Island Adventure: Discover Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

Get an insider’s perspective on Chincoteague and Assateague, where you’ll enjoy nature walks, attend cultural performances, search for wild ponies and wildlife and sample local cuisine.
Rating (5)
Program No. 10545RJ
4 days
Starts at
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4 days
3 nights
8 meals
3 B 2 L 3 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Lecture
Chincoteague Island, VA
Best Western Plus Chincoteague Island

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the motel café to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We will board the bus and ride to a local restaurant for a plated dinner with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: In the motel conference room, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. To enjoy a “taste of the island” we will dine out at different venues, each known for its local cuisine and friendly service. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will end the evening with a presentation by our Group Leader about the famous Chincoteague pony herd, from when they first landed on our shores to their current existence on Assateague. We’ll also learn about the care they receive from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department and the mutual benefit reaped by the town. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Explore the Beach, Museum Visit, Island Cruise
Chincoteague Island, VA
Best Western Plus Chincoteague Island

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off a pontoon boat. Walking up to 1/4 mile; undeveloped beach.

Breakfast: In the motel café, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, waffles, hot or cold cereal, yogurt, fruit, baked goods, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will hop aboard our bus and drive a short distance to Assateague National Seashore, the longest stretch of wild, undeveloped beach on the mid-Atlantic coast. As we walk along the sandy shore, our Group Leader will discuss dune ecology and explain the forces that affect the environment of a barrier island. We’ll then return to the Museum of Chincoteague.

Lunch: At the Museum, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll explore the exhibits in the Museum of Chincoteague Island with a local expert. As we view exhibits that trace the island’s history and heritage, we’ll see a rare First Order Fresnel Lens, surprising shipwreck finds, handmade artifacts, and much more. We’ll learn about the unique 300-year history of Chincoteague and Assateague as well as how and why its resilient people survived and adapted despite isolation, storms, wars, and changing economies. We’ll walk to the motel dock for a late afternoon cruise along Chincoteague waterways as a crew member points out places of historic interest and describes how the island has changed over time.

Dinner: At the motel, we’ll have a “small plates” meal prepared by a local chef featuring island heirloom recipes, each course paired with a different wine. Enjoy the view overlooking Chincoteague Bay as we spend time with fellow Road Scholars and watch one of Chincoteague's spectacular sunsets (weather permitting, of course!).

Evening: At leisure.

Wildlife Safari, Wildlife Art, Local Entertainment
Chincoteague Island, VA
Best Western Plus Chincoteague Island

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Note: Wild pony behavior is unpredictable; we will get off the bus when we stop only if the instructor and Group Leader determine that it is safe to do so.

Breakfast: Motel buffet.

Morning: We will hop on the bus and go on a “safari” to explore the interior of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to look for wild ponies, petite Sika elk, nesting terrapin, otters, bald eagles, Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, and other wildlife. A local wildlife expert with more than 30 years of experience will be our instructor. We will be going into an area normally closed to the public and will stop often for wildlife sightings and photo opportunities as they appear. Bring your camera and binoculars if you have them.

Lunch: We will board the bus and head to a local restaurant where we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will have a class to observe the techniques of local wildlife artist Nancy Richards West, who is internationally recognized for her sensitive interpretations of this beautiful coast and its wildlife and waterfowl. Through PowerPoint and an actual painting session, Nancy will demonstrate how she is inspired by nature and how she captures the subtle patterns of color, light, and movement distinctive to the waterways, creatures, and skies of Chincoteague.

Dinner: We’ll take the bus to a local restaurant where we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll enjoy entertainment by 3 Sheets, a trio of seasoned singers/players who present energetic and eclectic performances of Celtic, nautical, traditional, and contemporary music. They will entertain us with witty banter while also teaching about their songs and instruments. Returning to the motel, prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

Local Traditional Arts, Program Concludes
Chincoteague Island, VA

Activity note: Motel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Motel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local artisan who spins wool from Hog Island sheep, the very breed of sheep that used to roam free on Assateague Island. This skilled artisan is the keeper of an important story: what life was like for the women on Assateague Island. The practice of spinning wool and knitting is a window into their lives. Our program will end after the morning demonstration at about 11:00 a.m..

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