Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life's a really good beach!

Yesterday's steady stream of severe thunderstorms may have made Fire Island one of the Tri-State's least desirable places yesterday, but the fine people over at Men's Fitness confirmed what most locals and visitors already know: the beach is one of the top 10 in the country.

The magazine singled out Sailors Haven, a beach between Cherry Grove and Point O' Woods, in a survey of the country's best beaches it published last month. The below article from the fifth issue of this summer's Fire Island News details how Men's Fitness came to its decision and how locals reacted. Their response was as you can probably imagine.

Most Fire Islanders already know their beaches are among the best in the country, and one publication confirmed what most of the News' loyal readers undoubtedly concluded long ago. Men's Fitness named Sailors Haven and Sunken Forest as one of its "10 Hot Spots to Visit This Summer" in an article posted on its Web site on June 16. Writer Devin Pratt described the strand as "one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast." He further noted the beach provides the "perfect escape" from New York's hustle and bustle.

"With clean, lifeguard-protected beaches that are never crowded, Sailors Haven offers what most other New York beaches can't—peace and quiet," Pratt wrote. "In fact, it's not unusual to walk five or 10 minutes down the beach and not see another person."

The magazine further noted Sunken Forest's nature trails were another added bonus.

"It is a very precious jewel of the park," Fire Island National Seashore spokesperson Paula Valentine said. "We welcome them [visitors] to enjoy it and take the time to explore and appreciate the value that's preserved in a National Parks Service area like the Fire Island seashore."

Sailors Haven joins Island Beach State Park on the Jersey Shore, Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, South Padre Island in Texas, Venice and Zuma Beaches near Los Angeles, Lanikai Beach in Hawaii, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and Cape Florida State Park near Miami on this year's list. Other South Shore beaches routinely rank among the country's best. Doctor Stephen Leatherman, the director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research who is known as Dr. Beach, ranked Coopers Beach in Southampton and Main Street in East Hampton as two of the country's best beaches in his annual list released earlier this year.

Suzanne Feynman and Joe Pitrelli, sunning themselves last Sunday in Sailors Haven, seemed pleasantly surprised upon learning of the prestigious ranking.

Feynman said she feels the beach is a best kept secret. Sayville resident Robert Belfield agreed.

"The beaches on the South Shore are some of the nicest beaches in the world," he said.

Log onto www.mensfitness.com/sports_and_recreation/outdoor_recreation/77 to read the full article. Also log onto FINS' Web site [www.nps.gov/fiis] for more information.

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