A Scenic Tour of the East Coast

New York, Boston and Pennsylvania

Have been watching The Affair on Prime Video which brings up memories of New York City (Manhattan) and nearby places. It takes place in Montauk which I never visited. I also never went to the Hampton’s nor Fire Island. In the TV series, they also lived in Cold Springs.

Montauk, New York, a hamlet at the east end of Long Island, is a popular getaway travel destination from New York City and the world.

Montauk is located on the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound and is known for beautiful beaches, like Ditch Plains; oceanfront places to stay; things to do for kids; fishing; surfing; paddling; seafood restaurants; nature trails; events; music and art festivals; and weddings. Montauk Point State Park is home to the national landmark, the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse. With over 5,000 acres of pristine public beaches and breathtaking diverse parkland, Montauk seems like a lovely place to visit.

Did not go to Woodstock in 1969 but I do recall visiting FDR’s home somewhere in New York State.

During his presidency, FDR felt that the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park was too busy with people and telephones for him to relax or to have any privacy. In 1939, FDR designed and built a stone cottage on a piece of property he acquired a few miles east of Springwood. The cottage was built on top of Dutchess Hill overlooking the Hudson River Valley, and as a result it was called "Top Cottage."

We had relatives who lived in Long Beach who I recall visiting when I was a teenager. My father’s father, my grandfather lived with his second wife Frieda some place in Brooklyn near a beach I think. I wore a lot of makeup and teased my hair as was popular. Lots of hairspray, too.

My friends and I used to go dancing on Long Island to clubs and actually all around Queens, New York, too. We wanted to meet guys but for me, I never did meet any guys there. At camp, my first boyfriend was from Massapequa and eventually moved to Teaneck, New Jersey.

My boyfriend Bob in senior year of high school who I had a mad crash on, took me out to Jones Beach the first time we got together. He drove me home and then we drove out to the beach. For months, I had plotted to go out with him with my friends and his former girlfriend. He worked at the movie theatre in Glen Oaks and looked so handsome in a tuxedo. For lunch, he would get food at a place called Hamburger Express, where they served food via Lionel Trains. We would wait there for him to come in.

Apparently there was another place in Queens called the Hamburger Train. The Hamburger Train, which opened in 1954 at 96-58 Queens Boulevard above the 63rd Drive subway stop, was Rego Park’s culinary delight. The main attraction was a model train complete with blinking lights that delivered food from the kitchen directly to the customers. Adding to the ambiance, the staff wore regulation trainmen’s uniforms and wall prints celebrated the progress of trains.

Read more: Forest Hills Times - A trip down memory lane on the Hamburger Train

When we were dating, he took me to his movie theatre to see Dr. Zhivago and I don’t recall the movie. That is where he kissed me for the first time. I was in heaven. When we went out on a date, we saw another movie and had dinner. He was in my computer class and I even recall us making out at the back of the class. He visited me at the garden apartments, too.

I wanted to go to the prom with him and spend the summer together but that didn’t happen. He had other plans and I found out later, he had a crush on an older woman. He was very sweet and wrote me a very kind letter apologizing to me for leading me on. He was going to military school in Oklahoma.

We went to Carvel’s for ice cream and Dunkin Donuts. And every birthday, you would get a free ice cream sundae at Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor. Once, a friend of a friend and I went to ALL of the Jahn’s in every borough for his free ice cream sundae.

Once, there were 30 Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor, most of them in various parts of New York City. They've dwindled down to a single remaining restaurant in Queens, leaving the legacy of Jahn's to a pair of brothers who think that maybe the time is right to expand the brand.

Jahn’s was started by John Jahn in the Bronx in 1897 and was later run by three of his offspring’s. It was known for its massive Kitchen Sink sundae, easily shared by four to eight people. For many high school students, munching on the Kitchen Sink at Jahn’s became a rite of passage and a memory that isn’t easily forgotten.

In the summer, we spent a lot of time at Jones Beach (at the pool there). Occasionally, we went to Rocky Point. We swam in the water there. In the 1920s the NY Daily Mirror advertised land for sale in the North Shore Beach of Rocky Point in conjunction with the Long Island Railroad. Lots were offered for $89.50. Thus Rocky Point became a popular summer vacation for many people from Brooklyn and Queens.

Rocky Point is a hamlet and census-designated place on the North Shore of Long Island in the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, New York.

Neighbors of ours had bungalows in Far Rockaway for the summer and we went swimming there occasionally. My best friend in Junior High School moved there so I visited her one weekend. We went to the boardwalk and dedicated songs to our boyfriends on the Oldies radio station.

