This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador for Toyota.
With August here, summer has picked up the pace and is racing by faster than ever. I’m trying to hold on to time before it appears in my rearview mirror and I’m left with memories. As a mom of a rising high school senior and college sophomore, the 18 summers I was once told we had was a lie. The time to create these summer memories feels like it’s already passed.
My kids have long outgrown half days of camp followed by afternoons spent at the pool. The unstructured days they once enjoyed now come with set schedules. Past summers have found us carving out time in between interning, working, volunteering, and embarking on international adventures with new friends. It’s not as easy to find time when our schedules align for us to be together, but this makes our summer vacations even more special.
A Summer Road Trip to Chincoteague
This summer we coordinated calendars to spend a week together in Chincoteague, Virginia, a small beach town with access to Assateague Island National Seashore. Chincoteague has always been our go-to for a relaxing vacation not too far from home. In fact, we liked visiting so much that we bought and renovated a vacation house there during the pandemic.
We’ve made many trips to Chincoteague over the past few years and even though the road was familiar, this trip was the same, yet also different. Instead of packing our beloved blue 2004 station wagon for a trip it had taken so many times, we turned on the ventilated front seats and settled into a 2023 Toyota Venza Limited AWD Hybrid for the drive ahead.
With just a couple taps, my daughter connected to Apple CarPlay. She set our destination on the 12” Multi-Information Display Screen then scrolled through the vibrant icons to find Spotify to play the recently released Speak Now.
Although we had navigation running to tell us when we’d arrive at our destination, we used local landmarks as trip milestones. We tried, as we always do, to remember to count the many bridges along our route.
We stopped for a caffeine at Rise Up, our favorite coffee shop, and at many farm stands along the way in search of ripe, local melons for the week ahead all while listening to Taylor Swift through the JBL speakers.
There’s something about driving across the Bay Bridge and south that’s transformative. While some drivers on the road speed by, the pace of life slows the farther you get from Washington, D.C. As we leave the mainland and cross the Causeway, I’ve always found the green marsh grass swaying gently in the breeze to have the most calming effect.
Turning right from the Causeway on to Main Street means that we’re almost home.
We pass the cute little shops downtown that have changed ever-so-slightly in all the years that we’ve been visiting. Farther down the road we always look left to look for the famous Chincoteague ponies who graze on the Carnival grounds. Then we’re home.
Making More Summer Memories
Smooth white rocks crunched under the tires of the Venza as I turned into the driveway. I put the car in park, opened the car door, and inhaled the smell of sea water and marsh mud, a scent that’s uniquely Chincoteague.
Chincoteague memories have become summer core memories. Our family has a whole list of things we must-dos while we’re in town.
Getting up early for egg coffees and croissants from Amarin to beat the crowds. Waiting in line at Island Creamery as many times as we want to get our fill of rotating flavors. Single scoop, two flavors, please!
Walking to the Carnival grounds to play 25 cent bingo and eat piping hot funnel cake that comes straight from the fryer.
Slipping under neighboring boat docks in kayaks or the canoe during sunset boat adventures. Paddleboarding when the water looks like glass. Canoeing to Shell Island (our name for a pile of shells just beyond our bulkhead) with the dogs who love to swim but hate it when the horse flies bite them.
Picking crabs on the porch and shucking oysters straight from the Tom’s Cove loading dock. Stuffing ourselves with overflowing platters of seafood from Ray’s Shanty for dinner or eating takeout from Captain Zack’s while watching the water.
Alternating between being lazy on the beach baking like lizards in the sun until we get too hot and have to go in the water. Claiming victory when a day at the beach means no gulls snatched the sandwiches we packed for lunch.
Sitting on the back porch enjoying the sunsets. All the sunsets!
While we have our favorite things that we always do in Chincoteague, we never know what new memories might be made during our next visit. It’s the opportunity to make new summer memories that I look forward to especially as another August appears in the rearview mirror.
Huge thanks to Toyota for lending us the 2023 Venza Limited AWD to create our summer memories and providing a gift card towards expenses. All experiences are my own and based on personal opinion.