In the late 50’s and most of the 60’s there were few winter-time restrictions for beach driving .  My beach buggy was finished in the late summer so I had many fall and winter trips.
I lived close to Humarock Beach  and it was easy-access before they barricaded it off .    So down the ramp and onto  beach I would drive, usually north up to Fourth Cliff and  as far as I could before the rocks prevented traveling.  It could be tricky driving if the sand had been taken out by the tides and the current, leaving pea & marble-sized stones.  It was like driving on ball- bearings.  In the fall, I would drive here to go scuba-diving among  the big boulders for lobsters. It was a great place to catch some big ones, and I did.

One winter day I was returning, and as I approached the opening, it was all ball- bearing rocks. Being a new over-sand  driver, I made the mistake of turning up-hill in these  stones.  You never turn up-hill in stones and you should be at a very low tire pressure.  Well… I got stuck….real stuck, with an incoming tide!!  But it would be quite awhile before it got to me.  I tried to jack it out but it was impossible to jack in the stones.
I ran to the phone booth at Clark’s Store. I called all my friends who had four-wheel drive, but had no luck making  contacts. My last resort was a wrecker with a long  tow cable. With the help of the telephone operator, I finally found an on-duty wrecker,  and he agreed to pull me out.
Well after waiting an eternity, he finally arrived at the opening to cable out…BUT the cable was way too short!  I took a long shot, since he had dual rear tires hard as rocks and narrow!
I said to him, “You drive out on the beach close enough to winch me out and I’ll pull you off the beach.”  He looked at me and said, “You’re the one stuck!  How the hell are you gonna pull me off?” I said, “JUST DO IT!”   We dropped his tire pressure way down.  He then backed onto the beach avoiding the stones, staying on sand.  He got me winched out with little effort.  I dropped my tire pressure to the absolute minimum and those tires were low!  I drove in front of him, hooked up my rope, and told him to drive with me, but not to spin his tires. I dropped his front tires to minimum-pressure, about 20 lbs.  Mine were 8 in front and 6 in the rear.  Now off I go!  I got the rope tight with a good strain then gave him the GO sign.   My old buggy wound up in first-gear,  strained it’s guts and pulled that wrecker through the soft sand!  It just made it up the sloping ramp with the wheels spinning onto the pavement.  A small crowd of onlookers applauded!  Our tires were really low.  His were not tubeless and might have not made it back to the garage, but we had air at the Humarock Garage, a block away.  One on-looker came over as I pumped-up,  and congratulated me!  He admitted that he was betting I couldn’t do it!   That was the only time in the next 20 years that I got stuck and needed  help!

One November Nor’easter, the ocean was roaring up pretty well, with extra high water and some flooding in the usual places. After the third day of blowing and roaring, it was time to hit the beach with my buggy!  Sea-clamming was on my mind.  The constant pounding of the waves
and undertow was moving sand…..the sand that sea clams lived in.
If given a moment of rest, in wet sand, the sea clam can dig it’s way back in with its powerful foot. I have watched them do this, and it’s amazing how fast it can be done.  However, the clams stranded on drier sand cannot dig in, and they are at the mercy of gulls and man!
So, this man was up early and the tide was receding, without the strong wind a-blowing. So down to Humarock, with a right turn after Humarock’s  Marshfield Ave. opening.  Usually, it was an easy drive to Rexhame.  But this morning was different.  Within a short distance the beach was covered with stranded clams……thousands of them .
Most of the gulls were already stuffed full.
Now, have you ever seen a gull not eating, just standing there wondering where he could put another clam??

Ok-ok ! just one more!

Sea clams, as far as you could see!

I drove on the up-side of the rows, jumped out and loaded as many as I could in one stop.  After 3 or 4 stops, I had about 200 clams and didn’t put a dent in them !
Far down the beach at Rexhame I saw lights so there were others enjoying the bounty.  I drove to Rexhame to see how many clams there were and two friends were filling their pick-up trucks. My friend Bill and another friend, Sonny Oxner.  Sonny had help and filled his truck bed to the top !
I bet he had a thousand pounds of clams.
Sonny was a very generous person and gave most away.  He later admitted, it became a chore giving that many away.

