|We drove straight out to the beach to enjoy the full moon after dark!|
|I think this one is from the husband's long bike ride around Chincoteague...|
|This one, too.|
|Finally!!! Loooong days on the beach, reading books, digging for sand fleas, boogie boarding, and just swimming through the salty surf. Beautiful!|
|I think this was the first ghost crab we caught. My little sister is holding it!|
|This one was a feisty one, as you can tell!|
|Here's the whole crazy crew, even my baby nephew, getting ready to go crabbing with rotten chicken necks, and these special crabbing nets...|
|We didn't have as much luck crabbing off the peer as we did running around the beach with a flashlight, but we did catch this little guy! We let him scuttle right off the deck after this picture was taken.|
|There are so many funky houses to be found around the island!|
|This actually appeared to be an abandoned store front...|
|I'm not sure where this one was taken...but how gorgeous is it??|
|A beautiful sunset behind the marsh plants...|
|I got such a kick out of this sweet, fuzzy, little jumping spider I found while we waited for our lunch at the Sea Star Cafe! He would perk up and look up into your face just like a little kitten...except with more eyes!|
|Here I am returning my rental bike, and I was not happy about it! Most comfortable seat EVER! I named it the Sitting Duck.|
|Last day at the beach, and I'm still rocking my Chincoteague Police tattoo from Tattoo Tuesday! Family tradition: everybody gets rub-on tattoos on Tuesdays in Chincoteague! We have so much fun!|
|I love this place so, so much! I already can't wait to get back...|
Whew! After a whirlwind of a week I am back with one hell of a tan, and a hankering for more long afternoons spent on the beach...I just wanted to share some of my adventures with you.
In Chincoteague, there's a place we call, The Sea Junk Store. It's been there, way down Ridge Road, past Baldy's Restaurant, since we started going when I was just two years old. The real name of the place is Payne's Sea Treasures. It was run by a man who went by Captain Bob (Bob Captain Bob if you pushed him for a full name) for years and years. Captain Bob would be considered pretty off his rocker by most people, but he had carved out the perfect nitch for himsef, roving the beaches of Assateague, and collecting all the strange things that washed up there over the years. He kept all this stuff, everything from pretty little seashells, water-logged books, and old keys, to pony skulls, massive shark teeth, and a twenty-foot plaster viking statue, in a shack he'd built in his front yard, and in the yard surrounding it. It was a crazy maze, and you never knew what'd you find, but inevitably, there'd be at least one or two things that you had to have.
A few years back, Captain Bob passed away, but his incredibly magical girlfriend, Star, kept the place going. Now she lives in the little house, which has since been painted rainbow. She organized the crazy quantity of stuff, giving her a front yard for probably the first time since she took up with Captain Bob! It's a little less insane now...but even more magical! The viking statue is stood up and fastened to a pole across the street, and we take a picture with him every year. The rest of the treasure is organized into neat piles and stacks on tables throughout the shack, and around the side yard.
Each individual type of shell is in a pile by itself, broken bits of shells, and beautiful crystals are spread out over another table. Two dolphin skulls keep watch over drift wood, weather-worn end tables, tangled lengths of fishing nets, and all kinds of other stuff like dishes, toys, whale bones, and whole bookshelves full of old, empty bottles.
Inside the shack, t-shirts, faded posters, dishes of shark teeth, and a whole back room of books, all decorated with paintings, drawings, Dali Lama quotes, and other beautiful happy hippy thoughts, courtesy of Star, are spread out over a barely bricked in wobbly dirt floor.
|You can see part of Star's home in the background of this one!|
|This whole front area used to be a maze of the craziest stuff. It's more navigable now!|
|Oh man, super cute, or super creepy??|
|We're pretty sure this is the insides of a grand piano!|
|Here's the pile of conch shells. Have you ever seen so many in one place??|
|A Chincoteague-style backyard, tucked away behind all the sea junk...|
If you've been there more than once, she'll remember you, too, and probably offer a print-out of something she's written, just a token.
Chincoteague has changed a lot since my family started going: from a sleepy fishing village without even an ATM to its name, to a summer hotspot where teens and twenty-somethings race by on rented mopeds, and a new $70 million bridge just opened its gates. It's comforting to know that, somehow, there's still only one bar, in the upstairs of a restaurant on Main Street, and there is still Star, presiding over the sea junk store. This year I finally realized that no matter what else happens: stores closing their doors on Main Street, more condos going up in place of ramshackle rental homes, Star is the beautiful beating heart of this island. Not even she can keep going forever...but I trust her to find a steward of Chincoteague's spirit, just as Captain Bob found her.
If you ever find yourself on the east coast somewhere between Virginia and Maryland, test out that new bridge, keep going straight down Maddox road, take a right at Chicken City, and follow it out, past where it turns into Ridge Road, past Baldy's restaurant, to a little rainbow house on the left with a plaster pony, and a sign painted in shells: nothing is more important than love.
Thank you, Star.
P.S. I promised you ponies, didn't I?? The wild ones didn't get close enough for decent pictures this trip, but lucky for us, our neighbor had bought a Genuine Chincoteague Pony at the annual auction (auctioning off the colts and fillies young enough to be socialized and old enough to leave their mothers keeps the population of ponies stable, AND provides income for the volunteer fire company)! We spend some time chatting with him, and he proved to be pretty photogenic...
|What a cutie!!! He had such a nice set-up, too: trees to scratch on, a stable, and a grassy yard to run around...and snack in!|