Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nantasket Beach Still Has That Special Summer Feeling

The Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach (photo by Eric)
Many people felt like they were being taken for a ride when Paragon Park at Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass., closed its legendary amusement park in 1984.

The better part of a century brought a joyous beach and amusement scene that exuded a classic New England summer tradition with, to name a few staples, the unbeatable combination of rides, arcades, souvenirs, waves and ice cream. Who can forget that wooden roller coaster or the bumper cars?

Paragon Park's closure gave way to housing development -- great for the people that live there by the ocean -- but sad for us to see Paragon Park and the memories associated with it just drift away. It was so close to home (about a half hour south of Boston, FYI), and really the ultimate day trip.

While we'll probably never see a return of Paragon Park, there are still significant remnants that still make Nantasket Beach a worthy New England travel destination:

The historic Paragon Carousel has been well-maintained. It's a beauty and is as good as ever!

The old clock tower is next to the Paragon Carousel, thus adding a touch of traditional dignity to Nantasket Beach. The clock is also in good condition and brings back such great memories.

The Carousels and Ships souvenir shop and the Dream Machine arcade line the main drag to remind us of those carefree, slightly tacky days gone by. The Fascination site remains -- kind of a mysterious, clandestine place to kids, but well-known to adults -- a destination that sort of mixes a table version of skee ball and bingo.  You can also find at Nantasket Beach a good, huge, gooey slice of pizza at places like Joseph's, ice cream at Carousel Creamery (right next to the Paragon Carousel), as well as play miniature golf at Nantasket Mini Golf.

Today's Nantasket Beach has an added element that didn't exist, as a whole, in the older days -- many high quality seaside restaurants and outdoor cafes are popping up all over the place. I like Jake's Seafood the best -- the water views are nice, the staff is efficient and pleasant, and the seafood always seems to be fresh. No surprise, given that they have a seafood market on the premises.

Yes, we find no "amusement" in Paragon Park being taken away from our kid-like hearts and souls, but Nantasket Beach is still a worthy  vacation destination. It's close to Boston and... oops, I almost forgot (not really, just writing that for effect)... the beach itself is worth a trip. Five miles of sandy ocean bliss, including harbors and bays to boat or fish make this not only one of the best beaches in the Boston area, but in all of New England. The roller coaster of emotions about Paragon closing will perhaps never go away, but the appeal of a great beach town with still plenty to do keeps us coming back.

The beach is simply beautiful -- expansive and with plenty of room for you! (photo by Eric)

You can see the condos on the far right, but the beach still dominates (photo by Eric)

The Dream Machine arcades (photo by Eric)

Carousels and Ships offers a classic gift shop scene to Nantasket Beach (photo by Eric) 

What would the beach be without a good ice cream place? (photo by Eric)

Sunset at Nantasket Beach. Beautiful! (photo by Eric)

Related articles and resources:
Visiting the Paragon Carousel 
Booking a room at Nantasket Beach
Family of four spends only $5 dollars for a day trip to Nantasket Beach
Ten ways to beat the heat on a hot summer day in the Boston area

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