Today we drove south from Richmond, through Newport News and the Virginia Beach area to get on the 23-mile bridge-tunnel crossing at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay that would connect us to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
From there, we headed north up the eastern seashore to Chincoteague Island.
It was cold and there was a thick cloud cover, so we checked in at Tom’s Cove and decided to stay in the RV for the night. We made tacos, the kids played a bit, and we added some new stickers to our map!
Today started out very chilly and stormy. We didn’t let it stop us from exploring Chincoteague Island National Seashore, but The Wind. Was. CRAZY.
There were some wild horses out, mindless to the wind and the rain.
We went to the visitor center so the kids could get their ranger books and we learned a little bit about the island from the park rangers. They had a touch tank with some sea creatures that they picked up right outside on the beach, including some horseshoe crabs.
We left the visitor center and went over to the Assateague lighthouse. From the parking lot, it’s a brief walk through some beautiful forest to get to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1867 and stands 142 feet high. We decided not to walk to the top today since it was so overcast and we knew the view wouldn’t be too great.
We’ve been talking about fresh seafood for weeks and we decided that now that we were on the coast, we needed to get some. And with the rain, there was really nothing to do but eat. A lot. Steamer’s ending up being the perfect place for a good, long meal!
Embarrassingly….I did eat 95% of this on my own.
It was such a great, casual restaurant. They roll out this brown craft paper and leave you with crayons, so the kids were entertained the whole time. And they have great local beers and so much seafood. My crab was legit. So, so, good!
Not that we had ANY room after that meal, but Steamers is directly next door to an amazing place that makes their own ice cream, and we couldn’t say no to that!
After dinner, we decided to head down to the beach to end our evening.
A wave got Charlotte, which she found hilarious… and then it didn’t matter because it started pouring rain on us!
And at that point, the kids decided there was no point in staying dry, and they were all in!
Today we went out to the Chincoteague visitor center so the kids could turn in their ranger books and get their badges for the Chincoteague/Assateague Island National Seashore.
Then we went over to the lighthouse once more since we had a beautiful sunny day and we walked all 175 steps to the top to take in the view.
We left Chincoteague to head north to the Maryland side of the island – Assateague National Seashore. However, you can’t drive straight up – you have to drive west and around to get there so it takes a bit. The drive is just beautiful.
We took the long road onto the island and the campground is right along the beach. Immediately, we saw our first wild horse.
Our camping spot was incredible! Just a sand berm away from the Atlantic!
Hungry for an early dinner, we took the truck up to explore Ocean City, MD just north of our campground. We found a very nice place on the marina called the Sunset Grille and ate outside, enjoying the beautiful weather!
Further north of the marina is the main strip of Ocean City, MD. It’s a far cry from the relaxing natural environment of Assateague. It is a tourist mecca with huge skyrise hotels, bars and restaurants, and a Jolly Roger amusement park.
But we just wanted to go back to our quiet, nearly private beach. When we returned to our RV, a whole family of horses were grazing on the grasses in the RV space next to ours.
It was magical.
We spent the rest of our evening on the beach.
No better way to end a night on the beach than with a campfire and s’mores!
Today we did nothing but bum out on the beach. We had some big city traveling ahead of us and we needed to store up our energy.
We pretty much had the beach to ourselves which was wonderful and amazing. The sand was perfect, the sun and the water were warm, and the only interruption we had all day were some horses that decided to wonder up and gallop with the waves.
Today we had to leave our wild horse beach wonderland, but it will be a place we return to whenever we are on the east coast.
We were north bound on our way up to Philadelphia. We first had to go through the Delmarva penninsula (Delaware – Maryland – Virginia)
Certain family members were especially excited about a driving day…
We stayed at the “South Philly” KOA, which was actually located in Clarksboro, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Philly. We had an uneventful afternoon, doing about 6 loads of laundry, then we drove out to the Jersey suburbs in the Deptford Township area for a Target and Old Navy run, followed by dinner at Outback steakhouse. Tomorrow we explore the historic city of Philadelphia!
Today we crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge from New Jersey into Pennsylvania and the old city of Philadelphia!
We parked at the city visitor center and got some lunch before heading out into the city. It is run by the National Park system so the kids got ranger books to work on before we headed to our first stop for the day – the Liberty Bell!
Inside the Liberty Bell Center, there were many informative displays that you walk through on your way to the back of the building, where the bell is proudly displayed with windows pointing out toward Independence Hall.
We walked around Independence Hall, but we couldn’t get inside until later that afternoon, so we took a self-guided walking tour of the city.
We walked historic original cobblestone streets alongside the first and second banks of the United States, museums, statues, and the 18th century gardens.
When we got hungry for lunch, we decided the historic City Tavern (Ben Franklin and George Washington’s favorite restaurant) was the perfect place to dine!
The City Tavern is an upscale restaurant modeled after the original 18th-century building which was frequented by the founding fathers of the United States. The original building was destroyed in a fire, but using the original plans, the building was reconstructed with 95% accuracy (the 5% difference being the addition of power and modern amenities in the kitchen). Many high profile events took place here, including the first anniversary celebration of the 4th of July. It is an immersive experience from the moment you walk in. The staff wears authentic period clothing and they don’t use power in the dining room – only candlelight. The menu consists of the original 18th century recipes, including Martha Washington’s chicken pot pie and famous signature beer recipes.
I had the salmon and Adam ordered steak and shrimp, while the kids raved about Martha’s pot pie. It was easily a top 3 meal of our entire trip!
After our amazing lunch/early dinner, we made our way back through the city.
We made it back to Independence Hall for the evening tour of where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution written.
After our tour, the kids completed their ranger books and we made it back to the visitor center right before they closed so they could get sworn in and receive their badges.
Then we walked over to the cemetary to see Ben Franklin’s grave.
We ended our day driving through the city as the sun set on the horizon.
Philly was just an appetizer for diving into city life because today we drove to New York City for a week in the Big Apple! We were excited as soon as the skyline came into view!
Technically, we didn’t stay on Manhattan, we stayed in Jersey City at the Liberty Harbor RV park, but we were just a few subway stops into the city, and we had a great skyline view of the city, as well as a view of the Statue of Liberty!
We spent the afternoon planning out our next week in the big city. Then we decided to head out to grab a bite in Jersey City. We had to stop just a few blocks from our RV park when we saw this memorial to 9/11.
We got out to take a few photos and a man approached us and offered to take our photo. He then proceeded to tell us his story about being there on that fateful day. It was very emotional for all of us, to be in the place where so many lives were lost.
We found this great street that was shut down to vehicle traffic for Friday night, with bars and restaurants and live music. We decided on Two Boots Pizza, which we read was an infusion of NOLA inspired Cajun food with pizza.
I tried the Bayou Beast, with andouille, crawfish, spiced shrimp, jalapeños and mozzarella. The place had great atmosphere with brick walls and 90s music playing, and the food was fantastic.
We walked around a bit after our late dinner before turning in, ready to dive in the next day and show the kids all of our favorite parts of beautiful New York City!