Vacation Photos: Fire Island

Hello!!! How have you guys been? I feel like I’ve been away from the blog for ages, and I’m looking forward to catching up. We just got back from a week in Fair Harbor, a tiny beach town on Fire Island. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

It’s such a magical place—cars aren’t allowed, so you walk or bike everywhere.

Every rental house also comes with a Radio Flyer wagon for pulling beach chairs, towels and sleepy kiddos.

We’d wake up early and watch the deer eat breakfast. They would come right up to us for a pat on the nose.

Then we’d go to the beach or playground. Not a bad view from the swings, right?

As an aside, I have to say, I’ve really fallen for this little dude, hook, line and sinker. He’s such a gentle soul. It was a joy to have a week to just soak him up.

The town of Fair Harbor boasts five stores: a grocery, a wine shop, a seafood restaurant, an ice-cream shop and a general store selling postcards, kites and buckets. That’s it!

The only rule for the kids all week? They had to get ice cream every day, LIKE IT OR NOT. (I also rediscovered Moose Tracks, which I ate almost every night back in high school. So good.)

Another bonus: Shoes are totally optional, even at the grocery store. Everyone goes barefoot. I didn’t wear shoes for the whole week and actually had to search for them when we packed up yesterday!

We sometimes did an activity in the afternoon, like a lemonade stand…

Or a talent show! Talents, somewhat loosely defined, included making rude sounds with an armpit…

…and a nonsensical improvised speech about ice cream performed by this duo.

Our husbands joined us for the weekend. It was fun to wait for the evening ferry and try to spot them on the deck.

Alex came out on Friday night to great fanfare :)

In the evenings, we’d return to the beach to soak up that golden light.

Alex snapped these shots of Anton and me, which reminded me of these old photos with Toby!

Before bedtime, the toddlers were allowed to watch a TV show. Toby, a lifelong romantic, would pick his friend up in “a carriage” (red wagon) and bring her over for “a date.” These photos made me laugh, since my sister’s friend calls television a tranquilizer gun for kids.

Finally, once the babies were asleep, we’d hang out just grown-ups. One night, Alex and I snuck out to dinner…

…but mostly we’d just have girl talk and hang. (It felt like a week of mama/baby sleepovers:) Overall it was the vacation we all needed—to just laze around, hang out and eat too much ice cream.

And one final thing: Tina Fey actually vacations in Fair Harbor, and we spotted her at the ferry on our last day! We tried to act cool, but we basically looked like this. :)

Anyway, hope you had a good week. Now back to reality! Lots of love, xoxo

P.S. For those who are interested in visiting, we rented two houses through VRBO, and there are also great listings on Homeaway and Fire Island Living.

(Photos by Alex and me, plus a couple from Liz and Kendra.)

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  2. Lauren h says...

    I see myself in one of those pics hah:)

  3. Meredith says...

    i would seriously love to know which house you rented that had deer coming up to you for food. This sounds like exactly what I need for a vacation right now! So completely perfect! Thanks for sharing, your photos are amazing and I love hearing all about it!

  4. this vacation sounds flipping perfect!!! no shoes, no cars, only 5 little shops, ice cream everyday, Momma sleepover, beach, sunset and wine. SWOON *-* I dream of trips like this when i’m a bit older, ( working on my first babe, and so’s my best friend!) We and our husbands dream of trips like this to Mexico someday with our littles. I love this post!!!!

  5. Toby and his romanticism get me every time! I LOVE it. Also for the past three summers I’ve been part of a share in FH. It’s a magical little place – with or without Tina Fey sightings! I saw your other post mentioning you were moving to Carroll Gardens. We’ll be neighbors. Hope to run into you all around the hood!


  6. What a wonderful post. My family started going to Davis Park 50 years ago this summer. (I am 54.) We did the SAME things your family and friends did, except that there was only one store and nothing else. We loved the radio flyer wagons and going barefoot (my father pulled splinters out of our feet every night). We didn’t have any electricity or phones back then. Appliances were powered by gas and we had kerosene lanterns. We played lots of board games and listened to transistor radios. I still remember learning “I Want to Hold Your Hand” from my older cousins’ radio. It is so nice to know that things haven’t changed much on Fire Island!
    -Karen in Newtown, CT

  7. Totally went with Fiji on my toes today – thanks! A great color!

  8. Stop! Anton is getting TOO BIG and SO ADORABLE! I can’t believe how time flies! I still see my little one as a baby, even though he’s almost two and telling knock-knock jokes. (I mean…)

    That vacation looks amazing. I actually looked up Fire Island for the fourth of July, but clearly I’m on the only person on earth who waits until the last minute to book their 4th of July vacation. Another time…it looks perfect.

