If you were a preteen girl at any point during the last 67 years, you probably know Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague. And if you were anything like me, reading it brought on a brief but fierce obsession with ponies – specifically, the wild ones that roam nearby Assateague Island. Well, last weekend, I channeled my 9-year-old self and did some literary tourism on Chincoteague Island, Va., the birthplace and setting of Henry’s book. Here’s what I learned (or more likely re-learned, given the extent of my obsession):
The real Misty was born in 1946 on the (real) Beebe Ranch in Chincoteague and the (real) Clarence Beebe only agreed to sell her to Marguerite Henry if she promised to include his grandchildren, Maureen and Paul, in the book.
The real Misty’s hoof prints can be found in the sidewalk in front of Chincoteague’s Island Theater, which also has screenings of the book’s 1961 film adaptation.