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Enjoy summer escapes!

June 3, 2011
By KAY SEDGMER - The Scene , Times Leader

A WEEKEND get-away is usually planned as a means of providing the escapees with a little bit of rest and relaxation.

But at times, the planning and preparation and actual activities associated with the break from reality can be more than you've hoped for. The need to cram it all in to one weekend can have you needing another break before returning to your day job!

However, my recent escape from reality was by far the most relaxing weekend I've had in recent memory.

Article Photos

A YOUNG boy is all concentration as he works to free the tasty morsel inside this steamed clam which will be his reward for a job well done during the Clam Festival held at Tom’s Cove Park and hosted by the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce.

A three-day trip to Chincoteague Island, Va. was just what the doctor ordered for me and my friend.

The trip east takes about 8 1/2 hours. We headed off to the island on a Thursday afternoon making an overnight stop in Kent Narrows, Md., just after crossing the Cheasapeake Bay, where we enjoyed a delicious late-night meal at one of the local eateries.

I honestly believe there is nothing better on the face of this earth than fresh seafood. Normally I like to enjoy my meal with great conversation and a good wine but that evening neither Edgar or myself was too into conversation ... but we were into the oyster, shrimp and crab cakes.We both walked away from the table happy as clams at high tide!

After a great night's rest, we were back in the car early Friday morning to complete the journey to Chincoteague which took only a few short hours.

The closer we got to our final destination, the happier we both became and now I know why ... Edgar and I are both seashore loving Ohioans!

The charming hideout known as Chincotague Island renowned for its wild horses is the perfect destination for us!

Famous for its oyster and clam shoals, Chincoteague is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

The pace of activities on the seven-mile stretch of land is very casual, typical of island life.

However, adventure awaits every traveler as history and legend blend together with the beauty of the seashore.

In town for the annual spring seafood festivals held at Tom's Cove Park, we arrived at the park on Saturday morning to find a table of friends already on scene and anxiously awaiting the 11 a.m. starting time of the festival. Everyone on site couldn't wait to dig into the numerous delectable offerings including clams, oyster fritters, jambalaya, hush puppies, fish and much more!

Everyone left the festival with full bellies amid comments touting the pleasure of spending an early summer-like day on the seashore.

The experience has at least two Ohioans looking forward to the Oyster Festival which is held in October.

This festival features the Chincoteague Seaside Oyster prepared in a number of ways. If a person can think of a way to prepare this seafood treat, well, it is done during the festival!

Besides oysters, attendees can also indulge in a variety of other foods such as clam chowders and fritters.

When the two festivals are combined, they make the perfect bookends for a fantastic summer getaway novel with a very special centerfold ... the annual Pony Swim.

The world-famous event, which has been ongoing for the past 85 years, is held the last Wednesday of each July at slack tide. Chincoteague's "Saltwater Cowboys' herd about 150 wild ponies across the Assateague Channel to Chincoteague Island where the ponies are then "paraded" to the carnival grounds. The foals of the ponies are then auctioned the next day.

On Friday, the adult ponies make their return swim to their homes on Assateague Island where they enjoy the "wildlife" until the next year's pony swim.

The event will begin on July 27 this year and is presented by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. Last year's fundraiser netted the fire company nearly $80,000

In addition to the swim and subsequent parade, the fire company also hosts a carnival which provides another source of fun for island visitors.

Without doubt, the fine folks of Chincotague have festival-hosting down to an art form that will please any island visitor. In addition to the three mentioned festivals, you can find excitement any time of the year on this quaint island whether you taste runs to seafood, blueberries, decoys, daffodils or just by strolling down its streets and stopping in the numerous shops and eateries.

More information can be obtained by calling the local Chamber of Commerce at 1-757-336-6161 or by visiting their Web site at

Sedgmer may be reached at



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