This gorgeous barrier island lies on the Atlantic coast right where Maryland meets Virginia. It’s the kind of place where in the course of your wanderings you are quite likely at some point to take a look at your camera and say something like, “Geez, did I really just take my 374th picture of a horse?”
The diminutive ponies that the 37-mile-long Assateague is famous for really are that compelling a sight. Nobody knows for sure how they got here. There is one legend about a herd swimming ashore from the distant wreck of a Spanish galleon. There is another about Blackbeard the Pirate delivering horses to the island home where one of his dozen wives lived. Then there is the more mundane likelihood that regular old European settlers brought the ponies to the island and for some reason lost in the mists of time the animals were allowed to become wild.
The ponies now roam freely along beaches and roadways, chomping up grasses all day long and generally looking as adorable as all get out. I say generally because there was one not-so-adorable pony a few years back who marched up to my parked car and commenced trying to stick his head in the driver’s side window. A word of caution, then: Cute though they may be, these are wild animals.