By Barbara Kent

he only sound louder than the surf on Fire Island is the chatter of ice in thousands of glasses at Happy Hour as the sun sets into the Great South Bay. Towns with exotic names like Atlantique, Cherry Grove, Fair Harbor, Kismet, Lonelyville, Ocean Beach, The Pines, Robbin's Rest, Seaview and Watch Hill most certainly must harbor adventure!

Imagine Cape Cod a hundred years ago--no roads, no cars, no trains-- accessible only by boat. Located a scant 90 minutes from New York City including the breezy ferry ride across Great South Bay, Fire Island is a ěhappy surpriseî vacation spot. One hot Summer afternoon at Lighthouse Beach, I chatted with a Norwegian family who spend a month of every summer in a house on Fire Island. I asked them why they come so far to vacation on a public beach. The woman laughed. ěDonít you know that European beaches are not fit for humans?î No, I did not know. She gestured to the sugar white sands rolling to the Mighty Blue Atlantic and said ěHere, the beaches are clean, and the people polite, and there are no bandits! And we are so close to New York City!î HE added ěAnd it is affordable...î

The Atlantic Ocean is as cold as a frozen Margarita on the south side of the island, while the Bay on north side is warmed by the setting sun. The island was created for such activities as Fishing, Boating, Para Sailing, Jet skiing and Water skiing.

Getting there is an adventure in and of itself...The town of Islip runs its own ferry from the Bay Shore Marina to Atlantique between July 4th and Labor Day. Atlantique is a very laid-back residential town with a marina, barbecue pits, a basketball court, handball court and a volleyball net. There are bathrooms and phones at the marina,but no shower or locker facilities. There are also no shops or restaurants, in fact no markets of any sort. There are however, some spectacular summer rentals and incredible sunsets

In absolute contrast, Cherry Grove is the most famous and outrageous town on the Island. It might even be the most outrageous town in the world. Alternative lifestyle friendly, Cherry Grove is the epicenter of High Camp and Outreí fashion. The shops and restaurants are all artfully and gaily colored and built on many levels. The highlight of the Season is the ěAnnual Invasion of the Pines from the Groveî which takes place this year on July 2, 2000 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 AM!!! If you have never witnessed this event, you simply must make it at least once in your lifetime. With tons of mascara and lipstick, wigs and bustiers, in fine Fire Island tradition on July 4th weekend scads of Cherry Grove ěfemalesî invade The Pines, another Fire Island town. At the end of the Season, there is the 35th Annual Miss Fire Island Contest on September 9, 2000 from12:00 PM to 6:30 PM. In between, Cherry Grove parties, all day, all night.

Located within Brookhaven Township, Davis Park consists of a town operated Marina with boat slips, power and water for vessels from 16 feet up to about 50 feet. Davis Park is mostly geared to families, but it is also home to many older singles whose parties might be a tad less colorful than those at Cherry Grove. Summer rentals are available at a fairly reasonable price. There is also The Casino Cafe, which is open full-time, all summer. The ferry service to Davis Park is located at Sandspit Marina in Patchogue. Davis Park is the Easternmost town on Fire Island.

Fair Harbor has an attractrive mix of young/old/single/familied people. Many are former residents of KISMET, which was taken over by the ěunder 30 crowd.î As a result, much of the 30's and 40's crowd has moved up the beach to Fair Harbor, especially singles.The Fourth of July weekend, offers a selection of parties, including the "Annual Christmas/Chanukah Party". Many residents will be make the mile walk or bike ride to Kismet's annual July 4th Block Party on East Lighthouse. There will be parades in Ocean Beach and Kismet. The major weekend ritual is the Saturday night sunset dock party. Fire Islanders from near by meet at the dock during the hour or so before sunset to meet, greet and nose around, enjoy a drink and the exquisite sunset.

Singles HOTSPOTS not withstanding, Kismet no longer is. Having aged gracefully into young families and couples in their 30's and 40's, casual and laid back, group rentals make up a large percentage of the Kismet summer community. Suffolk County Police presence assures much less public drunkenness than previously. Home to three restaurants, that attract young singles, there is also a market and a small liquor store, a children's playground and tennis courts. Kismet is Fire Islandís westernmost town.

Dubbed ěThe Land of NOî, Ocean Beach is the spot where you will find yourself at least once during your stay. With the most shops, restaurants and hotels of any town on the island Ocean Beach is where itís all happening. Recently some of the rules/laws have been relaxed so that at the moment, it might actually be legal to barbecue at your own house, but I donít think you can eat an ice cream cone on the street! It is still the most popular town on the island since families, as well as singles live here. At ten on any Saturday night, you can watch the conga line of partiers head to Ocean Beach to go dancing and drinking without the headache of driving.

