A couple weeks ago we vacationed on a tiny part of Fire Island on Long Island with three other families who were based out of New York (Kendra, Joanna, and Sharon). It was the most magical place, and so simple. No cars (you arrive by ferry): just boardwalks, 4 stores (market, ice cream, seafood restaurant, beach gear) and beautiful sunsets every evening on the sound side. We rented two houses across from each other and we didn’t wear shoes all week or open our laptops (barely). One end of the boardwalk was the beach (beautiful too), and the other end was the sound. So simple! Which was great because mostly it was just moms and kids, some husbands arrived later in the week (and mine was tied up whispering instructions to Martha at Alt Summit).
It was kind of a last minute decision to go, Summer Alt was happening that same week which I was bummed to miss, but it was so so nice to have a break from work and impossible not to relax on this trip, even without Jared there to help with the kids. I’ve been so excited to share with you these photos. I’m already planning another trip back.
Keep reading for more about Fire Island and tons more photos… (also check out Joanna’s report here)
Photography by Liz Stanley
We spent the mornings on the beach, although I often had to head back early to give Edie a nap. Some days I’d nap with her in bed and other days I’d wheel her around on those bumpy boardwalks until she fell asleep in the stroller and then let her sleep in the shade while I read a book on the patio.
Around midday everyone would come home for lunch and afterwards we’d head straight for the ice cream shop which was across the street from the sound and playground. This is where we’d spend a good part of the afternoon:
In the late afternoon we’d get out of the sun for a while and veg out around the house before dinner. We made seed bead necklaces (more on that later), had a treasure hunt, and even a talent show (and admittedly, some iPad time as well).
After dinner we’d walk over to the sound side (often in our pjs) to enjoy the incredible sunsets and welcome the last ferry coming in for the day. Something so romantic and dramatic about the ferry arrivals and departures! We had heard that Tina Fey has a house in this tiny Fire Island community of Fair Harbor and spends most of her summers there so we had our eyes peeled all week for her. Lucky duck Kendra had a ferry ride back with Tina Fey and her two girls, just a few hours after we left!
The rental house Kendra and I shared was awesome. It was newly renovated and you could tell that the owners had spent years living in a beach house because everything was perfectly suited for the beach, including the spa-quality outdoor shower that smelled like cedar. I took every shower in that thing, even in middle of the night when I clearly had not just come from the beach. Every detail was so well thought out, from the kitchen stocked with basics to the kiddie pool and beach chairs on the deck. I would stay there again in a heart beat!
Meals had to be super simple because the food at the market was insanely expensive (even for San Francisco). A box of cereal cost $8, a small bag of cherries cost $17, and 1 zucchini cost $6 (the last of which seriously made me laugh. Those things are given away in most parts of the country!). So we went super simple with quesadillas, corn salad, buttered noodles and frozen peas, and frozen dixie cup lemonade popsicles for afternoon snacks. One day, yes, I did make a key lime pie (ice cream pie for the kids). It was worth our life savings in limes and I’d do it again, damn it.
The boardwalks everywhere! We had to walk with our bags from the ferry and the instructions to the rental were ‘walk two blocks and take a left’. Turns out the ‘blocks’ were just boardwalks, not actual streets. How charming is that!
(Not a bad place to nurse a baby either…)
Finally had a chance to put Edie in all those cute summer dresses I have collected but never get to use here in SF! Too many baby dresses, not enough days.
Every house had a couple wagons designated for transporting bags to and from the ferry or market. Of course, we used them to transport kids to and from the beach, market, and everywhere in between.
Kid heaven! Between the four families there were so many kids around his age. There was always something crazy and exciting going on.
The kids rode this one little tricycle around everywhere. It cracked me up seeing Henry’s long legs on that thing (and how cool is Toby above it?).
Plans to build a fort when they got back to the house. Items needed: 4 blankets, 5 pillows, 6 chairs, 2 beds, 1 pile of storage (for iPads, Henry informed me later).
On the last day my brother Spencer and his wife Erica came from Manhattan! Love them. They brought cheap junk food we all devoured and Spencer is a superior uncle, building sand castles with the kids all day while I sat with this little lady below. They were really sweet to help me take the ferry, taxi, train back to Manhattan Saturday evening. Not sure I could have done it without them.
And just one more sunset picture to wrap things up:
I found myself comparing it to our Outer Banks of North Carolina vacation the whole week. A completely different trip for many reasons but just as beautiful! Where’s your favorite summer spot to vacation with your family?