Suggested Reading List
Wallops Island (Images of America: Virginia) (Paperback)
Author: Nan Devincent Hayes and Bowen Bennett
Description: Located in Accomack County on Virginiaís Eastern Shore, Wallops Island was once a primitive swath of land, uncivilized but by the wild ponies and mosquitoes that made its scrub-covered shores their home. But as the centuries passed, the wildness of the island was radically altered by the influx of colonists, then vacationers, and, eventually, some of the brightest scientific minds in the country. The history of Wallops Island has been one of transition. In the colonial period, John Wallop, an industrious man and self-made millionaire, was granted much of the islandís acreage by the English Crown for providing assistance to new colonists trying to reach Virginia. In 1889, Wallops Island was bought and converted into a vacation destination for a handful of wealthy families from Pennsylvania, who, in turn, sold the island to the federal government in the 1940s. Once in the hands of NASA the island was transformed into a center for the high-tech development of rockets, missiles, and the means for space travel. From weather balloons and Tiamat missiles to aerodynamics and hurricane research, the Wallops Island Flight Facility and its predecessors have been instrumental in the evolution and success of the American space program.
A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras
Author: Kenneth L. Gosner
Description: More than 1,000 illustrations, arranged according to visual similarities, show plant and animal species of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. This guide includes information on how to locate each species by geographic range, tidal range, tidal level, season, topography, and climate.
Assateague: Island of Wild Ponies
Author: Andrea Jauck and Larry Points
Description: Children's Book- In a nature tour format, the authors portray the seasons of this famous island. They present facts about the area's ecology while focusing on the ponies. The tone is conversational, written in an informal style and defining equine terms in context. One or two full-color photos on each page show the animals in their habitat. Scenes show both the natural beauty of the island and the ponies in action, sometimes in humorous poses. Photos and text promote Assateague's wildness while cautioning readers about humankind's effects on the fragile environment. Suggest this as background for readers of Marguerite Henry's books, and as a supplement to Jack Scott's Island of Wild Horses
Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
Author: William W. Warner
Description: William Warner exhibits his skill as a naturalist and as a writer in this Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the pugnacious Atlantic blue crab and of its Chesapeake Bay territory. This wonderful work contains all you ever wanted to know about the life cycle of one particular kind of crab that lives in Chesapeake Bay (the kind you probably smashed with mallets if you ever went to that area). Surprisingly, for most of its life, the Atlantic blue crab has nothing to do with beer. Taking it for a focus, Warner draws connections with the sea, the rivers, the crab-friendly environment that produced such a wealth of the creatures, and then the people who live from that wealth, the islanders who lived isolated for centuries, but are now firmly within the web of modern life. Warner tells of the marketing of crabs, the catching of other Chesapeake products like oysters, and even of festivals like a Miss Crustacean contest ! You can learn about esoterica like crab pots, the Waterman's Union, the religious heritage of crabbers, and lots more.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge: An Ecological Treasure
Author: Irene Hinke-Sacilotto
Description: Beautiful photos of Chincoteague National Wildlife: birds, ponies, sunsets. Not a lot of detailed information but it is a photography book primarily and nice to look at and dream of being there.
Chincoteague Revisited: A Sojourn to the Chincoteague and Assateague Islands (Hardcover)
Author: Dorothy Camagna and Jennifer Cording
Description: Through Dorothy Camagna's artful photography and Jennifer Cording's essays, Chincoteague Revisited captures the essence of the community, ecology and the natural landscape of this unique place off Virginia's coast.
The first essay, "Community", welcomes readers to island life and to the islanders themselves–an uncommon culture of people who share a common bond. Local watermen, decoy carvers and shop owners ply their trade; visitors from everywhere transform the community in the spring; simple, whitewashed houses line Main Street, and the Channel Bass Inn bed and breakfast invites afternoon callers to tea. Townspeople and visitors enjoy the traditional Christmas parade and the tastes of the annual oyster festival. Chincoteague Island comes to life in poetry and pictures.
The next essay, "Refuge", centers on the mystery and beauty of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge–its seashore, marshlands, maritime forests and wildlife. Through Camagna's expert eye and Cording's sensitive language, the sun sets on the loblolly pine, and the great egret takes its majestic flight towards Chincoteague Bay. The most famous inhabitants of Assateague Island, the wild ponies, also call the refuge home. Each July, local cowboys herd the ponies for their swim across the channel to Chincoteague's shore, where the foals are auctioned at the annual Firemen's Carnival.
And finally, the essay titled "Transitions" focuses on the ecological and seasonal changes of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. "It is a delicate balance," writes Cording of the fragile combination of a beautiful natural landscape and thousands of human visitors who descend on the island each season.
Chincoteague Revisited is a rare collection of over one hundred full color photographs with accompanying essays–from aerial shots of the coastline and barrier islands, to intimate portraits of the water, land and people that make Chincoteague Island a destination to be visited, revisited and remembered.
Misty of Chincoteague
Author: Marguerite Henry
Description: On an island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her--that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can't live without her. The frenzied roundup that follows on the next "Pony Penning Day" does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected. Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether.
Marguerite Henry's Newbery Honor Book has captivated generations of boys and girls both with its thrilling descriptions of true incidents from the tiny island of Chincoteague, and its realistic yet wonderfully magical atmosphere. This story of an animal brought into captivity poignantly reveals the powerful opposing forces of humans and nature. Wesley Dennis's pen-and-ink ponies are masterfully depicted with rippling muscles, shaggy coats, and free spirits.
Off 13: The Eastern Shore of Virginia Guidebook
Author: Kirk Mariner
Description: Kirk Mariner's book "Off 13 - The Eastern Shore of Virginia Guidebook" offers a highly informative and entertaining guide to an overlooked but tranquil peninsula bounded by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, not far from the Nation's Capital. Many people know of Chincoteague but may not be aware that the rest of the Virginia eastern shore is well worth exploring. "Off 13" is full of interesting anecdotes and historical information about the area and its many little towns as well as useful and practical information for travellers.
Once upon an island: The history of Chincoteague
Author: Kirk Mariner
Description: This book is not just another collection of essays and sepia pictures about a local landmark or town. Kirk Mariner's review is a thoughtful and thorough history of a small island community - as thorough as one can be when natural history and the lack of written records affect the narrative as often as it does Chincoteague.
Voices of the Chincoteague: Memories of Greenbackville and Franklin City (VA)
Author: Martha A. Burns and Linda S. Hartsock
Description: Beginning around the turn of the 20th century, people flocked to boom towns like Greenbackville and Franklin City on Virginia's remote Chincoteague Bay to cash in on the lucrative oyster trade. Most eventually settled for simple rural lives, living a cash and barter economy, commuting on foot or by boat, always closely tied to the tide and water. From mystery in the marsh to jealous lovers, these accounts of life on the Bay are filled with work boats, crab pots, and saltwater.
About the Author
As come eres newcomers to the Eastern Shore, authors Martha A. Burns and Linda S. Hartsock bring a fresh perspective to life on the Bay. They present here the memories of a vanishing way of life in rural America, largely in the words of those who lived it and worked it. Much of the language, insights, and emotion of the last century are here for all to read, coupled with the authors' observations and interpretations of their neighbors and the bay they call home.