    And speaking of Tina Fey, I ran smack into Amy Poehler the other day as she was walking home. I was not as cool as you and totally nerded out. Then ran up to the apt and my husband and I peeked out our window to watch where she went. I need to get out more…

  9. What an incredible time!? I wish Mackinaw Island was like this instead of… well you know.

  10. this looks like the most amazing vacation ever

  11. Love the sunset shots! Beautiful!!

  12. Your trip looked amazing. I am an avid reader of your blog…I live on Long Island and go to Fire island every weekend! My boyfriend of three years and I met on Fire Island. I was a lifeguard there for 5 years (in Ocean Beach) and he grew up in Atlantique (year-round!). We saw Tina Fey last weekend there too! We just signed a lease for a one bedroom apartment in Park Slope…your blog is definitely going to be useful for decorating ideas (especially your house tours)!

  13. This is one of the most beautiful blog potsts (pictures, words, kiddos, beach, sunsets, ferries) I’ve ever read. So much love! I must now research Fair Harbor as I must go there! I think my kids, the hubby and I would love it!


  14. So beautiful! Glad you could enjoy a week off.

  15. Waiting for the ferry, so romantic. It reminds me of what my dad recently told me about one of the beach towns close to my city. years ago the women and their children with their nannies/housekeepers would spend the summer at the cabins and on the weekends the men would take the train up to see their families. I wish I could go back in time and live then.

  16. Wow! It looks like the perfect holiday spot and the perfect holiday memories for your kids! So awesome.

  17. That vacation looks like a dream!! Moose tracks is my favorite ice cream. And I kind of kept waiting for you to say you spotted a celeb because it’s close to the city and looks absolutely dreamy. Were her kids with her? And husband? Oh my word I would completely lose it if i saw her

  18. This place looks and sounds amazing (as I’m in total wanderlust typing at my desk)!! I was just curious – with it being such a small town (and this may sound stupid), but did you run out of things to do, especially for the kids? I mean, any kid would probably be fine with playing at the beach all day I realize, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. Thanks!!
    P.S. little A is such a cutie! And the picture of Toby and his friend giving their “speech” is totally priceless. Ah, to be a carefree kid again…

  19. This place looks and sounds amazing (as I’m in total wanderlust typing at my desk)!! I was just curious – with it being such a small town (and this may sound stupid), but did you run out of things to do, especially for the kids? I mean, any kid would probably be fine with playing at the beach all day I realize, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. Thanks!!
    P.S. little A is such a cutie! And the picture of Toby and his friend giving their “speech” is totally priceless. Ah, to be a carefree kid again…

  20. I love what you said about Anton – I fell for my son hook line and sinker when he was born 4 years ago. I also noticed your little walker :) How sweet.

  21. Beautiful photography! Sounds like such a perfect time. :)

  22. Amazing, stunning photos!!!! Also, Anton is just ADORABLE. I love him.

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  24. That looks so dreamy, Jo! So stoked you guys could just get away. I felt relaxed just skimming the photos and reading your captions. Xo.

  25. I need a vacation like this! Ice cream and no shoes??? Sounds fantastic to me. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Cute pictures. Toby is such a cute little boy. Not really a toddler any more but his brother sure is. Love when they start toddling around. Love summer memories.

  27. What kind of camera do you use? I always love your posts and photos!

  28. Wow what a great fashion sense you have :) i love it great.

  29. Hi Joanna!! I was wondering what camera you use? Your photos are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing. :) Sounds like a lovely getaway!


  30. Your trip looks dreamy!

  31. Looks amazing!!! Wonderful pictures!

    As a native Northern Californian (Lived in NYC for 2 years and missed it too much. Been back 7 yrs now, with an almost 4 yr old and happier than ever) some of the best go to walkable, beachy/coastal, beautiful towns would be:

    Further North:
    Pt. Reyes
    Russian River
    Stinson Beach
    Bodega Bay

    Wine Country:
    Healdsburg (Inland not super close, but within driving distance to water, beautiful)
    St. Helena (Same as Healdsburg)

    Heading South:
    Santa Cruz (Much busier than any of the other recommendations, every exit off of the highway leads you to water)

    Aptos, Capitola (Santa Cruz County)

    Big Sur

    After that you are heading towards the beginnings of Southern California:

    Morro Bay
    San Luis Obispo


  32. heavenly heavenly heavenly!

