The reason I wanted to go to Chincoteague/Assateague was to see the wild horses.
Although I had read Misty of Chincoteague as a girl, I had forgotten most of the story – except that it had something to do with a girl and a wild horse. So we listened to it on CD on the way East. Misty (written by Marguerite Henry) was actually based on the story of a real Chincoteague wild pony. The book is considered a children’s classic (Newbery Medal) and Mrs. Henry went on to write five more Misty books, but none were as successful as the first.
(One of those kind of unbelievable trivia facts. When Marguerite Henry moved to Illinois – she brought Misty with her and kept it at her farm in a town I drive through all the time. Just a weird coincidence – that Misty was right here … although at the time, I wasn’t here. Still – to find out that the books were written here is kind of strange. Anyhow, school kids used to come to the farm and visit the horse after they read the book. Then later, she took Misty back to Chincoteague where the horse died and is buried.)
So anyhow – we set out to find the horses.
We drove through the roads of the Assateague Island National Seashore. The day continued in all its dreariness as we scanned the surroundings for horses. Finally we ended up at the Visitor’s Center at Tom’s Cove.
Not a horse in sight.
We walked along the ocean a little, saw some birds, saw some people, saw a lot of sand which was all well and good – but no horses.
I found a ranger and asked “Where can we see the horses?”
He shrugged. “You can go up to Maryland and see their horses.”
“Ahh…where are your horses?”
He shrugged again. “If you go into town, there’s one fenced in behind McDonalds.”
Seriously? We drove the entire way here to see a horse fenced in behind McDonalds?
Meanwhile Sue asked another ranger who told her they had just rounded the horses up for vaccinations and if we went to a specific area, we might see some in the distance.
So, we followed the ranger’s direction and drove slowly down the road. At first we didn’t see anything, but then off in the distances … we finally found some horses.
Later, back in town, se stopped and chatted with the McDonald
s horse, too.