Chincoteague Island
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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Check-in/Registration/Welcome Dinner/Orientation/Ponies 101
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Resort

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the resort café 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 into the motel.

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

Evening: Orientation: In the Resort's 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. Indicated times are approximate; program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Many meals will be at a variety of local restaurants to experience the cuisine of the island. Most meals feature a seafood option. Following orientation, the group leader will tell you about the island's wild ponies, from when they first appeared to their care today, and introduce you some island lore.

National Seashore/Museum/Sunset Cruise/Small Plates Dinner
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Resort

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

Breakfast: In the resort cafe' enjoy a continental breakfast buffet plus water, coffee, tea, juice, and milk.

Morning: A five minute 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: While at the museum, 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. br> Later in the afternoon, we'll depart from the motel dock for an evening cruise, featuring a lecture by a local expert on the role the waters played in the life of the island. See the routes used by the old steamers and ferries before a causeway connected Chincoteague to the mainland, and look at the ruins of the Killock Shoal lighthouse.

Dinner: At the Resort, on the waters edge, featuring heirloom island recipes by a local Chincoteague chef, with expertly paired entrées and wines. Water will also be available.

Evening: Socialize and watch a famous Chincoteague sunset from the motel deck while enjoying dessert.

Wildlife Safari/Painting Demonstration/Pirate Lore
Chincoteague , Va.
Island 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: We'll have breakfast at the resort cafe.

Morning: We'll depart the motel by 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, osprey, deer, Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel and other wildlife. We will be going into an area that is normally closed to the public. Be sure to bring your camera and also binoculars if you have them.

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

Afternoon: We’ll join local wildlife artist Nancy Richards-West for a painting demonstration at the motel. View a PowerPoint presentation before the painting session, when Nancy will demonstrate how she captures subtle patterns of color, light, and movement distinctive to the nature of Chincoteague.

Dinner: We’ll board our bus and head to a local restaurant for a plated dinner.

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 and Aquaculture/Waterman Lecture/Lighthouse History
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Resort

Breakfast: We'll have breakfast at the resort cafe.

Morning: 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.

Lunch: Enjoy a plated 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 have a plated dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Re-visit the Museum of Chincoteague Island, paying particular attention to the Museum's coveted First Order Fresnel Lens. 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.

Wool Spinning Demo/Free Afternoon/Musical Performance
Chincoteague , Va.
Island Resort

Breakfast: We'll enjoy breakfast at the resort cafe.

Morning: We’ll head to the Museum of Chincoteague via bus, where we’ll be greeted by 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. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

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

Evening: This evening's entertainment features a performance by "3 Sheets". 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. Completed 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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