Long known to New Yorkers as a great summer weekend destination, I finally made it to Fire Island a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised by its quiet, isolated feel. Beautiful rental houses can be found tucked in to the shrubbery along the maze of wooden walkways that make up The Pines, the town also known as a gay man’s Mecca. (They should have told us ladies about this place before – I was lovin’ the all-male grocery and the (sometimes nude) eye candy on the beach!) Yes, summer has ended (sob!), but a beach retreat is always welcome, even in the off-season. Going for a day trip was a bit of a stretch as it was a 3 hour journey one-way by subway, train, shuttle, and ferry, so I suggest overnighting. Renting in The Pines is necessary as there are hardly any restaurants or cafes and no amenities near the water, but the change of season must bring more rental availability. For a more family-friendly getaway, the neighboring towns of Ocean Beach and Kismet offer restaurants, nightclubs, and other boardwalk entertainment and I’ve heard they are lovely this time of year.