As the sun sets for the night on Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, owner Joel Golder says, “Once this amusement park is gone . . . it’s gone. We’re the only beachfront amusement park left in New England.” He says he loves his family’s business. “I’ve been doing this all my life. The smells, the sounds, there’s nothing like it.” It’s said that the boardwalk atmosphere and these nostalgic slices of Americana are disappearing. But if one looks closely, remnants of the past can still be found on the shores of New England. As Fran Amero drives his 1927 Model T four-door Roadster up Ocean Boulevard, he says the car makes him feel connected to New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach. “It’s like I’ve been here before at a different time. I feel like I’m back in the day.” There are still places that allow us to feel safe and share our own childhood with our children. As Alicia Mullings cradles a pile of tickets for her son Marc, 10, at the Dream Machine arcade at Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass., she says, “I’ve been coming here since I was a kid; it’s fun to see him having fun doing the same things I did as a kid. We don’t go to the arcade all the time, it’s special.” Golder encourages people to take advantage of this history, “We’re not going to be here forever. . . . This is a place filled with good memories of happier times. . . . We like to deliver happiness.” [22 photos total]

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With Palace Playland in the background, Jenny Gouthro, 12, of Salem, N.H., works her back handspring at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. “She could do that all day. She has to get her practice in; she does gymnastics five hours every day,” says her mother, Melissa Gouthro. “I’ve been coming here since I was probably her age.” (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Sandra Pires of Wayland, Mass., relaxes under the pier while her son enjoys the water at Old Orchard Beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Sean Deely, 16, of Grafton, Mass., plays Wiffle ball with his “beach family” at New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach in late July. He and his friends say their families have been meeting for a week at the beach all their lives. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Clinton Assalone of Bristol, Conn., and his son, Gabriel, 8, share fries on the pier at Old Orchard Beach. Earlier in the day, Clinton won a stuffed rabbit for Gabriel at Palace Playland. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Ryan Romonoski, 4, reaches for his mother, Laura Wallace, while playing under the SurfSide deck in late July at Salisbury Beach in Salisbury, Mass. “I’ve always been around the water, I’m attached,” Wallace says. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Rana Atamian of Boston rides “Sir Chomps A Lot” while visiting the Hampton Family Fun Center at Hampton Beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Fourteen-year-old Annaleise Adipietro (center) of Framingham, Mass., reacts to her victory while playing the Hampton Beach Derby game with Reagan Flaherty (right), 11, of Lexington, Mass., at Bob’s Amusements. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
The Hampton Beach Derby game at Bob’s Amusements. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Alicia Mullings of Brockton holds onto tickets for her son at the Dream Machine arcade at Nantasket Beach in Hull. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
John Meenaghan (right) of Bradford, Mass., gathers his nieces and nephews as they prepare to depart Hampton Beach for the day. From left to right: Taylor Hand, 14, twins Colby and Caitlyn Ball, 7, and their brother, Benjamin, 9. Meenaghan said he has paid summer visits to Hampton Beach for years. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
At Nantasket Beach, Lorrie Wright of Mattapan watches the tide come in one day in July. She visits the beach three times a week. “This has been my beach for 40 years,” she says. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Luciano Recupero, 6, of Chelsea enjoying pizza at Hampton Beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Tom Lane of Williamsburg, Va., watches over his grandchildren’s winnings while visiting Palace Playland at Old Orchard Beach. “This is my job,” he says. “Everybody won something; they had a blast.” (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Visitors enjoy the Yo-Yo ride at Nantasket Beach one July evening. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
At Old Orchard Beach, Bo Pszeniczny of Ludlow, Mass., and his daughter Camille, 5, greet stilt walkers Jalianne Li and Rose Maskery. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Eleven-year-old Kai Sessions of Burlington, Vt., wanders under the Old Orchard Beach pier in search of crabs. Kai’s mother, Tyler, said the annual trip has been a family tradition for 40 years. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
In early August, vacationers flock to the water at Old Orchard Beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Mainers Hanna St. Pierre and Barry Campbell share a moment at Old Orchard Beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Terry and Kathleen Fancher of Braintree take advantage of the dance floor at Nantasket Beach’s Bernie King Pavilion. The couple has been coming to the beach since they met in 1972. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Ruben Milton Jr., 5, and his sister, Alyanna Milton, 7, ride the Gondola Wheel at Palace Playland. They live in Worcester and were making their first visit to Old Orchard Beach with their mother, Jill Mahoney. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
Local resident Fran Amero drives his 1927 Model T Roadster down Hampton Beach’s Ocean Boulevard. “It’s like I’ve been here before at a different time. I feel like I’m back in the day,” says Amero. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #
The Hull Boosters Club’s summer carnival anchors Nantasket Beach for a week in July. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) #

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