So I casually mentioned in my first vacation post that my poor Steve was sick.
This was not an exaggeration. Round about 4 in the morning on day two, unable to swallow, Steve crawled under the tent flap (an agreement we made for entering and exiting to minimize the amount of mosquitos that got in) and had to light a fire to get hot water to then mix with honey (a bizarre Swedish remedy that is the only thing he was willing to dose himself with).
So not the most restful night of sleep.
Plus the *$&@ing peacocks.
They were loud. And they were… peacocks! Like, what?!
Anyway, I used the remains of his predawn fire to make a breakfast fire. There was a kettle for tea
And there were OATS! Lacking adequate preparation, I cleverly commandeered a stick to be my potholder.
The contents were GORGEOUS. Oats and milk (brought from home by Steve), plus water, and GORGEY straight-from-the-farm blackberries and peaches.
Heat control was obviously a bit more of a challenge on an open flame ‘n all, but actually it was fun. I am used to a crappy electric stove with anemic burners.
Oats were subliiiiiime.
Now, the day reached infinite temperature heights (it was 90s, for sure), but since all this was happening at oh, 6:30 in the morning, it was still pleasantly cool enough for oatmeal. Great oatmeal!
Showers were exceedingly necessary (thank goodness for campgrounds with bathhouses). Imagine being covered with dead bugs, bug bites, bug spray, sun block, grass clippings (from crawling out of the tent) ash (from grilling), sweat, and who knows what else. I was FILTHY. That shower was INTENSE.
Then the two of us did our various tasks (including, in my case, buying immense quantities of bug spray with the highest DEET percentage they made), and then I decided coffee would be a really excellent addition to my morning.
So we made our way to…. well they did have coffee :D
SUGARBAKERS! Such a very great name for such a very great place. You enter and are absolutely dazzled by heavenly aromas and the sight of freshly made, immensely portioned baked (and fried!) goods.
I had an intense and passionate moment with my coffee. Steve bonded with this glorious donut.
You know what a doughnut is supposed to be? DOUGH! Really really delicious light and fluffy dough, fried and rich with oil. Glazed in sugary goodness. Wow I am drooling on my keyboard.
Things that people are into in Chincoteague: driving around. They just go up and down the main streets. Just… cruising. In a variety of hilarious ways.
We did not have a vehicle as ridiculous as that (though they were ALL OVER THE PLACE), but set out to explore on our bikes, beginning with a pass up and down Main Street.
A really really amazing thing about Chincoteague: on the end of the island is a beautiful place where the bay opens out to the see. You can see across to the city lights of the mainland, and have the tranquility of breezes coming off the water.
At this beautiful place? A trailer park. The owner has been offered gazillions of dollars by developers, and refused. I love it I love it I love it.
Was I trespassing when I took this picture? I really couldn’t tell you.
Then we biked back down Main to the OTHER end of the island (admiring the local high school with its hilarious mascot: an aggressive looking pony). Thoroughly exercised for the time being, we did the wander-through-charming-seaside-shops. Including this intensely pink intensely sugary place.
Steve got a big ol’ slab of rocky road fudge. Being merely human, I had a nibble. Just picked out some walnuts. Some chocolatey, marshmallowy walnuts.
A bit more shopping and we grabbed lunch at this place. I’d been there before, and remembered it being sort of wholesome and family-y, which indeed it was (my Greek mother is Maria, the Greek owner of this place is Maria. That alone was instant bonding).
Parched from an intense quantity of sun (y’all should see my hilarious shorts tan!) I immediately pounded back a healthy amount of iced tea.
Then Steve and I, hungry beasts that we are, spent a hilariously lengthy time poring over the menu. We are SO INDECISIVE. Perhaps especially when hungry. After hemming and hawing and changing our minds (our poor waitress kept having to cross things out) I ended up just going to the salad bar.
Mostly green and fresh things…
… and some picnic-y carb-y mayo-y salads to keep up morale.
