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In 1908, Highlands’ growing popularity was honored by a song dedicated to the Neptune Club with music written by the well-known composer of Welsh descent John Rogers Thomas. “Beautiful Highlands” was one of more than one hundred popular American songs composed by Thomas. His song echoed the nineteenth-century post-Romantic era surrounding the times:

Beautiful, Beautiful Highlands! Above the rolling sea,

To breathe the pure refreshing air

Gives joy and health to me!

Highlands was situated in a natural location for fishing and became a draw for tourists to stay in its hotels close to the nearby beaches. These hotels by the water’s edge drew large numbers of families and groups to experience a day, a week or a summer. The luxurious hotels offered a social life with music, theatrical entertainments and dancing. The famous shore dinners with seafood as the main attraction grew in popularity. Proximity to steamboat and rail lines offered the perfect escape. Local resort towns nearby were easy to access by local transport. Thompson’s Atlantic Pavilion, the Swift House and the Lewis House accommodated the influx of guests in ever-increasing numbers.

Learn more about Highlands and Highland Beach. Stories and artifacts of a bygone era await you in Gallery 1 at the Twin Lights Museum. Read the recent book, Sandy Hook’s LOST Highland Beach Resort, found in the museum store recounting a fanciful era in a town glittering with stars from Broadway and the early years of silent film.



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