An Ode to “Beach Rides”

This collection of seaside vehicles delivers sandy summer vibes.

By Yankee Editors

Jul 18 2022


To help celebrate another sunny New England summer and our May/June 2022 cover model, we reached out to Whitney Hubbell and John Annetti, the married writer/photographer team behind Beach Rides: Time Machines for Modern Day Escapists. Featuring more than twenty rides spanning five decades, the book is a love letter to the official vehicle of dreamy, sandy summer vibes. Learn more about the project from Whitney, followed by a sampling of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket summer beach rides.

“Beach Rides” by Whitney Hubbell with photos by John Annetti
Photo Credit : John Annetti

Defining a Beach Ride

Definition: beach ride noun [ bēch rīde ] 

A classic or vintage vehicle, preferably four-wheel drive with a solid patina. Can be found cruising coastal beach towns around the world. Most likely full of sand, wet towels, and smiling faces. Mechanically unreliable with a good chance of semi-functional instruments. Loud, bumpy, and life-threatening over the speed of 55 mph. A beloved member of the family. Known to hibernate during the winter and emerge with a service invoice come spring. Commonly used as an escape vehicle from predators such as e-mails, crying babies, and outstanding bills. A gateway to freedom and simpler times.

Synonyms for beach ride: island car, surf ride, dream car, getaway car, mid-life crisis, money pit, time machine, my baby

What made you want to publish a book of beach rides?

The concept for this book emerged the summer that John and I moved to Nantucket to sell our lifestyle apparel brand, Johnny Vacay. The designs are created from our original photography of classic cars, boats, and other lifestyle-scapes. But our designs featuring vintage cars were continuously the best sellers. It made us ask the question: What is it about old beach rides that people love so much? Who are the owners? What are their stories? 

John and I always dreamt of working on a project together that would combine his passion for photography and my passion for writing, so a coffee table book seemed like the perfect medium to share this story. Three years later, seeing and feeling the pages of our work for the first time was truly emotional and existential. 

Author Whitney Hubbell and photographer John Annetti

How did you find your subjects?

We created a postcard with bold letters across the front: “I want to photograph your car!” and on the back, a description of the project and our phone number. Every time we saw a cool car in town or on the beach that summer, we stuck a card on the windshield – unsure if anyone would be interested. To our delight, every recipient responded, happily agreeing to participate! 

After just the first couple of photoshoots, we realized this would be a life-changing journey and the start of beautiful lifelong friendships. 

What beach ride eras are your personal favorites?

We love the 70s, there’s just something about the curved lines, the colors, and the feeling of that era that is simply emblematic of what it means to have a beach ride.

A Beach Ride Sampler

Peter and Carol Krogh’s 1957 Willy’s Jeep Truck
Photo Credit : John Annetti
The Fenway seats were a gift from Peter’s friend.
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Lee Milazzo’s 1965 Chevy Corvair Greenbrier
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Christian Naylor’s 1969 Ford Bronco
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Beach drives in the 1969 Ford Bronco.
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Nick Johnson’s 1975 VW Thing
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Pat Levesque’s 1978 Ford Bronco
Photo Credit : John Annetti
The 1978 Ford Bronco’s perfect beach ride interior.
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Vineyard Vines co-owner Ian Murray’s 1986 Jeep CJ7
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Hydrangeas and beach rides are the perfect summer match.
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Jeffrey Sudikoff’s 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Photo Credit : John Annetti
Andrea Weiss’ 1999 Jeep Wrangler
Photo Credit : John Annetti