Thanksgiving On Eastern Shores

Assateague State Park, Maryland

As much as I love to cook, the idea of having someone else prepare Thanksgiving dinner has become more and more appealing these past few years. My mom and I reprised our trip from the previous Thanksgiving (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) and headed out to Rehoboth Beach, DE early Thursday morning. 

On January 27, 1873, the “Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church” was incorporated by the Delaware legislature for the purpose of establishing a “permanent camp meeting ground and Christian sea-side resort.”

~ Historical Marker on Rehoboth Avenue

While Rehoboth is no longer a predominantly Christian town, many small white-steepled churches dot the landscape along the 2 1/2 hour drive from DC to the shore. 

We arrived at the Atlantic Sands Hotel to check in, with an hour to spare before our “dinner” reservations at 2:30 at the Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant in Lewes, just 20 minutes north on Rt 1. Dinner was as wonderful as we’d remembered it from the previous year. And, I stuffed myself painfully silly with turkey, ham, homemade mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, oysters, shrimp, and pie. 

We returned to the hotel to watch the Redskins play the Cowboys, and as a Redskins fan, it was a disappointing game. However, as a Redskins fan, I’ve also grown accustomed to that feeling. 

However, I was soon feeling better as I watched the full moon rise over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Even if it was a very, very cold evening. Temperatures were in the 20s Fahrenheit and very windy. 

The Atlantic Sands Hotel

Friday, the ponies, oh, the ponies.

At the very top of the map above is our starting point for our Friday adventure. We drove down the infamous US Route 1 until just north of Ocean City, where we had to jump over to US 113 to access the northernmost point of Assateague Island; a 37-mile barrier island, with two-thirds in Maryland, and the remaining third, also known as Chincoteague, in Virginia.

US Route 1 is considered the first interstate highway in the United States. 

It runs 2,369 miles (3,813 km), from Key West, Florida north to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canada–US border, making it the longest north-south road in the United States.

~ Wikipedia

We explored Assateague, and then decided, why not drive down to Chincoteague? Now, while it looks like a direct route down the barrier island, it is not possible to drive between the two parks, as much of it is wild land for the ponies that occupy the island. It is possible to offroad through the sand with the right permits and equipment on parts of the island, but it’s not a practical path between the two parks, and I need a bit more offroading experience if I’m going to attempt it. 

Assateague State Park, Maryland

Instead, to get to Chincoteague, you head back out to 113, and drive about an hour down to into Virginia and back over to the coast. But, both parts of the island have their own appeal. Assateague is wilder, and Chincoteague is also a coastal town with the fanciest KOA I’ve ever seen. 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Reserve, Virginia

We were fortunate enough to end up in Chincoteague during a time when they had a service road open for visitors. We did not make it the full seven and a half miles up the service road because it was slow going, and it was getting late in the day. Plus, the ponies know it’s their land, so they had no problem stopping traffic. 

We made it back to Rehoboth from Chincoteague, and had dinner at Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, a recent staple in the Rehoboth scene. 

Delaware’s Methodist Churches

Back at the hotel, I read the local guides the leave in the room, and there was an article about the Methodist churches that dot the Delaware landscape.  

Methodism was not invented in Delaware, but American Methodists nevertheless owe the state a debt. During the Revolution—when patriots were hostile to the denomination—Delaware was its spider hole.

~ Founder of U.S. Methodism Sought Refuge in Delaware – DelawareToday

A particular church caught my interest when I found that the Nanticoke Indian Tribe embraced the Methodist church, and chose to make their own house of worship that combined both cultures. The article pointed out that the cemetery had several headstones displaying both the tribal name and the Christian name of the individual buried there. It was on our route back home so we decided to visit the Indian Mission United Methodist Church.

All in all it was a wonderful trip through one of my favorite regions just a couple hours from home. 


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