  33. Absolutely beautiful. Like something out of time.

  34. These are such gorgeous photos. Did you take most of them? And moose tracks ice cream is the best. xx

  35. Such great photos! You look fabulour – Toby the romantic (isn’t this his little friend who is moving?) and Anton’s chubby legs – too sweet! I can’t get over how blond he is though!

  36. Fire Island looks idyllic, Joanna – and, because I know you hail from Michigan (my family and I live in East Lansing), I have to tell you that I think you would love Beaver Island (the largest of an archipelago of islands off of Charlevoix). This is where I spent my summers growing up and where my husband and I now love to take our little girls. While cars are allowed on the island (it is 20+ miles long), and the harbor boasts a large grocery, Irish pub, ice cream and gift shops, it remains a beautifully remote place where time stands still and the days roll into one other.
    Cheers from a longtime, albeit silent, fan!

  37. Great dress. Where is it from?

  38. What a lovely trip, sounds like a little piece of heaven.

  39. Looks wonderful. So glad you took a well-deserved
    break. But, so happy to have you back online:)

  40. Monterey is gorgeous! Last time we were there was for our baby moon…it may be a better choice for a toddlers for sure!! I will Google too! Haha! Lake Tahoe, Muir Woods….I need water though it makes a difference. Portland is on our list too. Though… I’m still dreaming of Fire Island!! Haha!

  41. Did you stay on Walnut? That house looks so familiar

  42. Moose tracks ice cream is the best summertime vacation ice cream hands down. It was a childhood staple and still is when we go on vacation!

  43. looks and sounds like the perfect time.

  44. Fire Island – looks like a slice of heaven.

  45. I love your pictures! They are making long for lazy beach days. Sunset, when everyone’s showered and a bit burned, is the best. I’m curious how you handled meals. Did you & your friends trade off cooking for everyone? Cook together? Did you bring your groceries from NYC or shop when you got there? A real vacation to me is when I don’t have to cook dinner, but if there is only 1 restaurant in town, I guess that is not an every night option.

  46. That picture of Alex kissing you is the picture of love!! Thanks for spreading your joy :)

  47. Welcome back! It looks like you had a lovely trip! XO

  48. Looks like such a lovely, amazing, fun time! I’m adding it to my summer vacation dream list.

    And I can’t believe you guys saw Tina Fey on the ferry! If it were me, I’d be seriously/secretly be hoping that Tina was an avid reader of the blog and then decided she should hang out with me next time on Fire Island.

  49. Ahhhh…everything is right in my world. You are back on my Bloglovin feed. I really missed you guys!
    I am very glad that you had some rest. The pictures are heavenly.
    P.S. I swear I am not a creepy stalker.

  50. This looks so great. I am seriously jealous of the get-away of it all. Glad you had a relaxing vacation!

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  52. Great idea – I don’t have children but remember my mother and her friend taking all of us to Amsterdam for a week of vacation when we lived in Europe – two mom’s, four children under 5 and a charming little pension. Still remembered in detail because I lost my BELOVED stuffed monkey there…

  53. Wow… what a cute and twee place!! I wish I were there right now. *sigh*

  54. Beautiful! You always have such great vacation recaps! If you’re looking for a great summer read you should pick up The Last Summer of You and Me- by Ann Brashares. It’s an easy, touching read that is mainly set on Fire Island!

  55. I’m embarrassed to say that the last time I was on Fire Island was about 20 years ago. As a native LI’er I should’ve made several trips back. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Great pictures!

  56. Fire Island is the BEST. A bunch of us from my PhD program go there every year the weekend after Labor Day. It’s so restorative and such a nice way to cap off summer (that we’ve all spent in lab). The houses can be so quirky too, our first year we stayed in “The Love Shack” and last year our house had a psychedelic mural on the wall. Wild!

  57. Great snapshot.

    Looks so carefree and full of life.

  58. this totally looks and sounds dreamy! and…”a grocery, a wine shop, a seafood restaurant, an ice-cream shop and a general store…” I think this is all I need to survive hehe …loved it!

  59. I grew up about 75 miles north of NYC and used to drive to Fire Island for beach days. I’ve never seen this side of it before, though, with the towns and everything. I didn’t even realize that stuff existed there! We would just drive there, park at the beach and spend the day. Looks like a lovely time!

