Friday, August 7, 2015

FIRE ISLAND LIVING

compliments of Preston

When we were in Fire Island, besides all the debauchery we were up to, we also saw some lovely homes, build by various architects. There was something for everyone there...all sizes. And most of it is due to John Eberhardt. When taking the ferry from Sayville to Cherry Grove there is always an instant when, to the left of the boat, a bright light starts to come into focus. As you get closer, a white palace starts to solidify on the horizon. A glow in the distance, it looks like a magical realm, a place completely out of the ordinary, where unexplainable things happen. Of course this is The Belvedere, or as sometimes called Liberace's Bath House,Fire Island’s storied all-male guest house. And anyone who has stayed here over its long history can tell you that magical things do indeed happen. It's where we took ourselves by surprises and went nude!!!!!
 
 
Once upon a time in the 1950s, John Eberhardt built the Belvedere as a private residence. He was a gay scenic artist who painted sets for TV and theatrical productions in New York. Like many gay men in his social circle, most of them professionals and many active in the city’s theater scene, he started going to Fire Island and camping on the beach before there was much there but woods and deer. Also involved in real estate projects in New York and New Jersey, Eberhardt decided to build a place for himself on the island and chose to do it in an ornate Venetian style.

His house, though spectacular, wasn’t as large as the current incarnation and included just the main house where visitors now enter, with its large living room, residential quarters and rooms on both floors. In the Spring of 1956, right after the completion of Eberhardt’s house, the only hotel in town, Duffy’s, burned to the ground. Eberhardt decided to open up his home to guests, renting out the empty bedrooms to strangers. This was a very informal arrangement, with visitors checking in at his kitchen table.

Over the years the house got bigger and finally completed by the early ’90s, but that  doesn’t mean the building hasn’t been touched since. The bell tower, one of the most noticeable features of the estate, blew off  during Hurricane Gloria in 1985—destroying part of the house on its way down—and had to be rebuilt. In 2005, the top half of one of the other towers blew off in a tornado and had to be replaced. Eberhardt is happy to report that none of the building should be toppling over anytime soon!!!!!

John Eberhardt, was also a self taught architect and was the pioneer developer of much of Cherry Grove.....and  dedicated much of the land he bought more than 50 years ago to dozens of cottages—shanties might be a better term— which still mark much of the quaint landscape of Fire Island’s Cherry Grove. What's really cool is how the boardwalks really compliment the homes.
 
 
This was the house we were in...... I passed out, fell asleep one night on the chair on the balcony deck and slept out all night. I had to check with my fashion attendant as to wear my clothes went.
 
And then there were the famous, huge party homes....
 
This was our neighbors. They had us over several times for lovely pool parties. I usually planted myself in the chaise first of the left,  in a gin daze.
 
Incredible style!!!!
 
This really was one hell of a trip, one I won't soon forget. I'm ready to live there, but alas, to expensive for me. I'd be more than happy, anyone reading this, and living there, to be a middle aged houseboy though.
 
TOOLTES!

38 comments:

  1. I'd love to live in one of those modern homes, but I need a sugar daddy first.

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  2. What a loverly place. So glad you get to spend time there.
    Favorite picture - the beach!

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  3. Replies
    1. You two would have loved the houses there Bob. I often had thoughts of your Architecture Wednesday's.

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  4. Wow! What a collection of houses (and houseboys, I'm sure). The Belvedere is incredible! Almost at the point of being over-done, but not quite. And who doesn't like a bit of ostentatiousness now and again?

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    1. I really should have taken some snaps of the inside.
      Ostentatiousness is putting it mildly. Very ornate furnishings, and nothing like seeing naked guys sitting on French inspired chairs. and chaise. I think I even mistook a guys junk for a chair arm.

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  5. color ME impressed! FABU home designs and the beach and naked boyz and anatomically correct statues and gin and...(passes out from all the excitement)...

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    1. always, dear magpie, always. can str8 girls visit fire island; and if so, HOW would I ever be able to keep my hands off all those delicious naked boyz?!?