On that November trip, it took me the best part of the day to clean and pack up 40 pints of clam meat! Enough for a year’s worth of chowda and

For many years I could drive through the Rexhame dunes as a short-cut to my destination of Brant Rock.
That came to an end when  a fence of large poles were dug in and prevented over-sand traffic to and from Humarock.

 Duxbury Beach & High Pines were my favorite places to go. There were four ways I could get there: through Green Harbor at Burkes Beach opening, the Bay Ave opening near Canal St., the Gurnet Rd. from Green Harbor through Blakeman’s Parking lot or the long way through Duxbury and over the half-mile wooden bridge.

Powder Point Bridge, Duxbury Ma.

For many years there were no fees and overnight camping was allowed on Duxbury, High Pines, & Saquish Head.  Oh yes, I enjoyed all of them!
The highest dunes started about a mile and a half from the Powder Point bridge. They were, in my time, at least 15′ high, and three or four beach buggies could camp in between them. They would only be seen by passerby’s on the beach side.  A buggy could drive the back trail….which was winding, pot-holed, and sometimes full of soft sand and slow. The beach side was the easiest at half-tide and lower.
On a holiday or hot weekend there were 20-25 buggy’s parked on the beach and throughout the dunes, with another 25 driving by to the Gurnet & Saquish.
The Gurnet taxi was a WWll leftover four-wheel drive weapons’ carrier fitted with 16:00 X 15″ airplane tires that floated over the soft sand.  Dick Prince operated this service from the family’s garage on St. George St.

Up to the mid-60’s there were no fees and no beach patrol.
Finally, a beach patrol was established by the owners of this private beach. The patrol consisted of a hired Duxbury Policeman to keep the peace, control littering and prevent driving through and over the grassy dunes. Most of this abuse was caused by the cut-down VW’s with big tires, mostly owned by the young people who were on a day trip of fun racing around on the beach.

This is a Ford Model “A” pickup truck that was very popular in the early days of Beach Buggying.

The Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association adopted this as their logo in the early ’50’s.


By the late 60’s beach permits were needed to travel the beach and finally no overnight camping.  The non-resident fees jumped to $100 for the season.  The Plymouth border line was at High Pines, so those of us who knew that, simply drove to the Plymouth Line and camped there until Plymouth also put restrictions on their beaches.

My ’36 International was getting tired and rusty….it had to be replaced.

A 1956 Chevy Carryall was found and fitted to our needs.  It had wide rims and tires, a dog-house sleeper on top, along with other creature comforts

This is on Duxbury Beach with high dunes surrounding me.

The ’56 was a pleasure to drive compared to the “Old International” !

Almost every weekend was spent on some beach…… Duxbury, Saquish, Sandy Neck, Nauset, Orleans and Provencetown.
Mostly camping, with a mix of fishing, clamming, diving, and beer drinking…. not necessarily in that order.

Our small group of friends tucked in between the dunes at Duxbury Beach.

Next, Part 3….. more of Duxbury Beach, then Sandy Neck, Barnstable, Ma.

W. Ray Freden, Marshfield ,70 years.

7 Replies to “MY BEACH BUGGY DAYS Part 2”

  1. Keep your historic stories and memories coming Ray, I love reading them, and always look forward to the next one. Miss our old waterfowling and goose hunting days with JT. I did hunt with him this past fall, we bagged 6 Canadians at our “usual” spot. It was a fun morning (except for the geese) ! ! ! Miss you my friend. D.

  2. Oh the Good Ol’ Days! Nothing like it. I grew up on weekends at Sandy Neck at Larkin Swift and Fred Conant’s Camps! A lifetime of so many memories.

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