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23441
Virginia

A Hands-On, Sea-to-Table Extravaganza on Chincoteague Island

Learn about the aquaculture industry of Chincoteague as you harvest clams, oysters and crab with locals, and take your catch to the kitchen to cook local dishes with acclaimed chefs.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23441RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,599
Virginia

A Hands-On, Sea-to-Table Extravaganza on Chincoteague Island

Learn about the aquaculture industry of Chincoteague as you harvest clams, oysters and crab with locals, and take your catch to the kitchen to cook local dishes with acclaimed chefs.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,599
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
1,599
Program No. 23441RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 9 - Jul 14, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Aug 13 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Aug 27 - Sep 1, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Sep 24 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
1,599
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 9 - Jul 14, 2023
Starting at
1,949
Aug 13 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
1,949
Aug 27 - Sep 1, 2023
Starting at
1,949
Sep 24 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
1,949

At a Glance

The coastal waters surrounding Chincoteague Island off Virginia’s Atlantic coast were once known for their salty oysters until overfishing nearly depleted the harvest during the 19th century. Today, a new “aquaculture” industry is emerging as the famous oysters known as the “Chincoteague Salts” return. Local waters also offer excellent grounds for clamming and crabbing, and sea-to-table restaurants abound for enjoying these bountiful harvests. During this hands-on seafood extravaganza, get your feet wet as you join local shellfishers and crabbers to hunt for clams, oysters and the famous blue crab, and head to the kitchen with experienced chefs to learn how to make historic and modern Chincoteague dishes. Along the way, learn about the re-emerging aquaculture industry and from those who live it, and find out about the challenges faced by those who work on the water.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Harvesting in knee-deep water.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Join husband and wife clammers for a hands-on harvesting experience, and take your clams to the kitchen to prepare an island chowder with a well-known local chef.
  • Learn the craft of beer making as you produce a small batch of stout with an excellent local brewer, and take your skills home with you to try beer making in your own kitchen!
  • Enjoy a special “small plates” meal featuring historic island recipes paired with international wines.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Chip Lewis
Chip Lewis is a Chincoteague Island native who grew up working in the local seafood business. His mother was one of the few female decoy carvers. He returned to the island following a successful military career. He operates his own clamming business using modern aquaculture techniques to carry on an age-old tradition.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Chip Lewis
Chip Lewis View biography
Chip Lewis is a Chincoteague Island native who grew up working in the local seafood business. His mother was one of the few female decoy carvers. He returned to the island following a successful military career. He operates his own clamming business using modern aquaculture techniques to carry on an age-old tradition.
Profile Image of Beth Scheeley
Beth Scheeley View biography
Beth Scheeley was born and raised on Chincoteague Island. She has many family ties to the island, which makes her a true "teaguer." Beth has an extensive knowledge for Chincoteague's history. Her childhood memories of Chincoteague's past looks, restaurants and people will call for endless conversations and stories during your time with her. Her go-getter personality and friendliness will surely make you feel right at home on Chincoteague Island.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, History
Chincoteague , Va.
D
Island Resort Inn

Activity note: Motel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Getting on/off a bus; short transfer to/from dinner.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-4:30 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us in the motel café to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, you will receive your welcome packet when you check in to the hotel, with information on where and when to meet the group for Orientation.

Dinner: We’ll take a bus to a local restaurant.

