Preface [chapter]

2019 The Jersey Shore  
The Atlantic from Sandy Hook to Cape May beats upon a coast full of changing beauty. The long, quiet reaches of the southern New Jersey shore, broad highways of hard sand, seem ever complacent in the sunlight; which glitters upon the shining pebbles and small seashells, and streams full upon undulating sand-dunes. As you pass northward, the beaches are more and more pronounced in contrast against the sand-hills, marked here and there by rugged, ragged, unfriendly sand cedars,-those knarled and
more » ... wisted trees that refuse to be civilized, and die rather than live in the care of man. The sand-dunes become sand-hills, and fi nally along the northern half of the coast are lost in bluffs, against which the sea beats with ever-increasing appetite. . . . The invaders, whose advance guards reach the coast by May-day, work a great transformation. The summer cities are invested with life, light, and color. Every thing is in motion; everywhere is animation, youth, and beauty; flowers, music, laughter, are the rule. The great hotels are crowded with people from all over-a thousand beneath a single roof; the sidewalks, the summer arbors, the long piers jutting out into the sea, are covered with fugitives from the inland towns. They are chatting, reading, smoking, lounging, strolling, riding about, bathing, sleeping, and eating, with no cares but for the shadow-side of the porch, and the sound of the dinner gong, if one there be. . . . Here is Utopia. Here, the education of the winds and the sun is free to both sexes alike. . . . And the inhabitants are very merry, having nothing to fear but flood-tide; sleeping as honest toilers only can; knowing that tomorrow's sun shall find no trace of to-day's misdoings. They will be obliterated, and the friendly Atlantic will make
doi:10.36019/9780813593777-002 fatcat:pqxj6dagb5b4texfyz7fmpftwy