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DestinationsWay Back Machine

Tracing the History of the Famous Pony-Penning Party in Chincoteague

    Before I did a little research, I assumed that the Chincoteague’s big annual pony-penning festival became a big deal only after 1947, the year Marguerite Henry published “Misty of Chincoteague.” That story, of course, became a children’s classic and then a Hollywood movie. But it turns out that the story of pony-penning day actually dates back centuries, not decades. Local historians say that…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

Time Capsule: This Old Grocery Store Has 80-Plus Years of Stories to Tell

Most folks nowadays get to experience old-time general stores only through the magic of books and movies. But if you venture off of Route 50 and head into the heart of Cambridge, you can still get a taste of the real thing. Simmons Center Market has been around for more than 80 years now. The store’s name honors the memory of the late James “Jimmy”…
Way Back Machine

The Crazy Fun Day When Danny “Killer” Marsh Went After a New World Record

    These images are blurry because they're from a grainy 35-year-old video, but that video just so happens to be the greatest Eastern Shore footage I have ever seen. One commenter on the YouTube link posted below says: “This is the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet." Another: “Greatest YouTube video ever." They are not exaggerating. The year was 1980. The place was Cambridge. Gas station…
Way Back Machine

The True Tale of Misty, Stormy, and maybe the worst nor’easter of them all

The deluge lasted three long days and stretched across five high tides right at the time of the full moon. More than 90 percent of Chincoteague Island flooded. The water ran six feet deep at times on Main Street in downtown Chincoteague. The island's chicken industry was destroyed--an estimated 350,000 birds died in the storm. Chincoteague's famous ponies suffered horribly as well. By the time the rain stopped, more than 100 of…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The English Cottage Gas Station that Has a Story to Tell in Cape Charles

    Some empty buildings are just that, unfortunate bits of neglected junk on the Eastern Shore landscape. Others are something else altogether: Dilapidated, perhaps, but still graced with the ability to unravel fascinating secrets behind key turns in the life of the Shore—and even the country—in days gone by. Take this old guy, for example. He stands on the outskirts of Cape Charles, just…
December 5, 2014
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The Great Throwback Arcade on the Boardwalk in Ocean City

    What will strike you most when approaching Marty’s Playland are the old familiar sounds from back in the day—the rumble-rumble-ka-thunk of skee-ball, the thwick-ding-ding of classic pinball, the spooky monotone of The Fortune Teller, and the pop-clack-THWACK-clack of an air hockey game. We are talking here about a veritable symphony of old-school childhood fun. There are quite a few fun arcades in Ocean…
CharactersWay Back Machine

CHINCOTEAGUE CHARACTER OF THE DAY: Decoy-Carving Legend Miles Hancock

The amazing life that Miles Hancock led could never have unfolded the way it did if he had lived anyplace else in the world. Born in Williamsville, Delaware in 1887, he was one of four children in a farming family. When he was seven, his parents moved to Chincoteague.   Miniature Black Duck by Miles Hancock That’s when things got tough. First, his mother died.…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The Old-School Stuckey’s in Mappsville

    There are the fake new Stuckey’s, and there are the genuine old-time Stuckey’s. The Stuckey’s in Mappsville, an itty bitty burg of 400-and-some souls on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, most definitely falls into the latter category. As far as I can tell, this is the only genuine Stuckey’s left in the Shore region. Walk through the door and you’ll feel like you’ve…
December 5, 2014