07/05/2016

Travel – Fisher’s Island

Fisher’s Island has a few basics: the ferry, beach and meals prepared with food bought from the only market in town. We began the weekend by driving to the dock in New London, Connecticut, with a few panicked calls to the ferry office on holiday traffic and the probability of catching the boat. The friendly dispatcher recognized my voice upon arrival, our bags bouncing with carsick dog in tow, and granted us entry without collecting our tickets so we’d be on time.

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Fisher’s Island map, an island of 9 miles, which is in New York’s Suffolk County but the only way to travel there is from the New London, Connecticut, ferry.

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We made the ferry, preventing us from having to wait three hours for the next departure.

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Kids under 5 and dogs ride for free.

The calm after chaos quickly levels when you decompress to the steady hum of the engine. You observe other passengers who share the anticipation of arriving to the island in a spirit that is more exalting than the return ride back. Approaching the dock and you could be entering a past time where phones and gadgetry are not an essential. We chat with new acquaintances with pets as we navigate the steep stairs with plans to meet up at the dog beach. Everyone is ready for a summer experience that has little deviation from those experienced as a child.

Fence art.

Fence art.

Island transportation of choice.

Fisher’s is about nine miles long but not cleanly cut like Nantucket or Bermuda. It’s scraggly, like a chewed up piece of gum, and the island’s insignia is seen on everything from bumper stickers to golf balls. If you want to stay overnight you must either know a resident or rent since there are no hotels. Marketing for food happens at the local food store though Peapod has become quite popular. Nightlife primarily consists of a friend’s porch. Send a letter with only the name of the family and it will most likely get to them.

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Tray of Long Island by Ben’s Gardens on a Fisher’s Island tea towel.

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Topper’s, the exclusive ice cream shop, has recently changed hands to the owner of Drink ‘n Vessel, the only wine store–a transaction that happened at the end of a routine business call. Kids expertly wield an ice cream scoop and record the purchase on an index card for those with an account.

Boy's night out.

Boy’s night out.

There is a lot of travel by bicycle. Dinner plans are made at a friends’ home, just plan to bring what you intended to cook on your grill. There may be a movie later or unexpected guests will stop by. They bring the drinks. You provide breakfast.

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A vintage car that fits in with a vintage summer.

Topper's for ice cream where locals have an account.

Topper’s for ice cream where parents went to as a kid.

Shopping in town, resort style.

Shopping in town, resort style.

Home decor style of the island.

Home decor style of the island.

Pop up shop in the one lane town.

Pop up shop in the one lane town.

Summer cottage, typical Fisher's Island style.

Summer cottage in typical Fisher’s Island style.

Transportation of choice.

Beach cruiser.

Ironic signage.

Ironic signage.

Side kitchen entrance.

Side kitchen entrance.

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Porch living is key on Fisher’s.

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Front entrance of the club.

Front entrance of the club.

Kid with a pointed sense of humor.

Kid with a pointed sense of humor.

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Ready for windsurfing class.

Ready for windsurfing class.

Inside the sailing shack.

Inside the sailing shack.

Path to fun.

Path to fun.

Door to the sailing shack.

Door to the sailing shack.

Fisher's Island blue.

Fisher’s Island blue.

Poolside at a neighborhood club.

Poolside at a neighborhood club.

Dogs have free reign.

Dogs have free reign.

The homes share the New England clapboard look, they just escalate from beach cottage to cottage mansion, which includes the stately home where the movie World According to Garp was filmed.

View of the coastline with the home featured in The World Accoring to Garp.

View of the coastline with the home featured in The World According to Garp.

The best summers practice simple pleasures, which have been experienced on the island for centuries. The less beeps of an iPad and more games of kick the can the better. With so much to pack into a season that goes into seclusion come Labor Day (there are less than 300 residents and only one elementary school) there is little regard in new constructions or upgrading cars. Besides, a 19th century summer home is built better, more authentic and withstood many hurricanes, while beach cars like a VW Thing endures all the sand. The main island dilemma is choosing between kayaking or crabbing.

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