Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Say Work Trip, I Say Vacation!

We are just back from Chincoteague, Virginia where we spent a truly delightful four days; six if you include the driving time. It's about 460 miles from home, which took us about 10 hours on the way down and about nine on the way back. That means six days away from home, four of which we spent living it up.
Mr. W and I have always gone over the Tappan Zee Bridge into New York. We've been to Washington, DC, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania... we NEVER get on route 95 until we're well past New York. This time, however, we had a change of heart. The GPS was nagging us, and traffic in Hartford at route 84 was heinous. We tossed the dice, and kept heading south; through Hartford, Stamford, on down into the Bronx and across the George Washington Bridge. What a mistake! We sat for at least an hour in barely rolling traffic on 95 in CT - tree work, for the most part, impeding our progress. You'd think an hour more or less would not be a big deal, but when it's spent rolling along at a snail's pace, it matters. By the time we arrived in Chincoteague we were wiped out.

We checked into our favorite - the Hampton Inn. We have a Hampton problem, and not just because of the points cards. The consistency and comfort appeal to us. Hampton is right in the middle of things - competitive prices with comfortable, clean rooms. And this particular one gave us a peaceful and comfortable view of the channel.

Best of all, SoXperience happens there! SoXperience is a weekend retreat on Chincoteague Island. This year, I was honored to be teaching for Caroline Hershey and Melissa Abbott of Carodan Farm. We'd decided on a one-day work shop for Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, with bookends - on Friday, a presentation about what goes in to writing a book, and on Sunday, a refresher of the previous days' class with an introduction to 2-at-a-Time top down socks.

Mr. W and I had a lovely dinner at a place called Etta's Channelside on Thursday night before we crashed in a heap of sleepy-old-person.
Gene had scallops and I had rockfish - it's what we know as striped bass, or striper. The fish (both scallops and striper) was perfectly prepared, and heaven knows it's hard to get fish right!

On Friday, rain was predicted. Biking and hiking were out, so we headed south to Melfa, VA and the Blue Crab Bay Company. I have a serious addiction to their Sting Ray mixer, seafood seasonings, and their spicy peanuts. It's bad. Really, really bad. But I love it! We stopped in at the Blue Crow Antique Mall in Keller, VA. I snagged a super-cute, up-cycled picture frame for Girl and Gerbil, and an antique glass juicer for myself. I have coveted glass juicers for so long but always hesitated. This one grabbed me and I had to have it. I think it may be uranium glass. Mr. W, the nuclear spouse, and me with a radioactive juicer.

After our shopping venture down the Delmarva, we headed to Carodan Farm to meet Caroline. I was worried that she'd think I was an illusion if I failed to introduce myself. I am most of the time not an illusion. Her shop is lovely - high ceilings, perfect lighting, and a large assortment of her brilliantly dyed Chincoteague Colors yarn displayed right inside the door. Did I buy some? Of COURSE!
I bought two skeins of Channel Collection in colorway Dusk on Chincoteague, and one of Cove Collection in colorway Trumpet Vine. I would have bought more, but the presence of Mr. W restrained me. Under normal circumstances I'd be spending what I earned before I'd earned it. Now that they're home, what will they be? Time will tell!

On Saturday we had an amazing class - Caroline's students are wonderful. They were engaged and ready to learn, and welcoming of a new face in their crowd. I'd love to teach them again. Sunday's review and introduction to top down 2-at-a-Time went well in spite of the students' wandering eyes and minds and hearts. The last day of a retreat can be hard - people are itching to leave, but yearning to make those last-minute connections with their friends, old and new. But I have a job to do, and so I dragged them right on through casting on for knitting two at a time in spite of themselves! (I WIN!!!)

Once the students headed out, it was playtime for Mr. W and me. On Sunday we grabbed lunch at Sea Star (if you're on the island you MUST go there!) and then we biked to Assateague, rode on various bike paths, then headed "home" for a "swim" in the "pool". (Puddle. Pool. It's all the same when you're looking for a dip, right...? The pool is TINY for a lap swimmer. Painful almost!) Monday looked much the same, with island pony chasing, but never really finding, and a swim.
When we were packing up the bikes in the parking lot on Assateague after our last ride? PONIES APPEARED!
From nowhere! Ponies, right there, mere inches away from us!
Now comes the best part - here's our weekend in pictures:
 Assateague near Tom's Cove - You wish you were here!
 A Winsome Shell
 Shore Birds (Non-Jersey Variety)
 Mr. W. and Shorebirds
 Assateague Lighthouse
 Pony mare and foal
 Pony Overlook. No ponies, but poop aplenty!
 End of the Bivalve Trail on the Assateague Woodland Loop
Someone left a heart behind. Mr. W. made it all about MMO. Smart man, really.
I have a serious shell problem.
Horseshoe Crab, borrowing at Swan's Cove. Had to be eleven inches across; biggest I've ever seen.
Dances With Waves (aka Mr. W. trying to retrieve a conch shell from the incoming Atlantic)
Tradition dictates feet in the water.
 Parking Lot Pony gets a drink
 Parking Lot Ponies head for Pony Overlook.

Can we go back now?
I love home, but I am going to miss Chincoteague. What a wonderful spot, and a wonderful weekend!


Nancy Jo said...

From someone who was in the class, It was a great weekend. The weather was beautiful and the classes were great. Thanks for the instructions and for sharing your pictures. Nancy Jo

Cathy E said...

I need to check out this event. It's not too far for me and I love that area of the country. Will you be teaching again next year?

Kayten said...

My first husband and I went to Chincoteague for our honeymoon, arriving a day or two after Misty passed away. We managed to find the farm and saw Sea Star and Stormy, though the owners were away, we were told, having Misty taxidermied. I've always wanted to go back.