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Lazin' On A Sunny Afternoon

Posted by Jim Botticelli  July 27, 2013 10:52 AM

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                                              Revere Beach in simpler times

Jump into your ride and hit the road for some fun in the sun. Five miles north of Boston lies Revere Beach, an area rich in history and a major stop on a trek up the North Shore. If you had no ride, there was the Narrow Gauge where the Blue Line now travels; a stretch of railroad that ran from Boston to Lynn. Hard to believe, but Revere Beach was once known as the Coney Island of New England. With its pristine beach, restaurant selection, nightlife, and amusements this was the summer destination of many Bostonians from Mattapan to Orient Heights.

                  "We're on vacation, and the world is ours".....Connie Francis

Families would vacation at cottages and hotels such as the Strathmore, The Metropolitan, the Pleasanton, and The Point of Pines. The more adventuresome or the less affluent would camp in tents pitched up on Beachmont Hill. During the day they would laze away sunny afternoons on the peaceful beach pictured above. At night the boulevard would light up as hungry vacationers frequented restaurants. For seafood hit The Driftwood, Barney Scheff’s, General Edward’s Inn, or The Skipper. On the run? Grab some fast chow at Joe & Nemo’s, Howard Johnson’s, Rudolf’s Pepper Steak, or the world famous Kelley’s Roast Beef. Pizza? One word: Bianchi's.

   "Put on your high heel sneakers, and your wig hat on your head".....Tommy Tucker

Revere Beach was legendary for its dance pavillions. These included the Beachcroft, Ocean Pier Ballroom, Wonderland, and The Frolic, among others. Dance marathons, particularly in the 30's, would last nearly 2000 hours with substantial cash prizes for those who survived. Big bands, the crooners, and the pop acts of the time all entertained.

                                "Do I amuse you?".....Joe Pesce in 'Goodfellas

Mention the Revere Beach glory days to a Bostonian of a certain time and leave out the part about the amusements? Forget about it! The Thunderbolt, the Jack Rabbit, the Derby Racer, and the Tickler were just four of Revere's revered roller coasters. Stories of The Lightning and the all wood, 50 MPH Cyclone, with its 100 foot drop, are of mythological proportions to this day!

Now a National Historic Landmark, Revere Beach has been officially dubbed “America’s First Public Beach.” It has been said, by those who say these things, that those who neglect history are doomed to repeat it. In this case we only wish that were so.

Please like our facebook page also called Dirty Old Boston

Ciao for Now.....JB

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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