Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | August 7, 2019

A Visit to Cherry Grove, Fire Island

By Ernest Barteldes


Cherry Grove Beach/Ernest Barteldes


Ever since we discovered Fire Island, not a summer goes by without at least one visit, even if it’s just for the one-day trips offered by the Long Island Rail road during the period between Memorial and Labor Day. Admittedly, it makes for a very long day (especially for us, who come all the way from Staten Island), but it’s worth every minute because you will not find a cleaner or nicer beach in New York.

As we have done in previous trips, we chose the community of Cherry Grove for our latest visit, which took place in early August. We like going there because it is more laid-back than other parts of the island and also because it is one of the few villages with ferries running every hour during summer (The Kismet Ferry, for instance, runs every 90 minutes or so).


The Ferry

The day before, I prepared some ham pate and a noodle salad and also stocked up on wine, water and juice. We woke up early the next day and headed to Penn Station, where we took the train to Sayville on Long Island. The train was emptier than usual, but I guess that happened because we chose to go on a Sunday because the weather forecast had not been promising for Saturday. We reached the ferry station about 25 minutes before the scheduled ferry, so we stopped by the local bar for a cold beer before we got on. On the way there we met a dear friend (the same we had gone on the previous weekend’s wine trip), who brought along a co-worker to join us at the beach.


The Pier on Fire Island

We reached Cherry Grove at around noon and headed straight to the beach, where we set up a few yards from the water. The beach was not very crowded, and had the usual mix of clothed, nude and topless sunbathers. The day was incredibly hot, but there was a nice breeze to cool us off as we enjoyed the sand. The water, by contrast, was very cold but I still took a few dips – it was too good to resist. In between conversations, I picked up my trusty ukulele and played a few songs, which got the attention of a nearby sunbather who complimented me for my playing.

After about three hours or so in the sun, we headed back to the village, where we stopped for a drink at Top of The Bay, a nice little bistro on the top floor of a house close to the ferry. We chose that one for one simple reason: it was the sole air-conditioned bar in the area (Cherry’s and others are pretty much in open space), and we needed a break from the heat. We enjoyed a couple of cocktails (they had a 2-for-one happy hour deal) as we waited for the boat that would take us back to Long Island.

In spite of the intense heat it was a very enjoyable day – I hope we can head there again before the end of the “unofficial” summer season on Labor Day.



  1. Sounds like a great day at the beach

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