Chincoteague: Lighthouses, Wild Ponies and Pirates
Small island. Big story. Experience the unique tale of Chincoteague as you join local experts to learn about the Assateague Lighthouse, wild ponies, pirate legends and more!
Rating (4.97)
Program No. 2005RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
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Arrival and Check-in / Dinner / Orientation / Ponies 101
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Motor Inn Resort

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, walk to the motel's Resort Cafe to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. The Road Scholar table will be staffed from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We’ll take a bus to a local restaurant where we’ll enjoy a plated meal, plus water, coffee, soft drinks, or tea. Beer, wine, and cocktails are available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: In the motel conference room our group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Your group leader will be able to offer suggestions for free-time activities. Following orientation, enjoy a brief lecture on the island's ponies. Your group leader, Cindy Faith Oehm, will explain the Chincoteague ponies' history and the traditions and challenges of managing a wild herd.

Seashore Stroll/ Museum Visit/ Bay Cruise
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Motor Inn Resort

Activity note: Note: Walking distances up to a 1/2 mile; sandy terrain on the beach.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet plus water, coffee, tea, juice, and milk in the resort cafe.

Morning: A five minute bus drive takes you to Assateague National Seashore, the longest stretch of wild undeveloped beach on the mid-Atlantic Coast. With a local expert, we will walk along the sandy shore discussing dune ecology.

Lunch: We'll have a boxed lunch at the Museum of Chincoteague Island.

Afternoon: At the Museum of Chincoteague Island, our group leader will provide a colorful history of our local area. Learn how and why Chincoteague's resilient people survived and adapted despite isolation, storms, wars, and changing economies. Explore the Museum's exhibits including a rare Fresnel lighthouse lens, surprising shipwreck finds, and handmade artifacts from the past. Take time to participate in the Museum scavenger hunt and view any of the various short clips that provide insight into local pastimes. Later that afternoon we'll board a pontoon boat at the motel dock for a cruise of the Chincoteague waterfront with a lecture by a local expert about the role the waters played in the life of the island. See the routes used by the old steamers and sailing ships and look at the ruins of Chincoteague’s forgotten Killock Shoal Lighthouse. It can be cool and breezy, so bring a light jacket or a sweatshirt.

Dinner: In the motel conference room, overlooking Assateague Island, we'll enjoy a "small plates" meal prepared by a local chef featuring island heirloom recipes. Each course will be paired with a specially selected wine. Water will also be available.

Evening: Over dessert, we'll watch a Chincoteague sunset, and we'll have time to socialize with new friends.

Wildlife Safari / Painting Demonstration / Pirate Lore
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Motor Inn Resort

Activity note: Note: Walking distances up to a 1/2 mile on even terrain; Be sure to remember your camera and binoculars if you brought them.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the resort cafe.

Morning: Departing the hotel bus to explore the interior of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge with a local expert to look for wild ponies, Sika elk, nesting terrapin, otters, bald eagles, Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel and other wildlife. We will be going into an area that is normally closed to the public. Bring cameras and, if you have them, binoculars.

Lunch: We'll have lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll join local wildlife artist Nancy Richards-West in the conference room for a painting demonstration. We'll view a PowerPoint presentation before the painting demonstration session, when Nancy will show us how she captures subtle patterns of color, light, and movement distinctive to the nature of Chincoteague.

Dinner: Dinner is a taco bowl buffet with vegetarian options.

Evening: Group leader Cindy Oehm explores the history and legends of pirates on Virginia's Eastern Shore. She explains just how Chincoteague fits into pirate lore. The peaceful shore was not always so tranquil and legends of buried treasure still intrigue locals and visitors alike.

Cruise/ Waterman Lecture / Lighthouse History
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Motor Inn Resort

Breakfast: Breakfast is in the resort cafe.

Morning: We’ll take the bus to where we’ll climb aboard a pontoon boat and head for the oyster grounds and clam beds with our local expert. Once there, learn about oyster and clam aquaculture and the future of the industry on this island. Travel waters thought to be frequented by 18th and 19th century pirates and hear the lore of shipwrecks and plunder. Your guide will point out evidence of the constantly changing topography of the barrier islands: Assateague and Chincoteague. Bring cameras and binoculars, if you have them. It can be cooler on the open water, so bring a jacket, a sweater or a sweatshirt.

Lunch: We'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A local waterman will lecture us on the changing marine ecosystem and how the modern day marine industry is adapting. The oceans and shoreline create one ecosystem, and the marshlands on the back of the barrier islands create another. We will learn how these ecosystems make some of the most productive marine environments in the world.

Dinner: We'll be dining at a local restaurant.

Evening: Museum Director Emeritus Bill Borges illuminates the topic of lighthouse history. He begins describing the history of lighthouses all over the world and focuses in on Chincoteague and Assateague's stunning examples of lighthouse technology.

Skilled Island Craftman Demo / Free Afternoon / Performance
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Motor Inn Resort

Breakfast: At the Resort cafe.

Morning: We’ll meet a Chincoteague islander who practices a special island craft tradition. For some program dates, this will be an award-winning decoy carver who will demonstrate the skills of this traditional island art, handed down by generations. For other dates, we'll be joined by a spinner who spins the wool of Hog Island Sheep, the same breed of sheep who once inhabited Assateague Island.

Lunch: At the Resort, we’ll have a grab-and-go boxed lunch with gourmet sandwiches.

Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: We'll enjoy a plated dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: This evening's entertainment features a performance by "Three Sheets" in the Island Theater Annex following dinner. This local trio will delight you with a performance of Celtic, nautical, and traditional music. They will entertain you with witty banter while teaching you about their songs and instruments.

Lighthouse Visit / Program Concludes
Chincoteague , Va.

Activity note: Note: Check-out is at 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: Visit the Assateague Lighthouse and learn about its history with our expert. Built in 1867 and restored in 2013, it is still used by the U.S. Coast Guard to aid in navigation. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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