So, I realized recently how silly it is to start a travel blog without giving context to where you originally come from. If you can’t rep your own place, then can you really rep other peoples’ places? I think not. So without further ado, here is my home.
I grew up in a little town called Ocean Beach on a little island called Fire Island, which is off the coast of Long Island, off the coast of mainland New York State. It sounds really remote, but it is not so bad. You can get a train to a ferry from Manhattan, so the people that know about my hometown do come in droves. We are what you may consider a resort town, but like every other resort, some stay behind when everyone else leaves.
Growing up, Ocean Beach only had about 100 full-time residents. Our elementary school had about 60 kids in its entirety (it serviced the entire island except for kids going to private school), and my class of 12 was the largest in their history. We are only allowed to drive on and off of the island in the winter, and that is only after an extensive wait list to vet you as a full-time resident. Our winters were rough but incredibly beautiful, summer filled with stunning sunsets and a bit too many people, but lots of fun.
Our little town is considered a “party town” since we have a lot of bar/restaurants in a small block radius, but it is incredibly family-friendly also. There is a camp, basketball courts, three ice cream shops (in a nine block radius- that’s a lot!) and a huge expanse of free beach. And it felt like one of the safest places to call home in this wide world. Even after seeing more of the world, I still feel that way. Even when we do have cars in the winter, the speed limit is 8 MPH, so kids run free in the streets. You know your neighbor always, and every police officer by name. We have clam shucking contests, street art fairs, bicycle permits, and again, the most beautiful sunset on the Northeast coast (if I do say so myself.)
Other communities on “the island” are even more well-known, including, The Pines and Cherry Grove, considered “gay mecca” by many. Here is where disco started, where drag queens come and sing and dance and everyone is welcome. Oscar Wilde even came in the 1800s! Our lighthouse is the fifth tallest in the United States and one of the prettiest (in my humble opinion, of course.)
So come visit my little Isle of Fire. You won’t regret it.