Sea Bathing by the Farmers – A Very Rustic Frolic – Singular and Unfashionable Scenes on the Beach
Perth Amboy, N.J.,Saturday Aug. 19, 1871 - the inhabitants of the State of New Jersey have given up Long Branch to the grasping New Yorkers for sea bathing and holiday making, but the keep Perth Amboy for themselves. For the past two hundred years, and perhaps as , far back as the warlike Swedes against whom Gov. Stuyvesant made war, it has been the custom to devote the first three Saturdays of the month of August to grand frolics down by the waters of Raritan Bay at Perth Amboy.
This old observance has by no means fallen into desuetude. On the contrary, every year it becomes more and more popular. The farmers, though they never heard of the philosopher’s praise of salt, or of the many virtues which be ascribed to it, are completely of his opinion as to it’s merits, and believe that these three weeks’ bathing will secure them immunity from gout and rheumatism for the rest of the year.
Their daughters like it—not so much for the bathing, though that is considered good fun, as for the dancing and pic-picking. Besides, it is well known that half the marriages in the towns round about the spring form engagements made during the salt-water frolic. And the young men like it because it is a holiday, because it is full of enjoyable diversions, and because the prettiest girls of the State never fail to come.
On arrival at the station of Perth Amboy there were a dozen stages drawn up near the platform, and the drivers were shouting a the top of their voices, “To the grove, to the grove, Eaglewood Grove, Florida Grove.” Their vehicles were quickly filled by eager crowds, though many preferred to walk.
The road wound through the outskirts of the “old town”, and soon emerged from the country streets into the narrow lane that leads to the grove. The stages halted about a hundred yards from the Eaglewood Hotel, and the drivers informed the passengers that they were there. I confess that I looked around with astonishment, for there was nothing to see but a grove of handsome oak-trees, but as every one was rushing down a side path I followed blindly, and on arriving at a turn in the descent of a little hill, was rewarded by a sight of the frolic, already in full blast.
There is more to come of the article and photos of the Perth Amboy Waterfront..