Steve got an intensely giant eggplant parm sub. Man it was good. I helped him :D
And so MORE biking. We returned to the lovely sandy beach of Assateague. It was kind of intense, because apparently the very loud and low flying plane that had flown over our campsite that morning had indeed been the bug-zapper that we’d seen signs about that day. Though Assateague is protected and doesn’t get sprayed, there was clearly some migration, or something happening with water flow… because the beach was a SEA (literally) of dead mosquitos. I felt some schadenfreude, not gonna lie.
After the beach, MORE biking (I mapmyfitness’d it, and we biked about 26 miles total that day!) around Assateague.
More of the nature trail, where we saw painfully beautiful and graceful snowy egrets.
There was a path where you could allegedly get a view of the wild ponies, but there were no bikes allowed for part of it and HOLY COW the mosquitos. Steve, being a runner, just ran, waving his arms in the air. I walked, but held my aerosol bug spray and just sprayed it in a circle around my entire body. It was intense. Saw a couple ponies… from very far away. Hi ponies. Bye ponies.
More biking, back to the main road, tired and more than a little hypoglycemic.
So it was time for Build Your Own Cookie.
I know. I know. You see that sign on the street and you cannot drive (bike) by. We’d actually already done a drive (bike) by around lunchtime and it hadn’t been open yet, so we were thrilled after a sunny, beachy, bike-y afternoon that it had opened.
The brilliant, simple concept:
Get a homemade cookie. Put some ice cream on top. Put some toppings on top of that. I KNOW.
Decorated with awesome recycled plastic!
Steve and I were indecisive and not in agreement over ice cream flavors (we really just take food too seriously. Well no that is not possible).
So we decided on just total decadence. Always a good choice :D
Behold: a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate peanut butter ice cream with hot fudge. And whipped cream and a cherry. And what she called a “gummi screwdriver”. Wow.
The nice thing about Steve is his appetite. I decided I wanted to only eat a tiny portion, and I accomplished this by simply pausing between bites. I did my pace and he did his and I ended up eating three or four bites. Perfect! :D
(Don’t worry Steve, if I really want half of something I’ll fight you for it).
Next: tropical drinks. That much sun and sweat, you want a nice chilled pina colada. Perfect: The Chincoteague Inn restaurant. Where the locals hang out.
Hard to beat sitting directly next to the pier and the water.
That guy on the left was hilarious- some Jamaican transplant who recommended the “seafood boats”, urged us to call in sick from work the following week, and offered to “help us out with anything we needed”. (Is that a euphemism for selling us something, perhaps?)
If you like pina coladas!
You know what I really like? OYSTERS!
Chincoteague oysters are sold all over the Chesapeake Bay area. They are happy little buggers, which I could tell because they were so delicious :D Steve tried to give me more than half (ice cream guilt?) which we then argued about for quite awhile (seriously, we take food SERIOUSLY). My half-half dozen was just the right amount, and totally sublime.
They had any number of deliciously indulgent sounding sides for entrees, but I was noble and got a salad (with bleu cheese- for some reason, I love ordering unhealthy salad dressing when I go out to eat. Wild, I know).
Straightforward and nice.
Which primed me for corn on the cob (my other side, totally excellent) and UNBELIEVABLE FRESH LOCAL SCALLOPS. Wowsa wowsa. Whole lotta Old Bay, whole lotta butter, broiled until unbelievably delicious. Isn’t that serving size UNREAL?! At restaurants in most places, you get like two! So awesome!
Steve got a club sandwich the size of his head. I enjoyed stealing his pickle.
A stroll around town in the moonlight capped off the evening nicely. Is there anything more heavenly than sitting on the dock of the bay
wasting time hanging out with a cute boy?
Well, yes, there is. Fresh ice cream.
Island Creamery is an institution. Witness the homemade waffle cones. Imagine the smell of this:
Oh yeah. Steve got one, filled with “Pony Tracks”. (This picture is blurry of the ice cream but captures the very nice ambiance of the patio. Win some lose some)
And I got a scoop of cherries jubilee the size of a wiffleball. Bliss.