Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ocean City Beach Trip - Day 4

We woke up Saturday to another beautiful sunny day, BUT about 20 degrees cooler than the previous 3 days.  We knew it would be nice enough to spend time outside, but also knew that it would probably not be a great beach day.  So, we planned a side trip to Assateague Island, which is about 30 minutes from Ocean City, and is famous for their wild ponies!  Yes, wild horses roaming around on a beautiful barrier island.  

Our first stop... the visitor center.  

I was really impressed with the little center.  It had a few small exhibits to explain the history of the island, a few aquarium tanks, and a movie theater which showed the history of the island.  I knew absolutely nothing about the island except that wild horses roamed freely, so it was interesting to learn a bit about how Assateague was very close to being developed before mother nature stepped in and changed all the development plans.  We watched the short 10 minute film, which ended with a statement about how Assateague is the only undeveloped barrier island from NJ to NC, which is both amazing and scary.  

My little rangers in training
Had to re-do the picture once we realized that props were available!!

Is there a height requirement to be a park ranger because 5'4 doesn't seem to cut it?!?!
We grabbed a map from the center and headed over the short bridge to the island and instantly saw two horses!!!  So crazy to see beautiful horses just standing on the side of the road munching away at the grass.

There are strict rules about getting too close to the horses, fines for feeding them, etc.  But that didn't seem to stop people from just parking their cars on the side of the road and watching them from their cars or even getting out of the cars.  The horses didn't seem too bothered by the people or the cars.  Tons of people were camping on the island, biking around, crabbing or just exploring (like us).  

We parked and got out of the car to walk around a bit on one of the beaches.  The wind was crazy, as predicted, but it was even more intense out on the barrier island.  We were happy to have on our sweatshirts and jeans!

Georgia collected a whole bucket of shells.  I've never seen shells like the ones on the island - huge big whole clam and cockle shells the size of my hand.  She found quahogs, oyster shells, and more.  Lots of them had beautiful purple edges, so Georgia spent a good chunk of time running from pile to pile trying to find the brightest and biggest shells.

We didn't spot any wild horses on the beach, but we managed to follow a group of kite surfers who were in the water zooming down the length of the island.

We hopped into the car to drive down to the next beach/camping area, but didn't make it far before we discovered lots and lots and lots of horses!

Imagine opening the door to your camper in the AM and having wild horses surrounding you?!?!

How did the horse get to the other side of the road?  He just walked right in front of us!

I certainly can't complain about the weather considering that May has been absolutely horrendous this year.  All rain.  So, a sunny day was more than welcome.  BUT, I wish it had been a tad bit warmer.  Or at least, less windy.  We got out of the car a few more times, but Georgia was cold and we didn't "do" much since it was so windy.  I'd love to go back and get a chance to explore the tidal flats, go crabbing/fishing, or take a kayak out.  We watched a few people try to launch a kayak and just kept getting pushed back because of the wind.  The area reminded me a lot of Cape Cod.

Watching the crabs under the bridge

We came to the island to find horses and as we drove back over the bridge, Georgia said that we spotted 25+ different horses (she was keeping count the entire time).

On our drive back to Ocean City, we did spot this little gem on the side of the road.  Of course, I made Nick pull over immediately!

Photo by Georgia!
One little problem with leaving Ocean City on a Saturday... we couldn't make it back!  We hit a ton of traffic trying to get back onto the island, so we used WAZE to find an alternative route.  It was a tad bit longer, but Grant was sleeping, so it all worked out.  Even when we got back to Coastal Highway, it was obvious that a TON of new people/cars had rolled into town for the big car convention.  We headed back to the condo for a quick change and then decided to head north to Bethany Beach in Delaware (about 15 minutes away) for dinner instead of braving the strip to go back south to the boardwalk area. 

We enjoyed a quiet pizza dinner at Grotto's in Bethany.  Oh the taste of Grotto's.  It was vaguely familiar.  I think most of the time, I've consumed it at 2am or later after the bars closed in Dewey Beach back in the day.  I read a ton of nut allergy reviews of Grotto's since they use peanut oil for all their fried food, but enough locals claimed to eat there with their peanut/tree nut allergy kiddos since the pizza area is safe.  I may have held my breath a bit for her first few bites, but Georgia ate it with no issues.

After dinner, we explored the Bethany Boardwalk a bit.  Georgia managed to spend roughly $3,000 dollars to earn enough tickets to buy a $1 water gun manufactured in Taiwan (I kid...slightly).  

After games, we headed back to Ocean City and watched the Preakness race back in the condo before Georgia and Nick headed back downstairs to do some night swimming in the indoor pool while Grant and I did laundry and organized.  It was so nice to stay at a place with laundry in the unit!  I was able to pack us up with 99% clean clothes to head home the following morning.  

Overall, we had an amazing stay in Ocean City and I highly recommend both the unit we rented in The Capri, as well as the building itself.  We loved having the indoor pool and used it everyday, even when the weather was beautiful out on the beach.  It was nice to be at the shore before Memorial Day since it was (mostly) quiet and we didn't have to wait in lines or horrible traffic to get around most days.  

We were up early on Sunday to pack up the car, clean the unit and prep for the drive back home.  We needed to be out of the unit by 10am, which wasn't an issue with Grant being our alarm clock.  With Sunday traffic, it took about 4 hours to get back across the bridge and get home.  The good news about getting home early is that we were able to unpack, grocery shop, and prep for Monday morning since we had most of Sunday afternoon.  Georgia couldn't ditch us fast enough and we barely parked the car before she was off playing with the neighbors.

Successful vacation - Grant's 1st trip to the beach and Georgia/Grant's first visit to Ocean City!  We'll be back...

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