Imagine an island — a long and narrow strip of land, stretching along the coast. From one side, between the island and the land, a bay with green marshes full of crabs and oysters, and on the other side, a beautiful, white, sandy, oceanic beach with wide and wild dunes. In the middle are wild horses, freely roaming about and grazing wherever they please. No buildings of any kind or touristic kitsch. What a place!
We ventured into the Assateague State Park on the East Coast of the US by chance, as a day trip from our short stay at the Chesapeake Bay. Even though the park is tiny, and we weren’t in any way ready for sleeping there, we immediately wanted to change plans and find a place to stay, so we could enjoy it a bit longer. And we would have, if it wasn’t for terrible mosquitoes and flies that were seemingly immune to the spray we’d covered ourselves with, head to toe. A visit in September has its pros, namely good weather and warm water, but it’s the cooler months that offer respite from insects.
It was fantastic to go wild and jump on waves in the warm ocean, walk along the dunes and over the marshes, and meet a few herds of horses (ponies, to be exact), who, in these incredible surroundings look truly amazing. There are a few theories on how the ponies found their way onto the island, but no matter which is correct, nowadays they live here without human intereference. Apart, that is, from an annual auction, which aims at regulating the population of animals inabiting this small island. It’s a shame that this place is not better known among foreign tourists. The U.S.A is a big country and most visitors after sightseeing New York or D.C. head to the West Coast, where national parks are more numerous. Yet we have to recommend this place to anybody visiting this side of the continent. Totally worth it!