Although there are seventeen communities on Fire Island, the two predominantly gay communities are Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines. The two communities are separated by an undeveloped stretch of land that runs from the bay to the ocean with huge dunes and a maze of forest trails known as the Carrington Tract (it is also known as the Judy Garland Memorial Forest and the Meat Rack by locals). Visitors can take a walk on the beach or through this enchanted forest to get to either of the towns. No cars are allowed on Fire Island during the summer vacation months; therefore, the only way to get around is by walking the boardwalks or beaches.
Cherry Grove is considered Americaâ€™s first predominately gay & lesbian resort town. Cherry Grove has a lively nightlife and boasts colorful and charming modest homes and a small downtown area with a hotel, shops, bars and restaurant. The town residents include artists, drag queens, leather men, lesbian moms and a few straight residents. Cherry Grove got itâ€™s name from the predominance of wild cherry trees found there. By the 1960s the community became known for the openly gay and bohemian lifestyle of its residents and international visitors. The town sponsers a variety of events including Home Coming Queen, Pride Fireworks, the Art Show and an annual volleyball game played against the local police. Annual benefit events include PAWS, Breast Cancer, and the Doctors Fund.
The Fire Island Pines
The Fire Island Pines is east of Cherry Grove (and the forest), and is a predominantly gay male town. The town is more than twice the size of the Grove, and there are larger more luxurious homes on wooded lots, some with beautiful gardens. This town is more popular with the young, affluent, fashion and body conscious crowd. The downtown area includes restaurants and shops and is located on a beautiful harbor.
Although the towns have their differences, they do come together each year for the 4th of July Drag Queen Invasion and the annual Pines Party on the beach.
Cherry Grove has two hotels, but due to the size of the rooms, restrictions, as well as the expense, most people opt to have shares in homes. This allows you to experience the outdoors too by enjoying the privacy of your backyard or grilling dinner on your rooftop deck.
Weekly activities include Porsche’s show at Sunsets on the Bay (not to be missed), her amazing impressions of legends like Judy Garland and Janis Joplin, and Bette Davis will keep you rolling. There is the Friday Night Underwear Parties at Tides Friday and Erotica Night on Thursdays as well as local theater productions which have included performances of Vagina Monologues, Twisted Nunsense, Torch Song Trilogy, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.