The Castle Of Cherry Grove 'The Belvedere"

The following was posted on The Belvedere Guest House's Facebook Page. We are very saddened by this news.

This week My Beloved Father John Eberhardt, Creator of Belvedere and Pioneer of Cherry Grove passed away. John came to Cherry Grove in the late 1940's and began building summer homes for $3500. He soon built the first Belvedere in 1949 and construction began on the current Belvedere in 1956. In all he built more than 50 houses in the Cherry Grove. During the past almost 70 years, John was instrumental in making The Grove what it is today. Many Homeowners in Cherry Grove live in John's homes today, and many more began their love affair with Fire Island as a Guest at Belvedere, or as a renter in one of his cottages. John was 92 years old and will be missed many.

 The Gay community has lost a icon. John Eberhardt created one of the most loved fantasy's anyone could imagine. Long before Gay was in, The Belvedere in Cherry Grove was a gay paradise.

I remember the first time almost 30 years ago, that I visited the Belvedere. John & Craig Eberhardt were always behind the check in counter and I was terrified.  Cherry Grove was so new to me, and I remember the first thing that hit me, was the ferry ride across the bay and you could see this castle on the shores.

I never knew what to expect. Back then, gays were hated just about everywhere. I had been to many gay clubs in the Village and elsewhere, but outside that protection zone, gays were hated. I never could have imagined that Cherry Grove could exist and a fantasy land like The Belvedere. But any hesitation I may have had, seeing John and Craig's smiles when I arrived, put me at ease. 

Over the years I spent many a adventure at The Belvedere. I used to love to hear John's stories on the statues and artwork he collected and decorated The Belvedere with. I loved sitting in the hot tub, and John would be going around fixing everything or working on another Fresco. John loved to paint and his artwork was first class. I loved to hear stories about his travels around the world where almost always he would be sending back some work of art for the Belvedere.

John Eberhardt was a gay pioneer and icon. His creation has been admired by people from all over the world and will continue to fascinate visitors to Cherry Grove for many years to come. The Belvedere is in good hands now, Craig Eberhardt and Julian Dorcelien have made many upgrades recently to the famed Guest House and have the same intense love and vision that John Eberhardt had. Fantasy land will continue!


Anonymous said…
I worked for John & Craig for almost twenty years at Belvedere. John was my boss, my mentor, but most of all my friend. He was a sweet gentle soft spoken man, so talented in everything he touched, his paintings were amazing & I would watch him turn out one of those magnificent paintings in the time it took to check a guest in & out. He was humble & had a great campy sense of humor. I can't even begin to start how much he taught me. He truly shaped The Grove & his legacy will live on. I am honored & priveledged to have spent that time with him at Belvedere & so happy that we always remained in touch. I know he is already on his third or fourth painting in Heaven. Rest in peace, my dear friend. God Bless you & my sincerest condolences to your family. Love, Tommy Opisso