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    2. If the Mistress and readers went, I have the feeling the island wouldn't know what hit it.

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    3. There were plenty of Str8 girls there. I loved it and definitely a overdose on the senses. Do I hear a get together in Fire Island???

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  6. What a place, boy do I want to be there!!!!! Looks like heaven.

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  7. I am so glad you decided to come with us! I knew you would love it and the architecture of the homes Fire Island is my slice of heaven on earth. I could and am inspired here.

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  8. What a cool and fun looking trip you had!!! I have enjoyed these posts Looks so inviting, especially for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere caught up in the heart of winter....

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  9. I too have enjoyed seeing your trip to Fire Island as I will probably never make it there. I absolutely love the homes! Thanks for the post.

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  10. WOW, The Belvedere has just got to be a fun place!!!! Liberace's Bath House would sum it up.The place looks huge and we now know where to find you naked. I need to get to Fire Island one day...it looks like our gay Shangri-La .

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  11. Wow, thanks for the post, Those houses are incredible. Gorgeous. Years ago when we used to go, I always thought the smaller houses were so quaint. Once when there, we got invited to a party, who at the time, we didn't know who he was. So William and I decided to go and the house was HUGE and filled with men, a few drag queens, and some beautiful women. I asked if anyhow knew where the host was , since we took a host gift and someone said ' OH, I think Calvin is over there".....turns out it was Calvin Kline. It was the only time William got hit on by several men.

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    1. Agnes, what a fun and lively story!!!!!! I would love to hear the stories of William getting hit on......

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  12. Fire Island is the epitome on beach homes! Completely obsessed with that home of your neighbors. WOW! And I guessing there were some late night swim too, wink wink.

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    1. That house was very beach chic! You should have seen the inside....incredible!

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  13. So pretty. I love how airy the spaces feel. The one you were in is quite cute, I love the clap board. I can see why it was hard to leave.
    Happy Weekend

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  14. Boy, there is just something about houses at the beach isn't there? I would love to visit Fire Island sometime and the Belvedere. I have no problem letting it all hang out. Does look very ornate.......

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  15. STUNNING – i need to book a flight and a room!

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  16. Never been but THANK YOIU SO MUCH for sharing your story and images . Now I'm inspired to check it out. great post.


    Mark
    The Male Casting Couch

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    1. I have the feeling Mark you would love it there, with your talent as a photographer. Would love to see what you could capture there.

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  17. Oh man, is that place gorgeous!!! I hear its very expensive to stay in motels or guest houses. But looks well worth it. We will have to save for this. These post have our tails wagging.

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    1. It most certainly can be very expensive for accommodations. Luckily I had the great pleasure to be invited to a time share as a guest. I had the most lovely hosts.

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  18. Cherry Grove and the Pines are both beautiful and enchanting! It is like heaven on Earth. And I had forgotten about Liberace's bath house!!! It is actually a fun place. Brings back such memories.... Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Talk about the lap of luxury! Looks like an awesome place to spend some time. Do you need an extra fashion attendant when you travel?

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  20. wow Mistress those houses are sooo beautiful! the house you stayed looks very comfy and homey. to be near any beach is a luxury. thanks so much for sharing, it is now on my check list of travel to do’s :)

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  21. I can see I too am going to need a sugar daddy. Beautiful.

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  22. You have been in paradise!!! love it! I would love to visit the Belvedere sometime. So that is where the ass shot came from!!!! FI is definitely a chic locale.

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  23. I love the island Fire Island, and have stayed at many fab guest houses and private homes on the island for years. I love this little island and the people are fantastic. Great restaurants, amazing beaches and you can’t beat the weather. And some of those best man watching! If you can't find a rich man there........

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  24. The idea of sleeping outdoors like that sounds amazing. Those houses are most certainly spectacular. The woods are just so neat on them. And that guesthouse!?!?!

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  25. Nothing like waking up and finding the Mistress naked on the balcony sleeping.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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