Looming in the distance as the ferry approaches Cherry Grove is the decadent, unalloyed, alabaster castle called the Belvedere. Located directly on the open bay, the dazzling, achromatic dwelling is a men’s guest house, boasting freedom and openness and a chance to be yourself. The interior is adorned with opulent architecture and eclectic creativity. The iconic guest house, built in 1957, is family-owned and managed by Julian Eberhardt.
Get Out! spoke with Eberhardt about the Belvedere, what it has to offer as far and why there is no other place like it on the planet.
How would you describe the Belvedere?
The Belvedere is like no place in the world. It is a unique establishment that was built in 1957 as a gay guesthouse. That was before civil rights and gay rights. It’s an incredible, open environment where can be yourself.
When you sail up on the ferry, the views of the Belvedere are breathtaking. How many guest rooms are there?
I have 40 guest rooms, and we currently use 36 guest rooms.
Are there any restrictions as to how many nights you can stay?
The only restrictions that we have are on the weekends. The weekends are either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. So there’s a two-night minimum on the weekends. On the weekdays you can stay just for the night, or for as long as you like.
How did you come to own the Belvedere?
Unfortunately my spouse passed away, but my husband’s father (John Eberhart) built the Belvedere as a gay guest house. We took it over 15 years ago and rebuilt the Belvedere.
What events do have during the summer?
Every summer we have the bear weekend, which is an event for bears. That happens in early June. Then at the end of the summer we have our Spartacus party. That’s kind of like the end-of-the-summer bash.
Do you stay on premises all summer?
Yes, I stay there all summer, and I also manage the place.
Is there anything of importance that you would want to say regarding the Belvedere?
I know that a lot of people are watching and wondering what’s going to be happening with the Belvedere now that Craig has passed. Really nothing is going to happen. It’s still the Belvedere. It’s still in the family. It’s still under the Eberhardt name—my last name is Eberhardt as well. So it’s still in the same family.
How did you get the name Julian?
My godfather was named Julian. He was Cuban. I have a Cuban background; I’m Cuban and Haitian.
Where are you during the winter?
I still run the office. We receive reservations all winter long, so I process them, take phone calls regarding the Belvedere and do light office work.
What is considered to be the Belvedere’s season?
We actually open May 1 until around Columbus Day in October.
Belvedere Guest House is located in the Cherry Grove community of Fire Island, NY tucked between Long Island Sound and Fire Island National Seashore.
33 Bayview Walk Cherry Grove, NY 11782
Contact: (631) 597-6448