Located between Sailors Haven and Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove is known to be one of the most popular LGBTQ communities on Fire Island. Over 2,000 people call Cherry Grove home in the summer months, 20 claim it year round and swarms of people come to visit throughout the summer. Along with its neighbor, Fire Island Pines, these two communities are the most sought after and accepting travel destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Since the 1950’s, Cherry Grove took shape as an LGBTQ community for New Yorkers. Visitors spent summer weekends sunbathing and partying, creating one of the country’s first gay beach town when being openly gay could result in imprisonment. It wasn’t until 1980 that the State of New York decriminalized its laws against gays. Cherry Grove visitors and residents were still susceptible to police raids and other assaults from belligerent, drunken visitors. Regardless, gay men and lesbians flocked there each summer, including the writers Tennessee Williams, Patricia Highsmith and Truman Capote. The photographer Richard Avedon and his wife were also visitors.
In 2013, the Cherry Grove Community House and Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only a few sites so far listed for their role in American LGBT history.
Getting to Cherry Grove requires either a ferry ride (Sayville Ferry), or a private water taxi. You can also park at the Robert Moses State Park from the Fire Island Lighthouse and take a water taxi to Cherry Grove.
Cherry Grove Amenities
Notable Bars and Restaurants
Island Breeze: Great scenery, great burgers, great seafood. What’s not to like?
Cherry Grove Pizza: Serves delicious, giant New York–style pizzas and slices, along with a variety of pasta dishes.
Top of the Bay: Here, you’ll find unique twists on classic dishes with stunning sunset views. Be sure to call ahead for reservations!
Cherry’s: An outdoor bar known for its fruity cocktails. You can watch the ferry arrive from here.
A “pop-up” urgent care center opened in 2014, which is part of Northwell Health; a golf cart for emergency medical services was also purchased for Cherry Grove.
The entire community has a single seasonal post office, on Bayview Walk near the main dock, open from May 1 to October 31
Cherry Grove Neighborhoods
Despite Cherry Grove’s small size, the community is further divided into different neighborhoods:
West End: Relatively quiet, the few year-round residents live in about 100 houses distinguished by stone chimneys, and runs across the island from West Walk to Holly Walk.
Town: This is the central business district (from Holly Walk to Doctors Walk). It includes the Fire House, Community Center/Arts Project, The Ice Palace Resort, a clinic, and the public ferry dock, as well as a few cooperatives, bars, grocery stores, art galleries, realtors, and restaurants. It is more densely settled than the rest of the hamlet.
East End: A residential neighborhood located from Doctor’s Walk to Ivy Walk, and south of Bayview Walk, East End c100 private homes, almost all of which are seasonal.
Cherry Grove Outdoor Activities
The main outdoor attraction in Cherry Grove is the beach! Nude sunbathing is common. The easternmost dunes have been nicknamed the “Meat Rack” for a reason.
Accommodations in Cherry Grove include:
- The Belvedere Guest House (Men Only)
- Dune Point
- The Ice Palace Resort (formerly the Grove Hotel)
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