Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Day at the Beach (in Black and White)

We've had some absolutely beautiful, bright, scorchingly hot weather the past few weeks, so I was thrilled to head to historic Nantasket Beach for an outing with the Tweed Club!

at Nantasket
Of course, Saturday morning dawned clear and bright...and cool! Possibly the coolest day we've had in weeks, with the promise of thunder. Not an ideal beach day. But that meant that we had the place to ourselves, which turned out to be perfect for taking pictures and running amok in true 1920s fashion. Plus, our period bathing suits (and all the aforementioned running amok) kept us nice and warm despite the weather. Perfect!

Nantasket Beach was the perfect location for a 1920s outing, as it's been a popular seaside destination for Bostonians since the 19th century. The boardwalk was full of amusements in its heyday, from the Klondike Arctic exhibition (complete with live polar bears) to towering roller coasters, carnival games, and wandering circus performers. 
Nantasket beach (and parking!), c.1920s
Beginning in 1818, Bostonians eager to escape the city could take boats from Boston to Hull--everyone from U.S. presidents to workers on their day off would--by the 1890s, over two million passengers were making the trip each summer. Resorts, restaurants, and the amusement park entertained visitors when they weren't on the beach.

postcard of Paragon Park, early 20th century
One particular amusement (a wildly popular one in Boston!) of Paragon Park was the carousel. Opening in 1928, the Paragon Carousel (known as PTC #85 for its manufacturer, Philadelphia Toboggan Company) features 66 hand-carved realistic-style horses and two Roman chariots (also pulled by horses). While the rest of the park has been dismantled, the Paragon Carousel remains as a historic legacy with its own museum and restoration workshop (which is an amazing process, still done by hand). 

the Paragon Carousel
James Hardison works on carousel restorations, courtesy of the Paragon Carousel Museum
Best of all, you can still ride it!

riding the 1928 carousel in our bathing suits
Given the gray weather and our sporting togs, I was feeling inspired by photographs of beach adventures from the period, and I wanted to capture the same feeling:

girls at Revere Beach (also MA!), 1919 (Boston Public Library)
1920s (Art Institute of Chicago)

So when editing the photos, I decided to shift into black and white. I love the way these turned out! And don't worry--I have another post on my outfit (specifically my super cool new bathing boots) coming soon...and those images will return to lovely technicolor. But for now, enjoy the brief dip into the 20s!

I am a ham.

Our fabulous tweed club hosts did a great job organizing the outing, and it was a blast to attend! Thank you!


  1. You all look fabulous! I'm going to have to head over there and ride that carousel.

    1. You should definitely check it out! And hit the museum while you're there :)

  2. Really wish we could have made it that weekend! Loving all the awesome pictures. Did you make your swimsuits too?

    1. We did! Everyone made their own using a few different methods. I'll be posting with details of mine (I used a tank dress and shorts as a base) so you can get a better look. It would have been a super long drive for you guys though! It was already an hour south for us.

  3. I love this post with your fabulous swim suits!!! Your research images are so fun and I am beyond jealous of the perfect place for your photo shoot/event! I am so in need of a private jet and pilot!! Just too much fun!