Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Eric!!!

Guess what everyone!!  Tomorrow is Eric's birthday (May 20th)!!!  In honor of this, we took a trip out to Virginia's Eastern Shore today para ver e conhecer o que fica lá!  (Look at all that learning.)  It took forever to get there.  FOREVER.  The interweb said it would be 3 hours 45 minutes, but it was more...much more.  Anyway, after approximately 8 million hours in the car we finally made it to famed Chincoteague Island!  This island is famous for its heard of wild ponies and annual pony immortalized in the children's book Misty of Chincoteague. 

Um, something is wrong here.  There is no way we are flying over the ocean right now.

Finally, we made it safely over the many bridges and causeways that connect this island to mainland Virginia.

After an amazing lunch of seafood and sweet potato fries (the area is apparently a major sweet potato growing area.  Who knew??), we set off for an adventure in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We happily parked the car and burst forth to enjoy the first walking trail we could find.  This tree appears to have been struck by lightning.

A view into the marshes...

As you can imagine this swampy place was FULL of mosquitoes (and ticks, we found out much later...).  For some reason we were not anticipating this.

Look, it's a Monarch Butterfly!!  Hey, I saw your fore bearers chillin' in a forest in Mexico earlier this year!!

GIANT thistle flower.

Sweeping view across the swamp.

More colorful swamp-scapes.

Toward the end of our swamp walk we came across this turtle with a psychedelic head catching some rays.

A stand of creepy swamp trees.

After our walk, and 16 good sized mosquito bites later, we decided to enjoy some of the island's car loops.  Here Park Rangers had assembled to ensure the safety of this snapping turtle while he crossed the road.  The turtle bloqueo was successful, and he made it to the other side, fear not!

 The swamp is such a surprise with all of its intense colors.


Here is the Assateague Light House, still in use!

It was very exciting that we got to see these ponies. These are some of the famous wild ponies, like Misty!!

We also saw this giant bird.  (Neat.)

Continuing down the loop, we finally made it to the ocean!

This sign almost made me cry.  I love my kite.  It's called the Dark Star and has two kite strings for double the kiting fun.  I brought it all the way from NoVA in order to enjoy some beach kiting.  The wind was perfect for it.  What kind of mean-spirited park has all of the conditions for good kiting, then says "No Kites".  Boo.

Fun with shadows!

It was crazy windy here, but nice to stand in front of the surf and smell the salt.  I wish I had a lawn chair to sit in for a good part of the afternoon.

After our park fun, we decided to hit the mini-golf course like a couple of bosses.  This was a fun jungle safari themed course.  At one point, the course owner started chasing a toad around to get as a pet for his daughter.  She immediately smashed it (not killed it, just held it immobile) in her pink sparkle sticker album.  Awesome.

Here is Eric, grand champion of mini-golf for the day, carefully planning his next shot.

This is a piece of Smith Island cake, a special cake from (surprise!) Smith Island, MD, one of only 2 populated islands in the Chesapeake Bay.  It is the official state dessert of Maryland.  I enjoyed this coconut version very much!

Eric had a great birthday trip, aside from the sketchy hotel we stayed in and the bug bites.  Only 16 weeks left until our lives turn upside down, so stay tuned for more excitement while there's still time!!  :)

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