Watching the Mane Event on Assateague Island, Virginia
Since 1925, thousands have gathered on the shores of Chincoteague Island at the end of July to watch as saltwater cowboys herd the island’s famous ponies across the channel from Assateague Island. Legend has it that the ponies arrived at their present home after escaping from a Spanish galleon full of wild stallions. These are the stomping grounds of the beloved Misty of Chincoteague, which author Marguerite Henry based on a real pony. Her dainty hoofprints are embedded in front of the Roxy Theater and both she and her real-life and literary offspring Stormy are immortalized taxidermically at Beebe Ranch, where she once lived. To beat the crowds, park a dingy down the channel and bring some binoculars (or skip the main event entirely and watch them swim back two days later). The fun doesn’t stop there; post-swim, join the revelry of the Chincoteague Island Volunteer Fireman’s carnival where a handful of hoofed swimmers are auctioned off to raise money for trucks, ladders, and fire hoses.