Meet the Robinsons

They say the best mirrors are old friends, and for us, the Robinsons always remind us of who we are and what inspired us to launch Fair Harbor. Janet and John and their children Kayla, Amanda, and Max, were our constant companions during childhood summers spent on Fire Island. We kids spent our busy days fishing at the crack of dawn, biking to the lighthouse, jumping off of docks, making lanyards to sell, painting seashells, and clamming for dinner. Those blissful, sunny days seemed to blend into one another. Our parents enjoyed more laidback activities, like soaking in the sun and enjoying each other’s company until it was time to light the barbecue and crack open some cold beers.

These memories and experiences have shaped who we are, and the brand and company we’ve created. The Robinsons are such an important part of the past that inspired the brand we are still building today. Janet and my mom, attached at the hip, were always adventuring down to Bob’s (the one and only supermarket on the small island) for grocery shopping and later sitting in the beach chairs for hours laughing and telling stories. John spent countless hours showing us how to clam out of the back of his boat and teaching Jake how to surf. 

To honor these memories, the Robinson Sweater nods to vintage surf sweaters and those nostalgic summers spent in Fair Harbor with the Robinson Family. This special piece captures the essence of the people we love, in the place we love. It’s an ode to the salty air and exhilarating sensation of catching your first wave. It offers the feeling of home and time spent with damn good company. 

At this time of year, we gather good friends and reflect on what we’re thankful for. In the spirit of the holidays, we sat down with the Robinsons to reminisce about those golden days and our meaningful time spent together on Fire Island.

CAROLINE: John, you were so kind and patient when you taught Jake how to surf when he was 10.  Who first taught you how to surf and what was that experience like?  

JOHN: My sister Nancy gave me my first board for my 11th birthday and her boyfriend who was in high school at the time taught me.  I started in the whitewater, then graduated to where the waves were breaking and I was hooked for life.

CD: What was it like passing on that to your own kids, and also Jake?

JR: I always enjoyed teaching the younger kids.  It’s not like skiing where you take the chairlift up and point the skis down hill.  There is a lot more of an art to the process of catching and then riding the waves.

CD: What initially drew you out to Fire Island for the first summer, and what was it that kept bringing you back?

JR: I grew up in Islip and spent endless hours on the Great South Bay, with many days on Fire Island, including Robert Moses State Park. After visiting many beaches around the world, I maintain that Fire Island is the best beach I’ve ever been to. 

CD: When you think back to the summers our families spent together, what stands out the most to you?

JANET & JOHN: We remember all of you as little kids catching snappers and mixing them in with your scrambled eggs…a delicacy I never actually tried! 

CD: What has changed about Fire Island since the early days?

JANET & JOHN: Thankfully, not very much.  What makes Fire Island special is the fact that it is truly timeless. We know many families where there are three generations under the same roof, which says it all.  

CD: What do you think makes it such a special place?

JANET & JOHN: The fact that there are no cars makes Fire Island unique.  Having to bike, walk, or take a water taxi takes a lot of stress out of the equation.  People tend to be low-key and not pretentious, no one knows what you do for a living (or cares for that matter)! 

CD: Now with your own grandchildren, and bringing them to Fire Island, what memories are you most excited to share with them?

JANET & JOHN: The reason we bought our house 20 years ago when our children were young was to have a place they’d enjoy coming back to as adults.  That plan has played out better than we could have ever imagined and I’d expect that to be the same with the next generation of Robinsons on Fire Island.


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