People have been visiting Fire Island for years. It was once a place where artists and writers would find peace and quiet they required in order to spur their creativity. It is now a summer haven for New Yorkers looking for an Island atmosphere just outside the city.
You can spend the weekend sunning on the beach or partying at an afternoon disco. Spend the evening dining in a restaurant overlooking the bay and then dance, dance, dance until dawn at one of the local discos.
There are only a few hotels on Fire Island that take weekend reservations, so be sure to make your reservations well in advance.
After your first weekend visit, you may find that Fire Island is a place you want to visit often, even if it’s only for a day on the beach.
The following hotels have rooms to rent for weekenders at reasonable rates.
Flynn’s Ocean Front Hotel
(516) JU 3 -5000 Clegg’s Hotel
Most restaurants require dinner reservations a day in advance. These are the more popular eating places.
The Fire Island Botel (516) 597-6500: The chef recommends their Clam Soup Bisque, cantaloupe stuffed with Alaskan crab and their weekend special, lobster.
The Lemon Tree (5I6) 597-6719: Specialty is seafood and steak. Open deck overlooking the harbor. (Have dinner by candlelight.) They have delicious Brandy Alexander pie.
The Monster (516) 597-6888: Specialty is seafood and Italian cuisine. Stuffed lobster $17, appetizers $6.75, entrées, $17. They have a Sunday brunch from noon to 4 P.M.
All of these restaurants become discos at night except The Botel, which has its disco in the afternoon. Another very popular disco on Fire Island is The Ice Palace. It’s a fabulous place and draws a huge crowd on the weekends.
Getting There: Fire Island is virtually inaccessible by car, and there are no roads on the island for driving. Take the Long Island Railroad and then ferry across the bay. For railroad schedules call (212) 739-4200. For ferry information call Fire Island Ferries, Inc. (516) MO 5-5045. Fire Island also has a water taxi service (Randy’s and Sally’s, 516-589-3622) so that you can avoid that long trudge on the beach from one community to another.
Montauk is at the very tip of Long Island. It’s a beautiful place with a rustic atmosphere. If you enjoy fishing or walking on the beach or good, fresh seafood, you must visit Montauk. If you like beach combing, you’ll find those strange stones that over the years turn into beautiful colored glass. But, Montauk is really famous for its shark fishing.
Because Montauk was once the place to be in the summer for the very rich, it is definitely ready for tourists. There are many good restaurants and hotels, and marinas galore. For such a small town, Montauk has a lot to offer its visitors.
Gurney’s Inn (516 668-2345), This is one of the nicest places to stay in Montauk. They also have a very good restaurant, tennis courts, golf, horseback riding and fishing. Double room rates are $68 to $90.
Driftwood on the Ocean (516 668-5744), located on the waterfront, they have tennis courts, a beautiful beach and a pool. Double rooms are $68 to $90.
Gosman’s (516-668-9837), Gosman’s restaurant is a huge place that has the best lobster in town. They also have a view of the water. Prices are moderate.
Rogers by The Deep Sea Club (516 688-3330). Rogers has a great view of the water and great food to go with it. They also serve seafood at moderate prices.
For fishing, there are motor launches to take you out for a half day or a full day of deep sea fishing. A few of the marinas are Captain’s Marina (516-668-5705), Cove Marina (516 688-5995) Deep Sea Marina (516-668-2166).
Getting There: The Long Island Rail Road leaves Penn Station three times a day for Montauk $5.55 each way. It’s a four-hour ride.
I think a lot of people feel that if they don’t have a summer house in East Hampton or know someone who has, they may as well forget about a weekend stay out there. However, there are hotels that have weekend accommodations, with golf and tennis facilities; so if that’s where you’d like to go, there’s no reason why you should wait until someone invites you to their summer house. By the way, I have heard that East Hampton is going to be swinging this summer.
The Southhampton Inn (516-283-6500): Has a pool, tennis courts, golf, fishing, horseback riding and a good restaurant. $57 to $68 for a double room.
The Spring Close House Restaurant (516-324-0233): Specialty is Italian food. Fettuccine Alfredo, Linguine with white or red clam sauce, veal scaloppini au marsala. Prices are moderate. The Spring Close House also has an outdoor garden for dining.
There are a couple of places on Three Mile Harbor Road to go dancing: The Maidstone, The Light House, and Steve’s Talk House. The funkiest place in town is Pinkney’s in Sag Harbor.
Getting There: The Long Island Railroad goes out there three times a day. When I was a kid, I loved amusement parks, and I’m sure your kids do too. Here are four places you and the kids can get to with little hassle and expense.
Playland Amusement Park is on the Sound at Rye, New York. In addition to nearly 100 rides, games and attractions, Playland has a fine beach and an Olympic-size pool. Driving time from Manhattan is about 40 minutes. Take the New England Thruway to the Playland Parkway, which leads right up to the park’s entrance. Trains leave hourly from Grand Central Station.
Seaside Heights in New Jersey has at least 45 major rides and 260 gaming establishments. There is a small fee for use of the beach and swimming pool. The amusement area is open from 9 a.m. to 3p.m.
Rockaway’s Playland in Queens has more than 65 rides and games, including the famous 85 foot high roller coaster The Atom Smasher. Take IND train to Beach 98th Street Station.
Asbury Park has two main amusement areas and five bathing areas. By car, take the George Washington Bridge to the Garden State Parkway, turn left at Exit 101 into Asbury Avenue Highway, which leads directly into the park.Transit buses leave hourly from Port Authority for Asbury Park. Why not spend a weekend at a resort? There are plenty of great places to visit only a few hours outside of New York City.
The Pine Grove Resort Ranch in Kerhonkson, New York, is only an hour-and-a-half away from the City. The question here would be: Is there anything Pine Grove doesn’t have? For $85 per person, you can spend the weekend swimming, horseback riding and playing golf. They have handball courts, badminton, a rifle range and dancing all weekend. Arte says he’d love to have you, so call him at 212-244-1061. Group rates are slightly lower.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in New York State, has over 200 summer resorts. Most have swimming, tennis, golf and much more. For information: Warren County Publicity Department, Lake George, New York.
Summer will be here any moment now, the vacation fever attack. In our delirium we will skip off to travel agents, check-book in hand and confess to them, our deep-seated fantasies of visiting exotic sea islands with hot, sunny, sandy beaches, strange-colored drinks, moonlight dancing and, if the Gods are with us, Romance.
We will return from our vacation after two or three weeks of sheer pleasure, to our jobs and stare blankly out of windows remembering and wishing we could start our holidays all over again.
Well, take heart fellow traveler. All is not lost after a few weeks of fun. Because right here, a bus ride or car ride away, is all the beauty and pleasure found in those fly away places.