Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo Overload #2:
The Assateague Ponies,
Ocean City Boardwalk,
and one heck of a sunset!


In my last post, I promised to provide you with some photographs of ponies, boardwalks, and sunsets. And I stick to my promises!

On our free day in Maryland (the one day we had no softball games whatsoever), I made the decision that we'd be visiting Assateague Island. I had read about this national seashore as soon as I learned we'd be traveling to the area, and I was so excited about seeing it.

Assateague is an island run by the National Park Service and is famed for its horse herds. Two herds of ponies live on the island and visitors are usually able to at least catch a glimpse of them. Legend has it that the horses are descendents of ponies originally brought to the area on a Spanish boat back in the 1600s (although there is no real evidence that it's true). The island is also famous because of the book and movie, Misty, which is a children's classic (Gary remembered it as one of his favorite books when he was a child).

So...there was no way we could miss seeing these horses!

We started off the day with a trip to the visitor's center, where I learned the popular locations of the horse herds. I felt pretty confident that we'd find them quickly.

Of course, things never happen as planned and we couldn't see any horses. (And, let me tell you, Sydney was determined that we would see them!)

We did manage, though, to find some nice, warm water (the ocean water was FRIGID all week long!) and we enjoyed stepping our feet into it...


and some lovely scenery...

and some wildlife...



We even looked sorta glamorous while we searched (or, at least McKenna did)...

But still no horses.

So, we decided to venture over to another part of the island we wanted to experience...the public beach. We always enjoy it when we can visit an unspoiled beach with no hotels or development on it. (We also wanted to see if there was any chance that the water was any warmer over there.) The beach was beautiful and relaxing...although the water was still freezing...and we spent some time walking up and down the seashore. After a while, though, we decided it was time to head out and accept the fact that we hadn't seen any of the famous ponies. We started tromping through the sand until Gary looked down the beach in the other direction and gasped. There were the horses! A whole herd of them!

We all squealed (yes, actually squealed) and ran toward the horses. They all just lay on the beach, seemingly oblivious to the humans around them; and, in turn, the people just gave them their space. It was all very cool to experience!

Gary must have took a hundred pictures of the horses, but these are a few of my favorites...









That afternoon at Assateague is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. Seeing the horses on the beach was very serene and special. I love the touristy appeal of a place (I can appreciate restaurants and putt-putt golf and souvenir shops), but it's very nice to find the sort of unspoiled, pure experience we found on Assateague. I won't forget those ponies...and neither will the girls.

But...you know...we were in a tourist town, so you knew we'd have to go back and have some "touristy" fun. And a favorite highlight from staying in Ocean City was getting to hang out at its famous boardwalk. It's a three-mile lone wooden boardwalk, lined on one side by the beach and the ocean and on the other side by shops and restaurants (it also has a theme park on one end of it, with roller coasters and a ferris wheel and a really cool, old-fashioned carousel).

One of the things we always look forward to when traveling is testing out local food favorites. And as soon as I did some research on the Boardwalk, I knew that I'd be getting me some caramel corn as soon as we arrived. I got the biggest box they'd sell me and ate almost every bite myself. It was absolutely DELICIOUS (in fact, I really want some right now!!)...

And you can't go to the Boardwalk without some original boardwalk fries (they were Gary's favorite treat there!)...


And Delaney is a big fan of ANYthing icey (she's a lot like me in that respect! lol), so she had to try something from the "Water Ice" shop we found. I had actually read about water ice in a magazine while on my airline trip to Maryland; I learned that water ice is especially popular in Philadelphia, but can be found throughout the area. It had a consistency somewhere between a snow cone and an Italian ice. Delaney loved it, of course...

While on the Boardwalk, we quickly learned that July in Maryland is not like July in Alabama. That night was the coldest July night I'd ever experienced, and the cool temps gave all the girls excuses to buy cute sweatshirts...


We also enjoyed the theme park (although McKenna considered trying it out, we just watched the crazy people on the bungee ride) and then Sydney and I rode the carousel (it was a two-level ride with vintage horses on it. Very fun!)...


