As Winter quickly approaches, I want to share this photo I took at Williamsburg, Virginia several years ago. During our visit a snow storm struck the east coast and left a six-inch blanket of snow covering Williamsburg. While Colonial Williamsburg and most businesses in the town were closed, we made the best of the situation. We spent a lot of time wandering through the historic district and taking many photos of a once in a lifetime experience.
I love how the red brick chimneys pop against the otherwise monochromatic scene. I also love that, because the scene is from the backyards of the historic buildings, the snow is pristine, with footprints or other signs of man. To me, it’s a peaceful and beautiful scene and provides a different view of a much photographed tourist destination.
Several years ago Ann Marie and I spent a three day weekend on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. These days Chincoteague might not be as popular as Hogwarts, but kids have been reading about a pony named Misty of Chincoteague since 1947. I was one of those kids.
The term “Chincoteague Pony” is actually a bit misleading. The ponies live on Assateague Island, an island in the states of Virginia and Maryland. There are two herds of ponies, one living on the Maryland side of the island and one living on the Virginia side.
Also, Chincoteague ponies are more horse-like than pony-like. Legend says that the ponies are descended from Spanish horses that swam ashore from shipwrecked Spanish ships. The small size is probably due to the poor diet of the animals, which live on plants of the salt marsh covering much of the island.
Horse or pony, the feral equines of Assateague Island are quite beautiful. Every July, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department holds a Pony Penning Day. Healthy, older foals are auctioned to raise money for the fire department, and to keep the herds at a healthy level. Not all the horses purchased during the auction leave the island. Some bidders donate the money to the fire department and allow the horse to be released back into the herd.
Beauty can be found anywhere. This floral arrangement was in our room at the wonderful Whistle Stop bed & breakfast in Louisa, Virginia.
This bicycle was outside a wonderful little bed & breakfast called the Whistle Stop in Louisa, Virginia. I love the way the colors of the old rusted bike now blend with the greenery growing around and over it. It’s as if the man made materials are becoming part of Nature.
Back in the 90s we spent Easter weekend on Chincoteague Island, home to the wild horses made famous in Marguerite Henry’s “Misty of Chincoteague” books.
There are actually two herds of horses, also known as Assateague horses, living on the island, one herd on the Maryland end of the island and one herd on the Virginia end. Each herd has about 150 horses.
The Maryland herd, or Assateague herd, is owned and managed by the National Park Service and, other than contraceptive and emergency medical treatment the Maryland herd is treated like other wildlife, with no special attention or treatment given to them. They’re one of the last free-ranging feral horse herds in America.
The Virginia, or Chincoteague herd, is owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. Through a special agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the herd is allowed to live and graze in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Each year the Chincoteague fire department holds a roundup and auction of the horses. The auction serves two purposes. First, it controls the size of the herd. Second, it helps finance the fire department’s operations. The auction draws as many as 50,000 people who watch the herd make its annual swim from Assateague across the channel to Chincoteague.
The horses are quite beautiful and seem oblivious to the tourists around them. We saw many of the horses around the island, usually from a distance, but we did have the opportunity to see several of the horses grazing along a bike path. While they may seem harmless, it’s important to remember that they’re wild animals and can easily run over a nearby person.
Here are a couple photos of the horses from our visit to the island.