FPQ Lifestyles

Peaceful Pick of the Month

Fire Island National Seashore
Fire Island, New York

Fire Island Lighthouse

Originally built in 1858, you can take a tour of the Fire Island lighthouse and keeper’s home.

Every year for the past twenty summers, I have left the real world behind and spent a few weekends on Fire Island. Just over an hour train ride from Manhattan, this unique barrier island with its 17 communities clustered within the boundaries of the national seashore could not be further away from the noise, congestion and pressures of New York City.

A visit to Fire Island is an anachronism – a trip back to a gentler rhythm and pace when front doors were left unlocked, children could play all day without constant supervision, crime rates were nearly non-existent, modes of transportation were simple and cheap, and enjoyment of nature prevailed over high-tech everything. 

Here’s what I love most about Fire Island – no cars. Which means no honking, no exhaust fumes, no need to dodge speeding vehicles, and no rushing from place to place. We use little red wagons to transport groceries and overnight bags, we travel from beach to beach via bicycle on wooden walkways because there are no paved roads. When we see a deer, a dog or a wandering child on the walkway we use our handlebar bells to get attention. At night, there are no streetlights, just a canopy of glittering stars and the passing of the lighthouse beacon as it sweeps across the landscape. 

Bikes at Fire Island

Your bike and bell get you to the beach, the grocery store, the ferry dock and back home again.

Fire Island is a relief, a gift of sanity, a quietly delivered message to the rest of the world that says “Slow down, take a breath, relax a little. Really, you can slow down.”

Travel: Fire Island National Seashore is accessible by car and the Long Island Railroad which stops at three mainland ferry terminals on Fire Island – Bayshore, Sayville or Patchogue.

Website: The National Park Service visitor site for Fire Island is excellent and thorough. Go to www.nps.gov/fiis, to learn more about an island that’s like no other.

Walkway at Fire Island

The slow clackety-clack of wagon wheels on ribbons of wooden walkways is the familiar island sound track.

Wagons at Fire Island

Four-wheeling on Fire Island involves pulling your red Radio Flyer wagon — the enduring symbol of this car-less retreat.

Fire Island Water Taxi

Water taxis shuttle visitors between communities on the 32-mile long barrier island.

Walkway at Fire Island

Wide walkways in the village of Saltaire are Fire Island’s equivalent of a super highway.

Housing at Fire Island

A traditional, cedar shake home emerges from the reeds as it shares its place in nature.


Peaceful Locations Submitted by Our Readers:

Location City: Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Location Name: The North Pier
Description: I can walk for 20 minutes, one way, to the end of North Pier with water moving all around me.  The cadence, weather mild or rough, combined with my footfalls and the gulls, brings me peace.  By the time I reach the lighthouse, I am calmed.
FPQ Contributor: Katy Prange


Location City: Wayne, PA
Location Name: Chanticleer Garden
Description: One of the great public pleasure gardens in the Philidelphia area.
FPQ Contributor: Gerry Jaffe


Location City: Carmel Valley, CA
Location Name:  Tassajara Zen Center
Description: Pristine Zen buddist retreat, natural hot springs, creek, meditation classes and practices, pool. Famous for their vegetarian cuisine and home made bread. Located deep in the Ventana Wildnerness. Best sleep of my life.
FPQ Contributor: Bob Danzer


Location City: New York, NY
Location Name: Garden of St. Luke’s in the Field
Description: Secluded garden of a church in New York City, located at Hudson and Barrow Streets, in Greenwich Village. Almost always open to public, with lovely trees and flowers.
FPQ Contributor: Stephen Lyle 


Location City: Washington, DC
Location Name: Conservatory at the U.S. Botanical Garden
Description: Here's a great public space to share.  Washington DC's plant conservatory on the mall is a huge glass atrium offering visitors moist tropical humidity, lush greenery, fresh clean air and quiet tranquility ... making even the
Coldest, grayest day seem sunny, peaceful and beautiful.
FPQ Contributor: Debra Amerson 


Location City: Asheville, NC
Location Name: The North Carolina Arboretum
Description: The Arboretum boasts beautiful mountain views, miles of trails, serene creeks and fountains, and gorgeous sculpted gardens that capture the essence of North Carolina.  There are many places to stop and listen to the sound of quiet here.
FPQ Contributor: Sarah Hale


Location City: Devon, PA
Location Name: Jenkins Arboretum
Description: A 46-acre botanical garden with over a mile of paved walkways through native woodland.
FPQ Contributor: Gerry Jaffe


Location City: New York, NY
Location Name: Friends Meeting House
Description: Original Quaker Meeting House erected in the 1800s on Rutherford Place, NYC. Still very active with meeting for worship on Sunday (First Day) and used regularly by Friends Seminary School's student body.
FPQ Contributor: Libby


Location City: New York, NY
Location Name: New York Insight
Description: A Buddhist retreat center in NYC offering daily sittings and retreats. www.nyimc.org
FPQ Contributor: James Teschner


Location City: Catskills Park, NY
Location Name: High Point Mountaintop
Description: An opening in the Catskills forest at 3,000 feet where on can be in silence, peer out onto the gorgeous Hudson Valley, and ponder the meaning of life. The 2-hour hike up is equally soothing and restorative.
FPQ Contributor: George Kuboaa


Location City: Cambria, CA
Location Name: San Simeon
Description:  This area touches the soul and rejuvenates the spirit, mind and body. Nature and human move in harmony in this place where time means nothing.
FPQ Contributor: Becky Prante


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