We came back on another evening and I captured this picture of Sydney with the boardwalk behind her. It is one of my favorite pics from the entire week!


Let me close with a couple of beautiful shots Gary got of the sunrise over the Atlantic. Gary always gets up really early when he's at the beach (I, on the other hand, live on beach-time and usually sleep until at least nine!), and likes to get some photos of the beach at sunrise. These are two he got this past week...


It was such a nice place, and a wonderful week filled with wonderful memories.

Tomorrow's photo post? I'm thinking my favorite beach pictures from the week.

See ya then!!!

19 comments:

Sheila said...

Fabulous photos, especially of the horses. I like to tell people I do a lot of blog vacationing..lol

Gin said...

Some more great photos. How neat about the horses.

Renee said...

Those horses are too cool! And pretty night pictures too.

Ms.L said...

Those horses were amazing!
And I love that big bucket of'fries,lol. I think I have a hankerin' for them now;)

camport said...

Sydney and the boardwal kis my favorite of those posted! The horse pics are awesome, too! All good. Thanks for the input about Delaware. Keeping our fingers crossed that it all works out.

:)

rhonda said...

OMG...I have so got to take my Abbey to see those horses in the wild. She would have a COW!!!!! She is such a horse lover & wants one soooooooo bad!

Auburn Kat said...

I've been to Dolle's before..YUM! The horses are AMAZING! I must go there!

Loreluca said...

WOWSERS!!! Those pix speak for themselves. Just awesomeness. Totally!

Kimberly said...

Those pics are great...loove the horse and beach pics! That looks so peaceful and relaxing.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures, as always. Sounds like you all had a really great time.

Edleen said...

Wow Cheryl!!! wish i was there... ;)

great shots and you look good!!!
it's Friday evening here and looking forward to the weekend!

have a Good One!!! :)

Monogram Queen said...

Awwww i'm thinking that is definitely on my list to visit!

I read the "Misty" books, how enchanting you actually saw the ponies!! I love it!

Love the girls sweatshirts too. You take the greatest photos!

Kathy said...

GORGEOUS photos! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the horses. I want to go and see them NOW! LOL! That would have been my favorite part of the whole trip! I wouldn't have wanted to leave them. And I would have taken a zillion pictures too! LOL!

I really like the picture of Sydney on the boardwalk at night, and the glamorous McKenna! LOL! Shoot! Who am I kidding! I love all of the pictures! I wish I had been there with you!

Cheryl Wray said...

Sheila--Thanks!! When I read blogs, I feel that way too. I get to "go" to a lot of places I wouldn't otherwise.

Gin--We loved the horses!

Renee--Thanks!

Ms L--Mmmm, I LOVE those boardwalk fries.

Camport--I liked that pic too. Can't wait to hear if you guys are Delaware Bound.

Rhonda--Abbey would LOVE them!!

Cheryl Wray said...

Kat--That caramel corn from Dolle's was seriously delicious!!!!

Loreluca--Thanks!!! (Good to see you!)

Kimberly--It WAS!!

Anon--We had a wonderful time!

Edleen--Thanks!!! Hope you have a great weekend too/.

Queen--If you read the Misty books as a child, you would especially love this place. It was so cool!

Kathy--You're so sweet!!!! Thanks!!

Lynilu said...

I love the photos, and the ponies fascinate me! So tame, just lounging around people like that! Wow!

Vacations are THE best! I can't wait till my next one. :)

Adrienne said...

Looks like you had a fab time!!!!!

Dawn Bibbs said...

Oh my goodness, what amazing photos. And the horses...how TOTALLY cool is THAT??? I'm not sure what I was expecting to see as I was reading your post. And then, there they were...REAL, LIVE horses...just chillin on the beach. Amazing!!!

And the boardwalk photos are very cool too. Thanks for sharing.

Susie Q said...

Oh how I love this....it truly is one of the sweetest places on earth. I loved all your photos of your trip. memories for a lifetime.

Love,
Sue