|Tracy and Bogey on the beach at Ocean Bay Park|
Aside from the fact that I was violently attacked by an army of mosquitoes in my sleep the final night of our stay, my Fire Island weekend was both relaxing and fun-filled. The house where we stayed left something, well actually, everything to be desired with the exception of the location. It was by far the diviest place I’ve ever visited. But then again, when at the beach, who stays inside? Luckily for us, we had picture-perfect weather the entire weekend, and spent most of our trip in the great outdoors.
What and where is Fire Island? It’s a popular escape for New Yorkers who do not dig the Hamptons. Although expensive, for the most part, it has not lost its bohemian vibe, and it’s extremely casual, as it should be at the beach. It’s like a town from an earlier era, with everyone riding their bikes and pulling their wagons. People are friendly. They smile all the time. They walk around drinking, their children and pets run free at all hours. It is a rare and special place. With about a dozen towns, Fire Island has something for everyone.
It’s an island with access only by ferry, boat or water taxi, on the eastern side of Long Island. The biggest downside other than the cost of visiting F.I. is the pilgrimage to get there. From Manhattan, the trip is about 55 miles to the ferry, and then it’s about a 20- minute ride. It took us 4 hours, but it was a holiday weekend.
We finally arrived in the evening on Friday and weren’t surprised at the condition of the house. We had decided that we would make the best of it and we did. We immediately “let our hair down, so to speak” like the rest of the islanders. We ventured out to the corner market to grab a few things and spotted some four-legged natives on the way. Fire Island is home to a huge population of white-tailed deer, and they have almost no fear of people. We saw them all weekend in different places and at different times. Because there are no predators, they just hang out with everyone else on the island. Wow! is all I can say.
|Another doe in the woods of Fire Island…|
The hit of the weekend, of course, was our dog. Everywhere we went, Bogey was petted, belly-rubbed, admired, and loved, and we were the envy of all including those with their dogs at home and those who had them on Fire Island. I hate to be one of “those people,” but I have to be. Bogey is a unique dog. Several people said that he was the most beautiful chocolate Lab they had ever seen.
|Bogey is the most beautiful chocolate Labbie, and he loved Fire Island too.|
He is also a dog who will ride a boat and be well-behaved. He is a dog that you can take most anywhere with you including the corner bar when they allow dogs. Yes, there are even bars in Fire Island that allow dogs. Bogey grooved to the band and had a few beers just like we did. Well he might have grooved just a little bit.
The most interesting part of the trip was our time in the eastern end of the island also known as the Pines and Cherry Grove. We took the water taxi to “The Pines” and were amazed at the perfect, well-designed town center. We then walked along the boardwalk and admired all of the modern and meticulous homes. There were very few women or hetero men. This town is primarily for gay men. They were friendly and welcoming, answering our questions since we had no idea where we were going.
We hit the beach to walk west to Cherry Grove. While strolling on the Pines beach, suddenly something was different. OH MY. This beach has optional nude sunbathing. And I mean totally nude. First it was one, then two, then a group, and the farther we walked, we saw more and more nudies. I have never seen so many man parts cumulatively in my entire life. That is probably a good thing.
Then we had a question, and I did it. I approached a group of middle-aged naked men and I asked how far it was to Cherry Grove. They answered me as if they were completely clothed — like they do this every day and it is not big deal! (They more than likely do.) Mike and I both thought this was the coolest thing. How wonderful to be so secure in your body and your being that you just don’t care. I love it. There were even a few children here and there on this beach. I presume they have very cool, liberal parents, or perhaps they ended up on the wrong beach.
Since there’s no traffic on the island, other than police. fire, lifeguards, and golf carts, we made great use of our legs and feet. We also took water taxis, and outdoorsy Mike used the neighbor’s kayak. Bogey swam every day and night. Mostly we just hung out and chilled.
|Bogey greeted Mike after his kayak adventure.|
I’ve been to quite a few beaches, but there’s no place like Fire Island. Laid back, casual, both a quiet getaway and a party place, with sugar-sand, wide beaches and no vehicles, this is the ultimate beach destination for me in the Northeast. Fire Island, I will be back.
|Fire Island, see you soon!|