~ Small Town America ~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Comments on the new Chincoteague Island page

~~~ by Craig Banks

Chincoteague Island is the largest town on Virginia's eastern shore. Like Wachapreague and other waterfront towns, Chincoteague has a history deeply connected with the waters of the Atlantic. First settled around 1700, the principal industry was commercial fishing, especially oystering. Later a poultry industry thrived.

In March of 1962, storm waters flooded the island, impacting property and industry in the small town. Many of the downtown buildings were damaged or destroyed. The residents repaired the damage but the poultry industry never rebounded from the disaster.

Chincoteague Island is perhaps best known for it's ponies. Marguerite Henry's bestselling book "Misty of Chincoteague" introduced the world to the wild ponies of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. According to legend the herd descended from horses shipwrecked when a Spanish galleon sank off the coast of this close knit island town.

Chincoteague is well known for it's fishing opportunities. Many vacationers try their hand at the sport, and some anglers come to the island specifically to fish the local waters. Anglers may target flounder, croakers and other inshore fish, or perhaps experience deep sea fishing for tuna, sharks, billfish and other big game fish.

The tourism industry is booming in this small town. The combination of attractions include Chincoteague Island Wildlife Refuge, the Assateague Lighthouse, the pristine beaches of Assateague Island, the wild ponies, annual pony swim, firemans carnival and more.

The island is currently in a state of flux, as growth affects the island similar to the rest of the eastern shore. Real estate there has become very expensive, which has closed some businesses and created opportunities for new ventures. Many of the small properties have been acquired and the current trend leans towards construction of waterfront condominiums.

The changes on the island reflect it's evolution from a quiet fishing village to a well known vacation attraction. Fish houses are becoming seafood restaurants, old homes turn to beds and breakfasts, and stores now line the main street offering a wide variety of artwork, foods, clothing and gifts.

Much more information about Chincoteague Island Virginia is available at www.chincoteague-island.net.


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