(Bungalows at Far Rockaway in 1910)

We visited Uncle Ben and Aunt Sarah at Sea Gate once in awhile. I recall the hydrangea flowers that were blue and looked like pompoms outside their home. Am not sure if they were related to my father or mother but I suspect my dad’s side of the family.

For more than 100 years, the waterfront community of Sea Gate, Brooklyn has had a front row seat to the New York Harbor where cruise ships, sail boats and the occasional mermaid routinely pass by.

Sea Gate, once known as Norton’s Point, was originally incorporated in 1899. A private, gated community adjoining Brooklyn’s bustling Coney Island boardwalk, Sea Gate was a summer retreat for families like the Morgans, Dodges and Vanderbuilts. Sea Gate was an ideal location to spend a peaceful, breezy summer.

Currently, with about 8,000 full-time residents, Sea Gate is filled with gilded-age mansions.

And we went to Coney Island a few times. I remember the roller coaster ride, funny mirrors, wonder wheel and Nathan’s hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard.

How Coney Island Got Its Name

In 1645, Dutch officials offered to let a group of English religious dissenters from New England, led by Lady Deborah Moody, establish a colony at Gravesend near the beach. They decided that the colony would be a buffer for them from the Indians who used the beach to collect clams and wampum, a type of currency. The land was called "Konijn Hok," the rabbit's hutch or breeding place, a pun on the fact that genuine rabbits or “coneys” shared the beach with the Native Americans.. Lady Moody guided and shaped the colony at Gravesend along tolerant and almost socialist lines during its first sixteen years. It was a primitive democracy with all decisions made at town meetings. The colony was blessed with fairly fertile farmland and a considerable amount of neglected seaside property that would eventually become the site of the most famous summer playground in the world.

On May 7, 1654 a Native American named Guttaquoh, declared himself to be the owner of "Coyne Island", and formally put his mark on a deed conveying the Island to the forty Gravesend patentees. Unfortunately the local Native Americans were completely wiped out in 1655 by the rival Mohawk Indians for failing to pay tribute to the Five Nations. Being poor and under-armed, they mistakenly believed that the Dutch would protect them. The original Dutch name "Konijn Kok" first evolved to "Conyne Island" by the English and was later revised to Coney Island. However, there are other explanations of the origins of the name. Judge Egbert Benson, in a report to the New York Historical Society in 1816, argued that "Coney" came from "Conyn" the name of a Dutch family that once lived at the beach. Some believe that the area was named after John Colman, the officer aboard Hudson's "Half Moon" ship, who was killed by the Indians. The name eventually evolved into Coney Island. [2] Meanwhile, the English were in the midst of a series of Anglo-Dutch wars raging in Europe. On orders of Charles II, they surprised the Dutch by surrounding New Amsterdam with a British fleet boasting 120 guns and 500 veteran troops. Since the Dutch defenses included only 20 cannon and 250 soldiers and militia, the townspeople implored the governor to avoid bloodshed and destruction. Luckily for the citizens of Gravesend, who thought their tiny war was imminent, England took possession of New Amsterdam on September 5, 1664. Gravesend won possession of all of Coney Island without firing a shot.

How Coney Island Became a Summer Resort

During the early 19th century there was considerable discussion among the community of building a shell road across the creek to the nearby beach. In 1823, Supervisor Terhune and others formed the Coney Island Road and Bridge Company as a private enterprise. They built a hotel called the Coney Island House, which marked the beginning of summer resort business. The Coney Island House existed where the "Thunderbolt" ride exists today.

Growing up in Bayside, Queens, NYC  we lived near 73rd and Bell Boulevard and Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard in the Windsor Oaks apartments near to the Windsor Park apartments where there was a pool we visited occasionally.

Our road trips in the summer took us to Chicago, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, even Montreal Canada. But my favorite place was Lancaster, Pennsylvania. How I missed Hershey (where the chocolate factory is) I don’t know. But years ago, a client of mine lives in Hershey, PA not far from there.

But we stayed in a luxury green grass hotel near Lancaster, swam in the pool and visited the Amish country with funny names, Blue Balls, Intercourse, and Bird in Hand.

Amish Country in South Central Pennsylvania, has several provocative sounding town names. If you travel a certain direction in the Lancaster area, it’s possible to go from Blue Ball to Bird-n-Hand to Intercourse and then finally Paradise all consecutively.  Other unusual town names in the Lancaster region are: Burnt Mills, Fertility, Lititz,  Mount Joy, Lickdale, Ono and Falmouth.

