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A Day in Cherry Grove, Fire Island

3 menPhoto: Robbie Imes

If you haven't noticed, summer is here, and it's glorious. In New York City the days are hot and the nights have cooled down to a perfect 75 degrees. But that doesn't mean a quick getaway is out of the question. Out on Fire Island, it's even more splendid -- and we're not talking about all the muscles at Middle Tea in The Pines.

If you're looking for all the beach and more of a mixed scene (in all senses of that word), head to Fire Island's other town, Cherry Grove, for the perfect dog-days-of-summer escape. What the residents fondly refer to simply as "The Grove," is a laid-back and salt-sprayed, car-free community of boardwalks and ramshackle bungalows that transport visitors to bohemian Vacationland. More here than just sun, sea, and carefree weekend love affairs, there's also some tried-and-true businesses that beat at the heart of the community. Below, a quick rundown for making a day of it.

3 menPhoto: Robbie Imes

If you haven't noticed, summer is here, and it's glorious. In New York City the days are hot and the nights have cooled down to a perfect 75 degrees. But that doesn't mean a quick getaway is out of the question. Out on Fire Island, it's even more splendid -- and we're not talking about all the muscles at Middle Tea in The Pines.

If you're looking for all the beach and more of a mixed scene (in all senses of that word), head to Fire Island's other town, Cherry Grove, for the perfect dog-days-of-summer escape. What the residents fondly refer to simply as "The Grove," is a laid-back and salt-sprayed, car-free community of boardwalks and ramshackle bungalows that transport visitors to bohemian Vacationland. More here than just sun, sea, and carefree weekend love affairs, there's also some tried-and-true businesses that beat at the heart of the community. Below, a quick rundown for making a day of it.

As soon as the morning ferry hits the dock (fell that sense of calm already?), venture over to Floyd's for an AM nosh: freshly baked bread surrounding thick slices of bacon, gooey egg and cheese is a breakfast sandwich done right. 

At The Ice Palace, Saturdays and Sundays are host to the Pool Show. With renowned drag divas Logan Hardcore, Ariel Sinclair, Dallas DuBois, and of course Porsche, it's the most outrageous and fun spectacle in town. Don't forget your pina colada or frozen margarita, made by the sweetest shirtless bar staff one can find. 

When high noon hits, cool down with an ice cream cone from Sweet Licks, a favorite of Cherry Grove residents. With an array of flavors and toppings, you can't go wrong (don't tell your waistline), and the rainbow-painted facade is pure gay photo op kitsch. After your sugar high, pop on into Island Breeze, the welcome windows to Cherry Grove located right on the dock. With a personable staff and delicious frozen drinks plus a full lunch and dinner menu, this is the quintessential local watering hole. Nearby, Cherry Grove Pizza offers hearty slices should you want a quicker drunk munchie fix. 

Or make your way instead to Jumping Jack's Seafood Shack for beautiful sea views and impromptu piano numbers over dinner. Hands down the most delicious seafood in town, the tuna steak is a tasty reward after a long hard day of drag shows and sunbathing on the beach. 

Cap off the eve at Cherry's. No weekend in The Grove would be complete without carousing in this bayside joint.
The staff is full of smiles, the drinks are well-priced, and the sunsets spectacular. With nightly DJs and their own drag line-up (Bianca Del Rio, Gusty Winds, Sable Scities and Renee Flaming), this bayside bar will suit all of your after-dark needs, including late night snacks.

If you're able to stay overnight -- we recommend booking into crazy kooky cool guesthouse The Belvedere -- make it a Friday when the Ice Palace plays host to Daniel Nardicio's long-running and infamous underwear party, a night of frisky fun defined. Low-key, judgement-free and all about the funz, it's Fire Island at its best.

-- ROBBIE IMES

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