Friday, November 19, 2010


One of the main reasons we stopped here, of course, was to visit a very famous man's home. Founding Father and our third president, Thomas Jefferson. The more you learn about these people who built so much of the structure our country is based on, the more incredible it is. The brains, the vision, the lifelong commitment to country.

While Jefferson had to be elsewhere in order to fulfill his governmental pioneering days, he much preferred spending his days at his cherished home, Monticello. We could well see why! What a gorgeous piece of heaven he had there.

Beautiful home, views, and garden.

In the garden was his special place of contemplation.

Home sweet home.

A nice place for Bill to participate in a work meeting, eh?! So now you see, we DO use cell phones - at least once in awhile...!
The resting place for Jefferson, his family, and his closest friends (and their family too!).

Jefferson, who may be hailed for so many astounding accomplishments, requested that just his two favorite ones be recalled on his tombstone - authoring the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of VA (something he did in his "retirement" - he also did much of the college's architectural design as well!).

Afternoon drive

While out on one of my many exploratory drives, I discovered some upper crust horse country of VA.

Gee, I really felt sorry for the people who owned all this land. Wouldn't you?! And you're not even seeing the mansion that was over to the left of this image. Poor folks...

But at least I got to drive through it!

And stop and take photos!

Horse food farm.

Fancy farms have fancy fences.

Which make for fun photos.


Charlottesville, VA - our next/other stop in that state.
We stayed at a little KOA on the outskirts of town. It was in a beautiful rural area and had a neat pond with cute frogs, so I forgave them (well sort of) their terribly, horribly slow wifi.

And suffered the high heat and humidity to go photograph frogs. And man, was it hot and humid - I was always dripping with sweat after my short little outings to the pond!
So, I don't know, does this look like a Bad Hair Day for a frog or what?!

Cool spider!! Don't know if this one eats frogs or gets eaten by frogs, or maybe they just share the pond and eat other things?

And neato dragonflies!

Wait. Isn't this the same one? Nah! Check it out - reversed colors! Cool, eh? Pretty tricky, that Mother Nature type!

Cute croakers!

But before we leave "the islands..."

So, after a short tour of Assateague, I returned to Chincoteague - for a boat ride. I had been hoping to see the ponies from the water, so signed up for a sunset outing. Turned out, because of high tides, we only saw a couple ponies from VERY far away, but boat rides are always fun anyways!

Daisy Dockside Cruises. A father and son business. Nice folks. The son took a bunch of folks out in one boat, while Dad took the rest of us in another.

The Assateague light house.

The owner of Daisy's Dockside Cruises holds up a crab (from a crab trap he hauled up to show us).

And The Dockside Dog (aka, Dolphin Spotter!) stands guard...

Sun sets.

And another adventure comes to an end...
Now it's time for the long drive back home - over bridges and through tunnels. I didn't end up getting home till around midnight or later (including a near run-in with a very creepy male driver!!!!!!!). But it was well worth it, getting to chase the ponies!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Teagues

OK, so this blog entry will be as long as this one day was - and it was a loooong day! When I was a kid, I read a lot of Marguerite Henry books. Maybe some of you know about her and her wonderful books? Whether you do or not, you might like to know a bit more about her - she was an amazing gal. So check this out: As you can see by that website, one of Marguerite's big books was "Misty of Chincoteague." So, when I found myself so close to that island, I had to go see where her idea was born. As an aside, it turns out something I'd heard is true - Marguerite spent her last years in the same place I spent some of my growing up years (Rancho Santa Fe). Who knows, maybe we were there at the same time - her writing and me reading!

Getting over to Chincoteague required crossing via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. It was something else - just went on and on forever. You'd be driving over the water on this raised highway, and every now and then (twice, actually, I think?) you'd enter a tunnel, and then pop back out onto the highway again. In the above photo, you can see one of the tunnel sections. Kinda weird, eh?

Driving past the lagoony areas.
Arriving at the town and island of Chincoteague.

And here's a shout out to my tea party pals, in case any of them are reading this...?

Ah, the first spotting of the famous ponies! Out grazing on a misty, foggy morning. There's still mystery over exactly how the ponies arrived at Chincoteague, but one of the more popular theories has it that they survived from a sunken Spanish galleon off the coast. The other has it that colonists hid all their taxable livestock during tax-time a little too well. Either way, the ponies have done pretty well, despite their rather unnatural diet of salty marsh grasses (which apparently accounts for their bloated appearance - you will see their big bellies in upcoming photos. It sounds like all that salty stuff makes them drink a whole lot more water...). These feral horses appear smaller (as ponies) here, but when some of them end up in well-fed captivity, they grow to regular horse size!

Egret take-off.

More ponies! With several babies (aka, foals) too.

Egret in the Mist. (well, c'mon, it's just not all about gorillas all the time!)

Check out the cute matching papa/baby set at far right!

OK, so now you've seen Chincoteague - or at least parts of it. Now, we're enroute to Assateague. Chincoteague is an island off of VA's eastern peninsula. And Assateague is a barrier island off of Chincoteague that spans both Virginia and Maryland.

To get to Assateague, you need to get back on the peninsula and drive north, passing through a lot of farmland and a few dinky towns.

I was very excited to see a lone horse almost immediately upon entering the Assateague Island National Seashore. So I stopped, hopped out, and of course became an instant one-person paparazzi.
And then another horse showed up. These two were very cute together.

And I got a lovely pose from the newcomer as he watched...

the other newcomer show up and take over...!

After that trio split up and went their separate ways, I went mine too. And parked in a parking lot along the beach. Spotting another little band of ponies, I grabbed up the camera again and went in hot pursuit. As you can see, these guys were very shy and skittish around people and manmade objects/surroundings...!!! Hah! Not!!!

I liked this one couple of horses. Not quite sure how romantic (or antagonistic?) this meet-up was, but it looked sweet!

Just a friendly nibble?!

And onto the beach.

Let the fun and games begin!!!!

Woo-hoo! I feel good!!

Horsey frolic.

See what I mean about these guys not being too preoccupied with their human-filled environment?! They walked right past and through people on the beach. Everyone who was awake, rushed to get their point and shoot and snap a shot of the ponies parading past!

And those who weren't awake, well... This one poor gal (behind the horse legs) had a rather rude awakening - or at least an unusual one, as this horse nearly stood on top of her as she was sleeping on the sand! She jumped up pretty quickly, I must say!
(and for more info. on the ponies - and the famous pony swim - see here: