By Kirsten Corssen
Imagine waking up to the sound of the ocean, and hearing the seagulls and the sand ruffling as people head to the shoreline. This is precisely what Sue and Pat experience every morning at their oceanside home in the community of Atlantique. They are not on a boat as a lot of Atlantique locals spend their summers, but live on a quiet path right next to the blue ocean.
Back in the 1980s, Sue and Pat knew they had to have a Fire Island beach home, but they did not know much about the island yet. They only had seen communities that you can travel to by ferry. Going back and forth they agreed that Ocean Beach was too busy for them. Instead, they put money down on a beach bungalow in Kismet. The house fell through, and they did not end up getting it. While disappointed, they kept looking. This is when they discovered Atlantique. In 1989, they bought their home in Atlantique and quickly realized it was the best decision they ever made.
Oceanfront on a sand path, with 360-degree views of Fire Island, they finally had their dream home. Employed as schoolteachers, the purchase was a stretch for them; saving up money and making wise financial decisions was a huge help. This is home to them, where they live all summer, and it was the perfect place for their daughter to grow up and spend her childhood.
Sue and Pat are wonderful, inviting people who truly embody the Fire Island lifestyle – low key and down to earth. The rest of the Atlantique housing community is the same way. Their town is unique to the rest of Fire Island because it is not developed. They don’t even have walkways to get them from the ferry to the house; they have to trek their groceries through the sand once a week when they leave the island to stock up on food. They don’t have any restaurants or entertainment, just the beautiful people, sand dunes and the beautiful ocean, but that is all they need. The undeveloped quality of Atlantique helped make the house purchase within their price range, but they felt that was its best quality.
“After a long day, we say to our neighbors, ‘Who’s having dinner tonight?’” says Sue. “We all love spending time together, and we get together throughout the week.”
The community has been thriving for over a century. Six years ago, when Atlantique celebrated its centennial, Pat and Sue threw a huge party – but they also have parties every Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
Superstorm Sandy hit this community pretty hard. Some houses were washed away and destroyed. Sue actually housed their neighbors throughout the summer after Sandy because their houses were still under construction.
Since 1988, Sue and Pat have come to every Fire Island early, and always stayed late. Now they spend their winters down in Delray Beach – the ultimate snowbird experience. They plan to keep their house in the family for generations to come.