NARRAGANSETT—As you lie on the beach, listening to the waves crash upon the waves and feeling the warm sun beat upon your face, your eyes are closed. You open them, and the scene before is of a brown tint. A giant hotel stands where the Post Office once stood. There are no more cars or motorcycles, but carriages. The road along the sea wall is not asphalt, but dirt. This is your first vacation in Narragansett at the turn of the 20th century.
The South County Museum is set to unveil its newest exhibit, ‘The Way We Were,’ detailing the vacationing habits of beachgoers and tourists in Narragansett from the 1800’s until present day. Visitors to the museum will see an array of photographs, clothing, and other artifacts which accompanied families traveling to Narragansett’s beaches.
There were two groups of vacationers coming to Narragansett at the time. The extremely wealthy out-of-towners would take the train into town, bringing all of their luggage and servants along with them. They at the famous hotels lining Narragansett’s Ocean Road, the Rockingham Inn, Mathewson Hotel, and the Atlantic House.
“99 percent of people would come in by train and set up shop for a month,” said Museum Director Jim Crothers.
The other group, members of a burgeoning middle class around the 1920’s, would live in tent communities at well-known destinations such as Breakwater Village at Point Judith. Families would bring all of their personal effects and relax by the beach in large tents, dining and laughing as the day passed by.
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