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RUNNING WITH THE PONIES
AT CHINOTEAGUE ISLAND

JULY 26-30, 2022

An island getaway is always what the doctor ordered. Join Champlain Tours on a fanciful trip to the coast like no other! Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in Virginia are the setting for childhood classic, Misty of Chincoteague written by Marguerite Henry. Whether you’ve always wanted to see the famed “Salt Water Cowboys” or you’re dying for some VA Salt Oysters, this is the perfect trip for you. Take a private boat cruise through the wildlife center, visit the Wallops NASA launch center, and get immersed in the rich history at all the local museums. Travel in style on vintage trolleys around the island, grab a cold beer at the local brewery and relax on the beach. These islands have it all!

 

This guided tour is the perfect island getaway, complete with beaches, horses, views to die for and fresh seafood. Chincoteague Island is a must – it truly is a hidden gem.

Once in a lifetime chance to watch the famed saltwater cowboys guide the ponies in a swim across the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague Island.

 

Personalized tours and access to local attractions

Reservations at the islands most savory and satisfying local restaurants

Deluxe accommodations in direct proximity to the coast and town.

INCLUDED:

• 4 Nights accommodations

  • Luxurious motor coach

• 4 Breakfasts

•3 Dinners

• Access and transportation to the annual Pony Swim from Assateague to Chincoteague Island

• Visit to the iconic “Love Chairs”

• Visit Chincoteague Island Museum

• Visitor Center at Assateague Island

• Wallops NASA facility and launch site private tour

• Sunset champagne tour of Chincoteague and Assateague Island

• Chincoteague annual carnival (occurs nightly)

• Annual Pony Auction 

• Chincoteague Bay Field Station tour

• Assateague Refuge Trek Bus Tour

• Tour of Batemans Education Center

• Tour of Assateague Lighthouses and visitor center

• Multi-island Island tour via boat to see wildlife, landscapes and local flora and fauna

• Free time to explore the islands, beach, shopping, carnival and local activities

• Pony swim back to Assateague

• Taxes and gratuities (NOTE: Gratuities for the coach driver and local guides are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)

NOT INCLUDED:

• Gratuities (tour manager, bus driver, local guides)

• Optional Travel Insurance

• Transportation for any purchased animals back to Vermont! (yes, really)

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ITINERARY

DAY 1 (TUESDAY)

Pull out your camera as cross the causeway onto the island of Chincoteague, Virginia! You will be met with warm sunshine, salty air and excitement galore! The motorcoach will be bring you directly to your accommodations where you will check in and have time in the afternoon to get acquainted with this fantastic town. Explore the local retail, grab a beer at the local brewery, see the original Misty’s hoofprints in the cement, shop in the historic shopping district or take a walk on the beach! Keep your eyes peeled! You never know when a pony might wander up to you looking for a snack or a head scratch!

You will feel the town buzzing with excitement as preparations are made for the annual Pony Penning Day festivities! Make sure to make it back to the hotel with enough time to take a trolley ride off to the welcome dinner at a local legend! Don’t forget to sample the Smith’s Island cake for dessert – it’s a local delicacy!

After dinner feel free to explore! Most sites are within walking or a 10-cent trolley ride to any in island destination. Make sure you get to bed early, you will need to be up before the sun to grab a perfect spot for viewing the famous Salt-Water Cowboys swim the heard of ponies from Assateague to Chincoteague Islands. Pack your bag so you are ready to head out early and wait for slack tide for the festivities to commence! The sound of the sea will surely lull you off to dream land when you rest your head – wish visions of ponies dancing in your head!

DAY 2 (WEDNESDAY)

Breakfast will be on the go and prepared ahead of time for those of you who chose to venture out early in the hopes of a coveted spot for viewing the ponies make their swim. Pack your sunscreen and bug spray! The town will be stirring with excitement as spectators get into place near Veteran’s Memorial Park to see the ponies swim across the channel at slack tide (low tide in the early AM). Once arrived at Chincoteague, the horses have about an hour to catch their breath and acclimate themselves before the cowboys herd them in a parade through the town to the fairgrounds where they will stay overnight until the auction the following morning. Visitors can roam the ponies and check out their characteristics and pick their favorites!

You will have lunch on your own in town at one of the many restaurants and sandwich shops. You will have time to explore. The small movie theater will have daily showings of the Misty of Chincoteague film. Some locally owned ponies will be carted into the downtown so you can visit close up and pet ponies. If you’re lucky you may meet one of Misty’s descendants. All the souvenir shops sell Penning Week and Misty related mementos. Make sure to stop by the famous “LOVE” Chairs for a photo opportunity!

After refreshing or napping at the hotel, plan to congregate to head out for group dinner. You will have lots to talk about from your day!  After dinner, if you have the itch for more fun - attend the carnival at the Chincoteague Fairgrounds. Enjoy games, rides, music, and traditional carnival food as the sun sets. If you’re too tired, don’t worry, the carnival is nightly while we're here.

