Vanity Fair, July 1916
WHERE TO SPEND THE SUMMER
Valuable and Timely Suggestions for the Vanity Fair Travel and Tourist Bureau
By C. P. West
THIS is the season of the year when the tired business man is made still more tired by the constant importunity of his wife, who, urging her demands by the exhibition of little Freddie’s pallor and little Percy’s spots and baby Wilfrid’s peevishness, insists that he select some spot (not one of little Percy’s) and go away to it for what is sometimes slangily called the “solstice”—in other words the months of July and August, when asphalt sidewalks bubble, and dogs, developing hitherto unsuspected art in their temperaments, run about the place biting the citizenry in the leg.
It would matter little, and we should not waste our time and space writing an article on the subject, if it were simply a matter of despatching the family to the country and remaining in New York oneself; but things have reached such a pitch nowadays that husbands are expected to accompany their better halves and quarters on the annual exodus; and, such being the case, this question of where to go for the summer calls for somewhat serious thought. We are a nation of sportsmen, and the first thing we ask about any summer resort is “What is the hunting like?” For this reason I can conscientiously recommend
on the Jersey coast. Rarely, if ever, during recent years (I am informed by the hotel-keepers of that Paradise who advertise in the pages of this magazine) has the swatting there been so good.
“I preserved my coverts carefully through the spring,” writes mine host of Ye Jolly Olde Inne at Boochville, “with the result that there is sport for all who care to pay the absurdly small prices quoted in the accompanying booklet. My son, James, who has just returned from a fishing expedition with his face the size of a water-melon, tells me that never in his experience has he known the mosquitoes to be so strong on the wing.
“He said that he mistook them at first for starlings, and, being extremely fond of birds, scattered the remains of his picnic lunch on the grass for them.
“It was only subsequently that he realized that he himself was the lunch.
“I cordially invite those who hitherto have only done their hunting in the inferior Long Island country to pay me a visit. I shall be only too delighted to show intending guests my magnificent heaps of tin cans and bottles, all partially filled with stagnant water in which trillions of mosquitoes are having their early schooling. The piazza and the tennis courts are vocal with the beautiful song of the game, that thrilling eeeeeeeee-eee-eee which strikes a responsive chord in every good sportsman’s breast and starts him reaching automatically for his citronella bottle.”
BUT I must remember that in Vanity Fair, which is not only the inseparable companion of the American man, but also the indispensable ingredient in the happiness of his wedded wife (or wedded divorced wife, or divorced wedded wife, as the case may be), attention should be paid to feminine as well as masculine tastes.
Our rugged males may desire a spot where there is good mosquito-swatting, but the female of the species has other requirements. Realizing that what every woman wants is a place where she can sit in a rocking-chair on the porch and knock the other lady guests—from which it follows that these guests must have knockable qualities—I present to your notice
on the New England coast. I quote from a communication from the proprietor of the Hotel Splendide at Gloomport—formerly Murphy’s Road-House; “things are already in full swing down here. Yesterday three couples engaged rooms, registering respectively as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of New York, Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of Chicago, and Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of Boston, and the liveliest speculation is already rife as to the genuineness of their claim to be considered respectable.
WHISPERED discussions take place almost nightly on the piazza as to this point, and, needless to say, a pleasant time is being had by all. In addition to the above, I am also housing for the summer two guests who have been recognized as motion-picture actresses and one lady the shade of whose hair is alone enough to make the success of any summer hotel. Come to Glorious Gloomport and enjoy yourself.”
Since penning these lines, I have received a telegram from mine host which runs as follows: “Add Glorious Gloomport. Two more doubtful blondes.” Volumes could say no more. Are you passionately fond of music? Then the only place for you is
Restful Prune Harbor
on the north shore of Long Island. The affable proprietor of the House of a Thousand Delights sends me several copies of affidavits to which he has sworn before a notary public, the gist of which is that no college freshmen or sophomores are permitted to infest his hostelry. We can all understand the vital importance of this message.
HITHERTO life has meant for us months of attempted recuperation from the effects of two months spent in listening to young men massacring “The Old Oaken Bucket” in close harmony under our windows, while on the porch other young men came down heavily on the barber-shop chords inseparable from the rendition of “Sweet Genevieve.” But at the House of a Thousand Delights—if we may believe the sworn statement of its proprietor— nothing of this kind will be possible.
Guests are carefully searched on registering, the search being extended to their baggage, so that not even a mandolin can be smuggled into the hotel. That this precaution is no idle one is evidenced by the fact that on four separate occasions undergraduates have attempted to bring banjos into the place by means of the ingenious statement that they were a new kind of tennis racquet.
I am, however, informed by the proprietor that he now has the situation well in hand.
But it may be that some of my readers, having selected the right kind of parents or having done well in War Stocks, are in a position wholly to avoid the summer hotel.
They may desire to rent a charmingly furnished home for the warm weather.
They, too, can be accommodated. The preparation of summer homes is one of those industries of which one hears litt1e but which are among the most important in the country. Broadly speaking, a summer home is one in which it is impossible to live in winter.
THEY abound all over the country. Thrifty men run them up on a foundation that consists of an old barn or a disused tool-shed and leave Nature to do the rest. They count, not without reason, on the fact that the ocean is within view and that there is an actual patch of grass outside the front door to make up to the tenant for the discomforts within.
The tenant sniffs the ozone and feels that it would be a shame to grumble at having to sleep in a room a little smaller and stuffier than the one which, if he had been a man of a different kind, he would have inhabited at Sing-Sing. A house of this kind, situated within walking-distance of the ocean (if you are a good walker) and separated by a full three feet from the houses on each side, may be rented for the season for a thousand dollars. But for those who have no family claims and who are in a position to go where they please in the summer we cannot speak too highly of
Delightful New York
This well-known city, with all the modern conveniences, is adapted in every way to suit the needs of the holiday-maker of taste and discernment. Other resorts are obliged to stake their all on one brand of air, and if the visitor does not like that they have shot their bolt.
How different with New York, the Queen of Summer Spots. How pleasant to stroll through the picturesque gasoline-scented glades of Broadway and, having revelled in the thought that one is filling one’s lungs with the fumes of something that costs thirty cents a gallon, to wander down the quaintly carved old steps of the subway, where the atmosphere is entirely composed of mildew, cinders, wet cement and slot machines. Then to some Bohemian restaurant where the air is solid with smoke and genius, and afterwards to a motion-picture house where there is no air at all.
No, there is no monotony for the man who spends his vacation in New York. It is not only the air that has variety, but the sights. What could be more stimulating than to spend the day time watching laboring men sleeping on the benches in the parks and the night time in watching Diamond Jim Brady dancing the fox-trot at the Follies Roof.
IS the sound of the surf more delightful than the drowsy murmur of streetcars refusing to stop for passengers—or the half-heard whisper of the steam-drill employed in the construction of the skyscraper just outside one’s window less soothing than the music of the thrush and whippoorwill?
Yes. I mean No.