Last fall in a moment of reality- my job security on the rocks, the apartment plummeting in value and both my car and refrigerator planning their demise- I decided to cut back my weekend share in the Pines by one weekend per month. And, as much as I adore the island and never like to skip a Tea that has totally worked out perfectly. That is until I was invited to a best friend’s “momentous-okay 40th” birthday party on a recent Saturday. Although the housemates are quite an accommodating lot, the weekend in question was a full house and no one had the ability to switch weekends. Sleeping on a sofa in our share house of eight, not to mention four dogs, basically has the same appeal to me as passing out on a bench in Penn Station so I decided to look elsewhere and perhaps try a different experience. Through the years that I have been coming to Fire Island I have either had a share or stayed in a private home, although I have to admit I have occasionally been a “visitor” at The Grove Hotel, The Belvedere and Hotel Cielo otherwise known as The Botel.

On this weekend a friend from the city was also invited to attend this Birthday extravaganza and we decided to share a room. Since he had never experienced Fire Island I wanted to give him the experience of a share house- not the dirty towels, flip flops underfoot and empty bottles of Sky Vodka that is life in our house, but three course communal meals, poolside drinks and a hot tub full of soaking hot guys like they sell you at the Share A Thon.  So, we checked into the Pines Bluff Overlook, a guest house, overlooking the ocean in The Pines.

Arriving on a beautiful Friday afternoon but with our terrible city drama still intact we were warmly welcomed by the owners Jim and Jim and their two Boston Terriers- or maybe that was because we arrived during wine and cheese hour. After literally dropping our bags in the room (BTW- it was well decorated, spotlessly clean, quiet and had a private outdoor sitting area) we made a beeline for the Chardonnay which would provide the social lubrication we needed to tackle tea later at the Blue Whale.

As we sat on the roof deck lounge chairs with a glass of wine in one hand and a striking view of the ocean in front of us it was as though the warm breeze was lulling us into the Fire Island vibe and putting the city ever farther behind. While topping off our wine glasses- who counts- we met other weekend guests and as the conversation alternated between evening anticipation, the wine glow and the sexy smile of one particular guest from San Francisco I discovered a calm and relaxed Pines far different from an overcrowded share house.  And, when I woke up much later in a different room of the guest house than mine I knew I had found the different experience I was craving!