A Brief History
The land that is currently Misty Meadows was originally part of Nat’s Farm which, for decades, was a checkerboard of small land parcels of scrub oak and pine owned by residents as “wood lots.” When wool imports from Europe and South America were cut off by World War II, a Boston partnership called Walker & Company purchased and cleared many of the Nat’s Farm wood lots to amass a 140-acre tract for sheep farming. Engineer Charles Norton was brought in to add The “Red Barn” the southern end of Nat’s Farm to serve the sheep.
After the war, the sheep farm was no longer needed and the land was to be sold to create a 140-lot subdivision. Dr. Leona Baumgartner (Mrs. Alexander Langmuir) purchased Nat’s Farm to prevent the subdivision with the hope she would one day be able “To preserve the barn…keep its open pasture, the meadow to retain its character, and to provide Island young people with land.” In 1972, John Alley and Bill Honey helped to bring about that vision when they bought the southern thirty-eight acres of Nat’s Farm and sectioned off a portion including the Red Barn to make a riding stable they named “Misty Meadows.” They leased Nat’s Farm fields from VOLF (now managed by Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation) where their 40+ horses could graze.
Under Alley and Honey, Misty Meadows became a major riding center on Martha’s Vineyard. It featured both English and Western riding clinics, an indoor and outdoor riding ring, a hunt course around the property, and miles of trails through the 4000-acre State Forest including a three-mile trail with jumps. Its programs helped develop riding as a leisure sport and pastime on the Vineyard. New horse farms began to spring up and the MV Horse Council programming expanded to provide activities for islanders with primary focus on youth education.
In 1980, Misty Meadows was sold to Royal Dumont and continued to offer lessons and trail riding. Carol and Jerry Kenney purchased Misty Meadows from the Dumonts in 1999. They modernized the facility and used it for family and friends, as well as some Horse Council special activities like the pace ride and “Fall Fuzzy.”
In November 2016, the Kenney Family generously donated Misty Meadows to our organization so islanders can connect with each other and the magic of horses for decades to come.