These look like interesting places to visit if you like to visit food places like I do (food, art museums, scenic places, trees and beaches as well as some historic places catch my eye):

Cranberry Bog Tour – Harwich, MA

The U.S. is the world's leading cranberry producer and MA is one of the leading cranberry growing states. Take a scenic drive to the largest organic cranberry bog on Cape Cod. During a 90-minute tour, learn about the 12-month operation of a bog. Before or after the tour, visit the farm stand for all things cranberry – fresh and dried cranberries, cranberry sauces, cranberry bog honey, and cranberry cookbooks.

Daily tours are offered throughout the spring, summer, and fall, reservations are required, and tickets are $15 each.

To experience the local culture, grab a bite to eat at Mooncusser’s Tavern­­ or Brax Landing, which offers waterfront dining on the Saquatucket Harbor. RVers can stay overnight at Adventure Bound Camping Resorts.

UTZ Potato Chips – Hanover, PA

For snack lovers, the Utz Potato Chip Trip is a must. In 1921, William and Salie Utz began making potato chips in their summer kitchen. 100 years later, the company continues to be family managed and has expanded to make a number of other brands, including Bachman, Zapp’s, Dirty, TGI Fridays Snacks, and Good Health.

This free, 30-45-minute self-guided tour lets visitors see (and smell) the process that starts with farm-fresh potatoes and ends with crispy Utz chips. An observation gallery, closed-circuit monitors, and audio program deliver interesting details about the production process. And, of course, the tour ends with a bag of Utz potato chips and a coupon to the factory outlet store – the perfect place to stock up on road-trip snacks.

The tour is open Monday – Thursday but call ahead to confirm the hours since the daily production schedule is subject to change.

Staub’s Landing Restaurant and Pub is nearby and offers lunch and dinner options, including the area’s best burgers and a selection of more than 60 craft beers. RVers can stay overnight at Gettysburg Farm RV Campground.

Another favorite place of ours was the New England Inn Consisting of the original inn with the original breakfast room and a big addition containing the bar and new restaurant area, ten or twelve log cabin cottages and a brand new 12 room lodge and a separate building with an indoor swimming pool, the New England Inn is a destination to be reckoned with.

I loved going to Boston by train ALONE when I was ten to visit a neighbor who moved there. It was scary but I learned a lot and saw the fireworks for July 4th. Plus, learned that they called hot dogs Frankfurts and burgers, hamburgs and ate Boston beans. I never ate Boston cream pie though. Years later, I visited Boston (my cousin Joseph Roy Hecht lived there for awhile). I would live there now if it did not get so cold in the winter.

I don’t remember visiting historic places like Abigail Adams birthplace, the Emily Dickinson Museum, Clara Barton Birthplace Museum, Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum or Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House but those would be interesting to me now. Seems like we did go to some Sleepy Hollow place and maybe where Paul Revere rode on his infamous ride “The British Are Coming.”

I recall driving to Worcester, Massachusetts but I don’t remember why. It is a crossroads between several major New England cities including Providence, Hartford and Boston. Worcester is located in the central region of the state, just west of Framingham. Boston is forty miles east of Worcester.

I always liked the way people in Boston talked. I had a boyfriend when I first lived in West Hollywood who was from Boston. Michael and I had a lot of fun together until I found out that he had a girlfriend that he “forgot” to tell me about. It was pretty devastating for me and I eventually moved on. There were a lot of guys who wanted to be with me in my 20’s. Michael came back a few weeks later but everything was different. I think about him occasionally now and wonder how guys who really seem to like you do stuff like that? He looked so forlorn, really hurt and downfallen when he left at the elevator. We didn’t talk about what happened. But I could not trust him after that hurtful incident.

On one of my road trips across the country in my 20’s or 30’s, I made it a point to visit Henry David Thoreau's Walden’s Pond. Took a scenic bus tour during the fall when the leaves are multi-colored (red, yellow, brown). Don’t recall visiting Henry David Thoreau’s cabin. I always loved the fall and watching the leaves turning colors on the trees.

(Thanks to Arbor Day Foundation)

(Thanks to Tree Hugger)

Some of my Travel Writing articles

I wrote more about my growing up years here:

Memories of a Life Well Lived
How are kids going to learn to socialize, play games, develop properly and have fun in the fresh air these days? We were always busy with activities especially after school and in the summer. Now kids are cooped up at home with their parents. Do they play card games or board games? What are they learning about the world and other people…
Read more