Last weekend we took a trip to Fire Island.
A long strip of sand, separated from Long Island by a bay, which runs for miles along the southern shore of the Island, most of it is only accessible by ferry. Some communities live there year round, but otherwise it is a summer playground for New Yorkers, many of whom club together to rent a house share for the summer.
There are no cars, and people either ride bikes (although these are also banned on busy summer weekends) or drag their belongings around on little wagons. (Americans always have lots of Belongings. Packing light is not really an option for them, judging by the huge coolboxes and bags going over on the ferry).
The white sandy beaches are pristine, with no food or drink allowed, and very 'au naturel' for America - not even a restroom, which is unheard of. For this reason they attract a younger, probably more adventurous crowd than the kind of beaches we usually go to - and this made a welcome change.
Aside from the beach, there are a few restaurants and shops, and the rest of the narrow island is made up of shady little paths lined with beach cottages. Although some look luxurious, some are more basic wooden cottages - just a porch, a few seashells round the door, and a few rooms at the back. Although only a couple of hours' journey from where we live, it seemd like another world; a laid-back, holiday island where time seemed to move slowly.
We had such a perfect day - bodysurfing in the crystal clear water, eating lobster rolls for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay - and I was so taken by the place that I had fantasies of renting a cottage here for a week next year. It turned out they were just that - fantasies. A week in a cottage here costs more than a whole month's rent for our house. And some of the more luxurious cottages...well let's just say we're looking at a cool $16K for house for the month of August. Oh well. Back to the Holiday Inn Express, I suppose...