Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Morning

For those of you who have never heard of the place, a little rundown on Chincoteague Island. Chincoteage lies between the Eastern Shore of Virginia and the southern end of Assateague Island. Assateague is a barrier island, given over almost entirely to preservation. Most of it is either Assateague National Seashore or Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge with a bit of the northern end a Maryland State Park.

Chincoteague historically has been a working village -- mostly watermen, plus a bit of farming. In the Eighties when I was living in DC, it was gaining currency as a place to go among those looking for something a little less commercial and decadent than Rehobbeth, DE or Ocean City, MD. In the intervening time, it has obviously gotten more popular resulting in more development.

We stay at the Hampton Inn on Chincoteage which looks to be less than ten years old, part of this new wave of development. While most chain hotels are in commercial areas surrounded by malls or restaurant clusters or other hotels, this Hampton Inn is right next door to some guy's house. Some guy whose waterfront on the bay (the channel between Chincoteage and the mainland) serves a berth to a rotating array of commercial fishing boats.

So this is what we see out our balcony each morning. If we are really good and get up early enough, we can see the crew outfitting the boats for the day's work, then get underway and sail out the channel past the turnstyle drawbridge in the background here.

These contrasts highlight the tensions one might expect -- watermen vs. commercial developers. Environment vs. growth. Old-timers vs. newbies vs. summer regulars. It's an old story we've seen played out over our past three summers here.


k-pho said...

Enjoy your well-deserved vacation. Tell the girls and "Prof W" we say hello!

NixGuy said...

As someone who's read the Misty books, Chincoteague sounds like a cool place for a vacation.

Yes I know they are girl books, want to make something of it!