In the stillness of winter, the waves still roll in and out, in and out, slicking the sandy shore of Assateague Island, a narrow thirty seven mile long barrier island which spans both Maryland and Virginia between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sinepuxent Bay. The wind can be sharp this time of year, rustling the sand into small ever changing dunes, and the temperature is nippy. In the cold of the Mid-Atlantic winter, no swimmers sluice through the water, no sunbathers lie on blankets or towels strewn across the shore. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, an inviting expanse of sand and ocean treasures brought in on the tide.
The famous horses roam the island even in winter, grazing in the tall marsh grasses on the bay side of the island, trotting along the beach, nosing around the trash receptacles in the picnic areas and campgrounds. They are ever present on the island, and the reason that many people visit Assateague, combining a beach camping trip with the novelty of wild horses all around. Drawn by the annual Pony Penning, also known as the Chesapeake Pony Swim, or nostalgia for Marguerite Henry’s beloved book Misty of Chincoteague, throngs of people descend on Assateague Island in the spring and summer. But in the winter, without the crowds and their noise, without the smell of picnics, without all the distractions that high season brings, Assateague offers up a different kind of experience, full of quiet discovery.
By Lauren Eisenberg Davis
Script Editor: Kelsey Skonberg
Audio Editor and Theme Music: Peter Xiong
Host: Jason Epperson
Sponsored by LLBean www.llbean.com/guide
and Campendium www.campendium.com