I’ve just returned from a quintessential East Coast summer weekend in Fishers Island, NY. Never heard of it? You wouldn’t be the first. This spit of an island is only nine miles long by a mile wide and without any hotels or restaurants, you will likely only make it there if invited by friends for the weekend. Luckily, I have such friends and therefore had the pleasure of enjoying this island idyll where the cars have hood ornaments (think flying pigs or racing hares) and screen doors squeak with the familiar sound of summer.
At home with friends! With a single grocer on island, a couple of members only clubs, one deli, and maybe a single restaurant, having friends for a sunset BBQ and a signature cocktail is the way to go (dark and stormy). The families here have known each other for generations and like an extended family, everyone brings a dish, a bottle (Gosling’s anyone?), borrows flatware, and helps clean the kitchen late night.
The island-long bike path – added just two years ago – was a highlight for me. A mostly flat ride along boardwalks and pavement where you are assured bunny sightings and perhaps a turtle crossing, and alongside water where swans wade. Look for platforms on the overhead telephone poles where ospreys make their homes, and check out the paintings on the main road. A friend explained, ‘we are allowed to paint the road here, so we do!’ (This apparently happens at 3 a.m. and had me flashing back to memories of my own childhood when we’d ‘borrow’ golf carts and race along the fairways under the moon).
Don your tennis kit and get a match in at the newly renovated Community Center, or hope your friend is a member of the club.
Get on the water. Let’s hope said friends have paddle boards, or better yet, a boat. After living for 14 years in Venice Beach where I lived alongside the water but only ventured in a handful of times, it was wonderful to be on the water, all hair blowing and salt spraying. A special kind of heaven I’ve missed being out west all these years.
Beach of course! Check out Isabella, Chocomount, South Beach, or just park under the iconic blue and white umbrellas at the ‘big’ club. And if you are club bound then leave your mobile at home or be prepared to only use it in the cheeky red phone booth provided for this purpose at the club entrance. Another option is to swim in the ‘tank,’ a perfect old school ‘swimming hole’ located at the end of a dock and complete with a diving board and swimming platform. Members only.
Every island house I visited had piles of books, old board games, sea glass collections and binoculars for bird watching. It took my breath away to see red cardinals streaking across the clover covered ground.
Go see the gardens at Hooverness and take a peek in the glass house to see such works as ‘Sparta’ by Mark di Suvero.
Kinda nothing better than an island bar, especially if it’s the only bar on island. We capped our evenings with dance marathons at The Pequot. A seriously awesome dance floor that lights up in multiple hues a la Saturday Night Fever had me dancing until the wee hours.
Shop The Beach Plum for pink and green island prep and house essentials like beach bags, monogrammed towels, and tumblers or bumper stickers stamped with the iconic image of Fishers Island. For hurricane lamps and a touch of the island sophisticate, hit The Pickett Fence next door and pick up the perfect gift for your host.