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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Saturday, June 23, 2012

LillyBear's Adventures in Chincoteague

Have you ever read Marguerite Henry's book Misty of Chincoteague?  Or heard about the annual round up, swim, and auction of the wild horses of Assateague (the island across from Chincoteague island? Would you like to find out more about Chincoteague, Virginia?  Then read on!

About a month or so after Lilly passed away, my step-mom offered to let us stay at the cottage she owns and rents out by the week on Chincoteague.  I accepted thinking it would be a good thing for our family.  We were blessed to go and stay for a week, from June 9-June 16.

We decided to take LillyBear with us.  Little did I know at that moment just how fun, and comforting, that would turn out to be.  Here's LillyBear strapped in and ready for the trip!

After about a 5.5 hour drive, LillyBear was excited when we finally pulled up in front of the little cottage, known as the Sea 'Scape.  (You can read website info. on the Sea 'Scape here or watch a short video.  If you make a reservation and go I promise you won't be disappointed!)  The cottage was built about 1950 and is full of personality:

LillyBear loved the view from the front porch. That is Assateague island, right across the Assateague Channel:

After unloading and making and eating dinner (on the porch!), we needed some exercise.  So we headed down the road to Memorial Park.  LillyBear loved the wooden play ship:

Then we walked over to the docks and area along the Assateague Channel.  The view was beautiful:

H. talked to LillyBear about how he could not wait to visit the Assateague lighthouse, which they could see across the channel:

On Sunday we visited the Union Baptist Church.  (LillyBear did not actually go inside):

The day was very hot and humid, so an afternoon at the ocean was wonderfully refreshing.  (Ocean access is on Assateague - it's less than a 10 minute drive from the cottage. There is a charge for going onto the island - we bought a one week pass.)  LillyBear was up for boogie boarding and then a sun bath.  (We teased her about sunbathing since we are too busy playing and swimming to do that):

It was raining Tuesday morning so we headed to the Herbert H. Bateman Education Center on Assateague.  It was full of interesting exhibits and short movies. (We watched one about the ponies of Assateague).  LillyBear showed us she loves to learn:

When we left the education center, we found that the rain had stopped.  So we decided to go see the lighthouse.  However the rainy weather meant the mosquitoes were out in insane numbers!  I don't recall EVER having seen such swarms of mosquitoes!  They were like clouds around us, in spite of all the bug spray we had on.  LillyBear was the only one of us not to get bites.  We started off on the path to the lighthouse at a fast walk but soon were RUNNING to get there.

We blasted into the entrance to the lighthouse thankful to be free of the mosquitoes and their awful buzzing noises.  After paying admission we began the climb up 175 steps to the top of the lighthouse.

T. was snapping pictures and H. was so excited he climbed the whole way himself. (He's 3 years old.) I was wondering if I would make it because when I'm pregnant stairs just leave me incredibly winded. But I climbed these just fine. They were, of course, circular and there were several landings to take a break on.  Finally we made it to the top!  A volunteer handed T. and H. both a sticker to show their accomplishment.  He wouldn't give LillyBear one until I explained that she represented our real Lilly, who was living in heaven.  He quickly gave us a sticker for her then!  She proudly wore it as I took her picture by the door which led to the outside balcony of the lighthouse.

The view out that door was beautiful!  And it was so windy I found myself not wanting to get too close to the rail.

That afternoon, we went to the Tom's Cove visitor center.  (On Assateague.)  This was a very fun hands on little center.  LillyBear watched as the kids and my husband picked up hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs from a large tank.  T. and H. even got to feed the horseshoe crabs which was quite interesting. 

There was also an area where you could pick up things and identify them:

Outside the visitor's center is a lovely boardwalk down to the sandy parking lot by the beach.  We saw a lot of red winged blackbirds, and a rabbit along the way.

On Wednesday we went to the Chincoteague Pony Centre and Gift Shoppe.  The ponies were descendants of the real Misty!

The Centre offers pony rides and has a nighttime horseshoe.  (We didn't do either of those activities.)  The Gift Shoppe was very large and had a lot of really nice, quality things.  We enjoyed browsing.  LillyBear and I liked this doll best so I took her picture to remember her:

Next we headed to Main Street and saw the statute of Misty.  Misty was surrounded by sticker bushes, much to LillyBear's disappointment.  She had wanted to sit on Misty's back:

Across the road is an old movie theatre, and when the Misty of Chincoteague movie was shown, the real Misty left her hoofprints in the cement:

Next we drove by the Beebee ranch, where Misty had lived part of her life. It is no longer open to the public. 

On the way back to the cottage for lunch, we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce.  We picked up some good information and got free stickers.  During the afternoon, we went to the beach.  It was quite windy though, so LillyBear elected to stay back at the cottage and relax.  (I so wish I had room for a church pew in our home!  Maybe in our next home.  M-J please save one for me!)

On Thursday we visited the Museum of Chincoteague Island.  We all really enjoyed the exhibits.  T. took part in a scavenger hunt which made it more interesting.  H. liked the lighthouse related things best.  (They have a Fresnel lens among the lighthouse goodies.)  T. liked seeing the real stuffed Misty and her foal Stormy.  (Misty is the lighter colored horse.)  LillyBear was excited for a chance to pose with them:

During the afternoon, we took a one hour narrated trolley ride around Chincoteague.  The island is not big (I think it is @ 7 miles long) but there was a lot of interesting things to hear about.  LillyBear is like the rest of us, and loves history:

Next was the Captain Timothy Hill house, the oldest house on Chincoteague.  (Circa 1800.)  Unfortunately it closed shortly before we arrived. But LillyBear and I peeked in the windows anyway.  It is furnished in period items inside and looks very interesting.

Continuing back down Main Street, we made a quick stop into the carnival grounds, where the pony auctions are held each July.  LillyBear posed by the famous horse statue by the entrance:

On Friday we browsed through several used bookstores.  I have always loved books and now that I have children, am always on the lookout for Good Books to use for homeschooling.  ("Twaddle Free" books as Charlotte Mason called them!)

During the afternoon, as we drove onto Assateague, we were THRILLED to finally be able to see the wild ponies close up, instead of just way in the distance! 

That evening, we drove the Wildlife Loop on Assateague. It is about 3 miles long, and opens to cars as 3:00 p.m.  (It's only open to walkers and bike riders before that.)  We saw all kinds of birds, but not much else, at the time we drove through.

Saturday it was time to pack up and drive home to North Carolina.  I did wonder if anyone had noticed a crazy lady going around taking pictures of a stuffed bear everywhere! 

LillyBear wanted one last look at the causeway as we left Chincoteague:

Thus concluded a really good trip!  I think we all needed it.  If you're wondering, we were not there during the pony round up and penning week.  And since this blog post turned out so long, I did not go into any more details here.  But it is something that T. and I went to several years ago, and if there is any interest from anyone reading this, just let me know and I can post some pictures from it.

One thing we commented on to each other about a lot on our trip was just how amazing God is in how many many creatures He created!  And what beauty surrounds us, if only we stop to really look.  Thank you God!  :)


  1. That is so neat to take Lilly Bear along! I never thought to do that! Great idea! Praying for you!

  2. What a great idea! I just know that Lilly was there with you, loving every minute of it! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  3. Awwwww looks like so much fun. Great idea!

  4. so glad you all were able to get away and relax and have a change of scenery. you seemed refreshed when you returned.

  5. im so excited to go this summer! any one else?