  60. Those sunsets… I need a vacation.

  61. Monterey?! California! It’s only a matter of time now it seems. Good luck with the move 😉

  62. I love the barefeet, few restaurants, boardwalks, and no cars rule. Sounds like a blissful retreat for a family.

  63. lendy, that’s so funny that you asked because i was literally just googling “walkable small towns” (because i am suddenly daydreaming about moving to one), and the search led me to monterey. have you been there? i haven’t, but it looks beautiful in photos :)

  64. rebecca, it’s essie fiji (my go-to summer color). and alison, movie night didn’t happen when we were there, but i think june is still considered off season? maybe it will start up in july. they do have a new fire house after Hurricane Sandy, so not sure if that affects it. i remember the movie night from a few years ago and it was so cute!

  65. @peonies, haha you made me laugh out loud.

  66. sarah, you’re so sweet. my dress is steven alan from a few years ago, and kendra’s skirt is by ace & jig. xoxo

  67. Beautiful photos! Your vacation looks dreamy!! We (my husband, our almost 17 month old, and myself just spent a few days in the city aka SF for us. But it wasn’t as fun as the last time when Luna was only 3 months old…this time it was kinda hard getting around when a toddler who isn’t completely walking yet!! Therefore Fire Island looks ideal!! Too bad it’s so darn far! We need a place like this in Northern CA…..if you’re sis knows of a family-friendly place like Fire Island on our side I would love to know! Thanks Jo! Oh one last thing I love that Toby is so imaginative & romantic!! And Anton is gobble worthy! :)

  68. that baby!!!

  69. kathleen, i agree, way too fast!! he did learn how to walk this week—i’ve been trying to capture it on video! :)

  70. Oh my goodness, Anton is he cutest, chubbiest, perfectly angelic baby! No wonder you fell hook, line and sinker :). Also, Toby with his date – I just died. What a heartbreaker in the making!

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful family!

  71. I, too, must know where your dress is from. please!

  72. My family has had a house in Fair Harbor for over 20 years and I’ve been going every summer since I was a baby. So glad you found it as magical as I have my whole life…and that you were able to capture it so beautifully!

  73. I have been going out to Fire Island since I was a kid in the 70s and it’s my favorite place on earth.

    Did they have the Wednesday movie night going at the fire house? That is a favorite tradition that has been going on for years. They also have a wonderful Labor Day parade (Tina Fey is always there) that is a perfect wrap up to the summer.

  74. Your trip sounds so lovely I can’t believe cars are not allowed it must have made the trip more relaxing. Also side note I love moose tracks ice cream too haha :)

  75. This sounds perfect! We live in NYC metro as well and are trying to locate an end of the summer spot to vacation and have been looking to the Cape. I think going here would be even better especially with our 3 year old and newborn we’ll have in tow. Thanks for sharing!

  76. Aww this looks like so much fun1!
    Hopefully the adults all got ice cream everyday too… and some wine or fun drinks too ;p

  77. I love the fact that cars aren’t allowed. Thanks for the recommendation! i already love it!:)

  78. Ahhh, this looks wonderful! I like your toenail polish…what color is it?

  79. No shoes?? That place sounds perfect!! What a fun trip.

    I would lose my cool if I saw Tina Fey!! Love her!

  80. this looks like the perfect vacation – thanks for sharing with us! xo

  81. Is Anton walking?! He’s getting so big! My second boy is a couple weeks younger than him and I just realized how much he’s turning into a toddler and not a baby anymore!

  82. Oh, that looks like it was such a magical week! We vacation in a small beach town in South Carolina that’s very similar. And I adore the five stores…what else could you ever need at the beach?! Love the pictures!

  83. This looks like such a restorative and fun vacation. Anton looks suddenly so grownup, and very blonde, too! Looking forward to reading his birth story if you decide to share.

  84. This looks so heavenly! We’ve been struggling with the summer flu and pinkeye (!), so the thought of getting away to do not much of anything just sounds perfect.
    I was just thinking the other day that one of the things I miss most now that we live in the city is walking around barefoot! Such a simple, perfect feeling.

  85. Anton is seriously the cutest baby in existence!! I would seriously buy a baby that was like him if it were legal.

    And TINA FRICKEN FAY!!?! I’m jelly for sure.

  86. We’ve missed you! So glad you’re back!

    You have to tell me when your polka dot dress, and Kendra’s green skirt are from. So cute!

  87. Cute dress! My baby girl has a matching romper from crew cuts!

  88. Beautiful photos! I’m moving to NYC this week and can’t wait to visit Fire Island for the first time this summer! My boyfriend has told me how awesome it is!

  89. Your trip looks dreamy! The kids must have had a blast! Moose tracks all the way!

  90. Is Anton walking? He’s not old enough yet! tell him to stop growing up so fast–LOL.
    I’m ready to head out there. What a wonderful vacation. Thank you for sharing