Evening: Orientation: In the motel’s conference room, our 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. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. We will be divided into three groups and receive our group assignments. Each group will experience each segment, but not in the same order. By the end of the program, all groups will have had the same experiences, and we will be able to understand the historic and modern island culinary traditions, especially those related to the bounty of the sea. Life and events on Chincoteague Island are governed by the tides: high tide, low tide, and slack tide — the times between high and low tides when there is no perceptible current at all. Therefore, our actual activity times, especially those on the water, may vary somewhat from day to day based on the tides and on the tidal flow. 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/current conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. To close the evening, we’ll have a brief lecture by our Group Leader on the unique history of Chincoteague Island. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Clamming & Oystering by Boat, Island Safari, Sunset Meal
Chincoteague , Va.
B,L,D
Island Resort Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a school bus; driving approximately 12 miles on refuge roads, approximately 2 hours with stops. Getting on/off a pontoon boat; riding approximately 2 hours. Walking during field trips; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: Each of our three smaller groups will set out on their assigned program activities: traditional clamming or oystering with a waterman; visiting a modern oyster aquaculture facility and shucking house; or exploring the island marshes. On subsequent days, the groups will rotate through so everyone will experience each activity as follows. Oystering and clamming groups will leave from the onsite dock at the motel by pontoon boat to open-water beds of clams or oysters. A local waterman will show us how clams or oysters are grown and how they are harvested. We will also get in the water to do some shellfish harvesting (conditions permitting). Those exploring the island marshes will ride a short distance by bus to local salt marshes around the island where we’ll walk with an expert to identify edible flora and fauna. Wear old shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting wet and dirty as we walk through abundant marsh terrain. The group visiting the modern oyster aquaculture facility will ride a short distance to a local aquaculture works where experts will explain the shellfish life cycle and show us how modern aquaculture techniques have transformed the oyster and clam industries.

Lunch: At the motel.

Afternoon: Next, all of us will hop on the bus and go on a “safari” to explore the interior of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We’ll look for wild ponies, petite Sika elk, nesting terrapin, otters, osprey, bald eagles, Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, and other wildlife. A local wildlife expert with more than 30 years of experience will be our instructor as we venture into an area normally closed to the public, stopping often for wildlife sightings and photo opportunities as they present themselves. If determined safe and unobtrusive to do so by our Group Leader, we may get off the bus to get a closer look. Bring cameras and binoculars.

Dinner: In the Museum of Chincoteague Island’s pavilion overlooking the marshes between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. As we socialize with new Road Scholar friends, we’ll watch one of Chincoteague’s spectacular sunsets…weather permitting, of course!

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Learn to Identify Edible Flora & Fauna, Crabbing
Chincoteague , Va.
B,L
Island Resort Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; short drives. Walking less than 1 mile throughout the day; mostly level paved path. Marsh walk will be muddy, feet will get wet. Crabbing with lines, nets, and bait; wear clothes that can get dirty.

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: We will set out in our small groups to experience the next activity on the rotation: traditional clamming or oystering with a waterman, visiting a modern oyster aquaculture facility and shucking house, or exploring the island marshes.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Riding a short way by bus, we’ll then walk a short distance and all go crabbing in the waters around Chincoteague with local experts. With provided bait, lines, and nets, we’ll learn how to catch blue crabs at the Assateague channel overlooks.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Aquaculture Facility, Shellfish Life Cycle, Crab Feast
Chincoteague , Va.
B,L,D
Island Resort Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; short drives. Walking during field trips; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: We will set out in our small groups to experience the next activity on the rotation: traditional clamming or oystering with a waterman, visiting a modern oyster aquaculture facility and shucking house, or exploring the island marshes.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your 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. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce online calendar may be of interest.

Dinner: At a favorite local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Beer Brewing, Making Chowder & Baking
Chincoteague , Va.
B,L,D
Island Resort Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; short drives. Walking and standing during field trips; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: We will hop on our bus and ride to a local brewery, where an island brewmaster will give us a presentation on the fundamentals of beer brewing. We’ll then participate with an island caterer in making Chincoteague clam chowder and some island baked goods we’ll enjoy during dinner.

Lunch: In the museum pavilion.

Afternoon: We’ll return to the brewery to monitor the brewing process and hear some more tips from the brewmaster.

Dinner: In the Museum pavilion, we will gather to enjoy the meal we have helped to prepare throughout the day. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll be joined in the pavilion 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. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Assateague Film, Program Concludes
Chincoteague , Va.
B

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

Breakfast: At the motel.

Morning: In the motel conference room, we will watch “When Assateague Was Home,” a 30-minute video produced by the Museum of Chincoteague that features the memories and recollections of those who once lived in or visited the long-lost village on Assateague Island. The video provides an insight into early islanders’ reliance on the bounty of the sea for survival and their resilience and self-sufficiency. Our Group Leader will then conduct a closing round-table talk to review program highlights. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.