An island off the coast of Virginia is a haven for horse lovers, with several attractions based on a horse who inspired a popular children's book published in the 1940s. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Chincoteague Island, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, might seem like a one-horse town.
Best known for the 1947 children's book "Misty of Chincoteague," later turned into a movie, this kick-back coastal vacation spot has memorials to Misty all over town.
Showings of "Misty" still play at the Main street movie theatre, where Misty's hoof prints are immortalized in the sidewalk out front.
If you prefer to keep Misty's memory alive in the depths of your childhood imagination, then don't visit the town’s museum, where her body is preserved alongside that of her foal, Stormy.
Misty was born in domesticity, not in the wild, as told in the book. On nearby Assateague Island, though, wild ponies can be viewed up close via regularly scheduled boat charters.
One of the top attractions every summer, in late July, is the Pony Penning. The horses, with the help of volunteer fire department handlers, swim across the shallow water between the islands. Some are auctioned off, while the rest swim back.
Chincoteague might be famous for horses, but infamous for mosquitoes, especially in the summer. Dressed from head to toe while visiting the wildlife refuge, I still managed to get bit right through my clothing even after using bug spray.
The wildlife is not restricted to the refuge, or maybe these feathered friends are just cuing up for the line at Island Creamery, one of the popular ice cream parlors that include a build-your own-cookie roadside stand operated by a local celebrity.
"My mom is Barbara Beebe," says Kent Massey, the owner of Build Your Own Cookie. "Her and her brother owned Misty together."
That's as gloriously glitzy as things get on Chincoteague.
For more information, visit www.chincoteaguechamber.com.