Ocean Bay Park is a very young party town. A day here is "party at your house- head to Happy Hour- barbecue at home- head to Ocean Beach-return to party at your house.î There is a grocery store, three bar-restaurants, two pizza places, and a bagel shop. Not civilized, but not the jungle, either. ěOBPî is how ěHappy Hourî is spelled. It is full by 7:00 on Saturday Night, and does not stop until the following Tuesday.

Sophisticated and as tasteful as a beach community can be, The Pines is a study in architecutral delight. The largest community on the Island, The Pinesí most dramatic event of course, is the siege of the Invasion From the Grove.

Beautiful and peaceful, Watch Hill is afamily community, accessible by private boat, ferry (from Patchogue), or a short walk from Davis Park. Watch hill boasts a 200 slip marina, camp sites, nature walks, public showers and a clean, wide, life-guarded beach. A small, well stocked general store, snack bar and pizzeria are open daily.

Where to Eat, Drink and Make Merry:

Flynn's
Ocean Bay Park
Fire Island, NY 11706
583-5000
The premier restaurant on Fire Island. Dinner cruises on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in July and August. Every Friday night the live band starts at ten, and Flynnís still has the Islands biggest happy hour. Reggae, with BIG BAMBU on deck on Sunday 5-9. Full menu, full bar. See your host, Tim Flynn.

Albatross
Bayview & Denhoff
Ocean Beach, NY 11706
583-5697
Full operation full bar full menu. The Albatross is alive and well here, on the beach, where every night is a special occasion.

Bocce Beach Restaurant
Evergreen & Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-8100
Open bar full swing full menu, catering in house and off premises, simply everything. Wednesday nights is the baby back rib special...dinner music, live bands all summer.

China Beach
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11706
583-0200
Specialty is very spicy....The ONLY Chinese food and SUSHI (out of the water) on the Island! That seems to be quite enough, too.

C J's Allegro
479 Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-5120

Matthew's
On the Bay/East Side of OB
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-8016
Special events...full bar...

Island Mermaid
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-8088

Maguire's Bay Front Restaurant
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-8800

Ocean Beach Bakery & Restaurant
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-5953

Ocean Beach Grill
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-9292

Ocean Beach Inn
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-9292

Rachel's Bakery and Restaurant
Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-5953

Rizzi Michael
Dock Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
597-6555

Village Cafe
310 Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-8300

Michael's Ristorante & Pizzeria
786 Evergreen Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-7858

Town Pizza
317 Bay Walk
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
583-7774

Kismet Inn & Marina (The Inn)
Oak Walk
Kismet, NY 11706
583-5592

The Out Restaurant
Bay Walk
Kismet, NY 11706
583-7400

Sunset Grill At Le Dock
Bay Walk
Fair Harbor, NY 11706
583-5200

The Dock
Bay Walk
Fair Harbor, NY 11706
583-5200

Sandcastle
85 Compass Walk
Fire Island, NY 11706
583-0375

Wa Wa Yanda
85 Compass Walk
Fire Island, NY 11706
583-0375

Seashore Inn
Watch Hill
Fire Island, NY 11706
597-6655

Watch Hill Marina-Restaurant
Watch Hill
Fire Island, NY 11706
597-6655

Cherry Grove Bakery & Restaurant
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-4174

Michael's Restaurant
Dock Walk
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-6555

Monster The
Ocean Walk
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-6888

Rachel's at the Grove
Oceanfront Dining
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-4174

Suzy Wrong
Ocean Walk
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-7037

Top Of The Bay
Dock Walk
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-6699

Cherry Grove Pizzeria & Ristorante Inc
East Walk
Cherry Grove, NY 11782
597-6766

Cultured Elephant
Harbor Walk
Fire Island Pines, NY 11782
597-6010

The Casino Cafe
On The Ocean
Davis Park, NY
597-6150

The Island Club
40 Fire Island Boulevard, NY
Telephone: 631-597-6001
Fire Island Pines

Where to Stay:

Where to Stay:

Fire Island Hotel & Resort
583-8000

Belvedere Guest House (For Men)
597-6448
Cherry Grove

Pines and Dunes Yacht Club and Botel
597-6131

Jerry's Accomodations
583-8870

Seashore Condos
583-5860

Cherry Grove Beach Hotel
597-6600

Place In The Sun
583-5716

Cleggs Hotel
583-5399

Four Seasons
468 Denhoff Walk
583-8295

Houser Hotel
583-8900

Ice Palace
Telephone:
631-597-6600
Cherry Grove

Pavilion
631-597-6131
Fire Island Pines

For Ferry Schedules, go to:

www.fireislandbeaches.com
www.fireisland.net
www.fireisland.com