DAY 3 (THURSDAY)

This morning, after a restful sleep, you will have time to enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out on the beach. The second cup will have to wait though because it’s important to get to the pony auction early! If you’d like to bid on a pony, there are a few different ways you might do this. Ponies can range from $500-$1000+ Anyone can bid on a pony just by raising a hand, however, you must have pre-planned pony transport if you get one. If you’re not ready to commit to raising a pony, but would like to donate towards a bid, the Feather Fund purchases ponies each year for young applicants who have shown a desire to learn life lessons through ownership and care of a pony. Watch as each of the horses are marched in front of the bleachers where people young and old wait patiently for the pony they chose ahead of time to be up for auction! Excitement is high as bids fly and the caller shouts numbers. Whether you plan to shop or watch, it’s an exciting morning!

Whether you watch the entire auction or only a couple horses, you will have time to enjoy a local lunch. After lunch on your own, we will congregate at the Chincoteague Island Museum where the full-size replicas of real-life Misty of Chincoteague and her foal Stormy, reside. It’s chock full of local history including the ponies as well as the salt oysters that Virginia is famous for!

After the museum, we will “launch” over to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA where we will visit the launch center and get a private guided tour. The Wallops overview includes the Balloon Program Office which is a visit to the laboratory that tests and develops new materials and technologies for scientific balloon research. Next, stop at the Aircraft Hangar and get a tour of the hangar with a NASA pilot. We will stop by the Range Control Center where we will be able to go behind the scenes and see where launches are controlled. After stopping by the Observation Deck we will head out on the Wallops Island Driving Tour which is a scenic drive around the Island Base where the launch pads are located at Wallops Flight Facility.

Dinner will be on your own, so make sure to peruse suggestions or head over to the spot you’ve been eyeing the last few days. Indulge – you deserve it! After dinner, cruise around town, play mini golf or shop. The carnival is also open this evening from 7-10pm as well.

Finish the evening with ice cream from Island Creamery for a delicious treat! With flavors like “Snickers Cheesecake, Pony Tracks and Marsh Mud”, as well as a host of additional seasonal flavors, there is something sure to tickle your tastebuds. Don’t worry, calories don’t count here on Chincoteague!

DAY 4 (FRIDAY)

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty, relaxed breakfast, take the morning to go to the beach, rent a bike or a kayak depending on your level of adventure desired. Stop by the sandy Pony Donut shop for a mid-morning snack! This famous spot is recognized for their “Porky Pony, Misty Mint, Sea Foam, and Pony Party: there is sure to be a flavor that will tickle your tastebuds!

Around 11, if you’re interested, find a good spot to watch the return swim of the ponies. The return swim is less popular, and therefore a less crowded event. If you’re lucky you may be able to find a closer viewing point on Pony Swim Lane than from the park, but again get there early. This event is worth watching because the ponies are excited to return home!

After the return swim is complete, we will indulge in a lunch of fresh local fare. After lunch, we will follow the ponies back home by making our way over to Assateague island. Now that the unsold ponies are back on the Island, the best way to see them is from the water. We will take an afternoon/evening boat tour around where our local guide will point out dolphins, birds, and individual ponies and their names and histories. The smooth waters between the barrier islands of Assateague and Chincoteague are perfect to enjoy the scenery & various wildlife. The sightseeing tour take you in comfort through some of Assateague and Chincoteague’s most spectacular scenery including its famous lighthouse. Jump aboard and head across to nearby Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to ponies, plan to encounter bald eagles, dolphins, shorebirds and other wildlife.

After docking, we will stop by the Tom’s Cove Visitor Center to check out the center and meet some creatures close up at the “touch tank” aquarium inside. We will be met by a ranger who will share some history and information as well as lead us in an activity that help develop understanding of this coastal island while visiting Assateague Island.

We will then head back to Chincoteague where you can relax and refresh in your hotel before our farewell dinner! It’s been a jam-packed adventure and this final meal will be our chance to share those photos, memories, and stories we’ve collected! Now, you can check this off your bucket list!

While you visit, we’re sure you will feel life family, and we know you won’t want to leave the friendliest little town in the US! Luckily you can bring little (or large!) souvenirs home to remember the trip and the experience. Or join us for this trip again next year.

PRICING  PER PERSON

$1,899

PER PERSON

QUAD

(Group of four)

$1,999

PER PERSON

TRIPLE

(Group of three)

$2,299

PER PERSON

DOUBLE

(Group of two)

$2,699

SINGLE

*20% deposit at booking. | *3% credit card convenience fee | balance due June 6, 2022

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY

STEP

1

BOOK YOUR
TRIP

You will receive a letter of confirmation within one week.

STEP

2

GET YOUR TRIP DETAILS

Receive your travel packet with all your travel details 1-2 weeks prior to departure.

STEP

3

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Contact us at any time. We are always happy to speak with you.

STEP

4

ENJOY YOUR TRIP

Relax and enjoy your stress-free travel!