, they are horses, not ponies) that live and roam on Assateague Island. It's a different herd from the Chincoteague horses, but they're related. It's so bizarre - the campers are warned that the horses may bite, kick, or charge, but most of the horses are so calm about humans that they walk right up to you. One even cruised past us like a cat wanting to be petted!

We spent Friday night listening to the ocean waves crash on the beach, which was only 400 yards from our campsite. I've never had the opportunity to sleep so close to the ocean that I could hear it all night.

In the morning there was a heavy mist, but we still played on the beach and rode our bikes around. Unfortunately, I forgot that sunburn can happen through the fog, and even after the fog burned off I didn't think to put on sunscreen. The kids were fine - they stayed under cover during the high sun hours - but Jake and I got some rough burns. Even so, we got to enjoy a lot of what the Island had to offer! The beach is clean, uncrowded, and there are gorgeous birds and shells everywhere. Daniel especially loved hanging on the beach, while Catie was happier playing cards with her cousin, and Tristan just liked running, playing at the playground, and turning somersaults in the sand. We all enjoyed visiting the horses (at a respectful distance).

We had driven down there using a route that hit a lot of traffic slowdowns, so we decided to take a different route home - thank goodness Jake has no issues driving on strange roads, because this route took us over the Bay Bridge!

I have a thing about heights and narrow lanes - this bridge had both. I think I left a grip mark on the door handle, and I was just a passenger! Beautiful views, though - there were a lot of boats out that day, and the sky was clear and blue.

If you're interested in camping at Assateague, it's quite affordable - $20 - $40 per night, depending on if you need electric hookups and hot showers. If you're really adventurous, they also offer a back country camping pass for only $5 for the length of your stay, but you need to bring in your own water (no fresh water available) and pack out your trash. And since you can have up to 6 people per campsite, it's a great vacation for bigger families - hotels start insisting that you need more than one room if you have more than 4 people. Two side-by-side campsites are easier to supervise than two adjoining hotel rooms.  :)

If you like your beaches unspoiled and uncrowded, check it out - it was so beautiful!

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