Our first destination was the town of Oyster on the ocean side of the peninsula. We do not have any detailed maps of the Eastern Shore; neither in the Virginia highway map or the map in the Eastern Shore guide. After making a couple of guesses, we drove into a small settlement on the water. We parked by the water and in a little while a local drove up and parked nearby. I walked over and asked if this was Oyster and he said it was. I mentioned that I had met someone from there named Hardtimes Hunt. He pointed out a house and said it was his. He had since passed away but his son was still there. He had a very heavy accent and it was a little hard to make out what he was saying. I had not heard that accent before, but I assumed it was the local one.
Following our usual inclinations, we didn't go back to the main highway (13) but took a back road that headed north. The countryside here is mostly farming, lots of soybeans and some impressive tomato fields that were being picked. At one point Jean spotted a sign for a bird and wildlife viewing trail, and we turned off. The road got narrower and went into deep woods. Just before the end (where the birding trail began) we spotted a sign proclaiming "Office." We wondered what kind of office there would be way back here in the woods, so we turned around and followed the dirt road a short distance. We ended up in a parking area with a couple of cars in front of a substantial building set in a neat lawn.
It turned out to be the Eastern Shore office of the Nature Conservancy. We went inside and had an interesting conversation with a man who told us about the area that they control, and also gave us some useful local information to supplement our inadequate maps
Leaving there, we went in search of a fairly remote campground called Virginia Landing that we found on one of our campground apps but not the other. After driving for quite a while, we ended up about a mile from the Conservancy office --- as the gull flies, but a long way if he has to walk. The campground was (or perhaps is, it wasn't clear) a unit of the Thousand Trails campground membership club (an expensive bunch) but we would be able to stay there if we wanted. After getting a lot of information, we decided to move on since it was still early in the day.
Our next task was to find some diesel since we were getting low. The ranger at the campground gave us directions to the nearest gas station and we were off again.
By now it was early afternoon and we were getting hungry. So we set a course for Wachapreague, where Jean had been once several years ago. There we went back to a restaurant where she had eaten before and had a nice (and filling) meal out on the deck overlooking the marsh with the barrier islands in the distance.
|The view from the deck|
We walked around Wachapreague a little, but there really isn't much there unless you are a fisherman, so we headed for Onancock.
Gene had been in Onancock several times before --- generally on a boat. We got information about the ferry to Tangier Island and after some discussion decided the cost was more than we were interested in. We walked around downtown Onancock (all two blocks of it) but it was late and many of the places were closed. This is a larger town than Cape Charles and not so much dependent on tourism, so there were mostly normal businesses. We stopped at a bakery and got some cinnamon pastries for breakfast, then went back out to the highway and found the local Walmart. We needed to do some shopping, both in the grocery and the pharmacy section.
Our campground apps did not show any campgrounds near Onancock and we didn't want to go all the way back to Virginia Landing so we settled in for the night on the quiet back side of Walmart. We will be dry camping tonight. Who knows what adventures await us tomorrow?