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EDGE 10.0: The Decade in Resorts

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Jun 2, 2014

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, EDGE is proud to launch "EDGE 10.0: The Decade in," a retrospective series of features looking back on the past ten years of headlines, politics, personalities, trends, music, film, parties, etc... written by Editor in Chief Emeritus Steve Weinstein.

Let's take a trip -- down Memory Lane, but bathing in sunshine on a beautiful beach or poolside at a guesthouse.

In its 10 years of existence, EDGE writers have traveled near and far, to destinations exotic and familiar. They have uncovered hidden jewels and discovered new ways to enjoy favorite gay haunts. Everyone knows about LGBT resorts like Fire Island and Provincetown. But in 10 years, we've been bringing you the inside dope, the 411, the skinny on names synonymous with "gays at play."

Back in 2005, EDGE was still limited to New England, so it made sense that much of the coverage concerned the region's two best-known gay resorts, Ogunquit and Provincetown.

"Unlike popular vacation destinations like the Vineyard or the Cape, it seems as though one does not travel to Ogunquit to see or be seen," Nicholas Seaton wrote back in 2005. Nor, he added, is Ogunquit "about to set the world aflame with its fabulous nightlife (which, incidentally, is understandably virtually non-existent)." But the town's very placidness makes it a great destination for those who prefer the pleasures of a walk along a rugged coastline -- or Yankee thrift. Seaton did it on a strict budget and still had one of "most relaxing and most enjoyable vacations ever."

Ptown has long been the favorite getaway of EDGE Editor Bob Nesti, who has been covering the scene in Provincetown since EDGE first saw daylight. Nesti has written about Ptown's "alluring sleepy side" during the off-season, its many arts festivals and theater happenings. Chief amongst these is the Provincetown International Film Festival in mid-June that is the best-kept secret of all film festivals. With considerable star power in attendance (this year promises director David Cronenberg and actress Patricia Clarkson) and some of the best indie films of the year on view, it is well worth catching. And if you go be sure to attend the opening party at the Crown and Anchor, one of the town's premiere venues for LGBT-summer entertainment. This summer's highlight: Liza Minnelli on August 4.

Nesti has intrepidly ventured into the way-too-much-fun insanity of the long Fourth of July Weekend, when the town is overrun with hot men in Speedos, as well as Ptown's emergence as the gay wedding capital of America after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize our unions.

EDGE Publisher David Foucher was not yet the father of a darling little girl, but that didn’t stop him from visiting Disney World. It probably helped that he found the Magic Kingdom not only one of the happiest places on earth but also one of the gay friendliest. Foucher has returned several times since, to cover everything from the massive party weekend Gay Days to "Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party."

Gay Days, in fact, has brought several members of the EDGE staff down every June, where the poor dears have to hand out goodies to assembled throngs of gorgeous guys in between taking photos all night at dance parties. Pity the EDGE editors, having to ogle all those hot men packed into their Speedos!

Did you say "hot men in Speedos"? Ah yes, Fire Island: As the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island," I know the lay of the land (in every sense!). I covered the horrific fire that destroyed much of the commercial harborfront area in Fire Island Pines and Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked more havoc, as well as the rebirth of neighboring Cherry Grove, which shot to prominence when it hosted no less than Liza Minelli and Alan Cumming in the tiny Ice Palace -- a venue where Lady Gaga graciously performed after she became, well, Lady Gaga.

Most recently, EDGE Editors J.C. Alvarez and Bobby McGuire described even more changes in store for the Pines as lighting designer extraordinaire Guy Smith oversees much of Fire Island Pines’ latest reinvention.

To round out American LGBT resort towns, attention must be paid to Miami’s South Beach and Saugatuck, a town in southwestern Michigan that attracts gay men from throughout the Midwest.

I covered the opening of Lords, SoBe’s first (and so far only) gay hotel a few years back. Each room has a blow-up black-and-white photo of Liz Taylor in "Cleopatra," and do I even have to mention what you’ll see around the pool? That’s right: Speedos.

Ed Walsh’s 2013 story detailed the Miami Beach neighborhoood’greater picture, such as the unofficial-official gay beach at 12th Street; the World Erotic Art Museum; and a rundown of the many bars and clubs, including aptly named boĆ®tes like the Cock Miami, Score and Twist.

EDGE began covering Saugatuck, the Heartland’s answer to Ptown and Fire Island, way back in 2006 with an AP story that managed to cover everything while not using the word "gay." That somewhat dubious accomplishment was soon rectified two years later, with a review of the Dunes, the epicenter of gay life and the largest gay resort complex between the coasts.

Guess what? There are more LGBT resort towns than you imagined.

Take New Hope, a beautiful town on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River where you can "eat, drink and be ’Mary," as the title of Jill Gleeson’s travel piece explained . Gleeson included a LGBT-owned art galleries; the Raven, the main gay bar that offers -- are you ready for this? -- plenty of drag shows and a male revue.

As for Rehoboth, EDGE’s Troy Petenbrink covered the scene in this Delaware Atlatnic Ocean town in his ongoing column "Rehomo Ramblings." Petenbrink has been chronicling "Rehomo’s" transition from a blue-collar town to favored second-home gay owners from Philly and D.C.

We’ve also spent quite a bit of time in the Berkshires, one of EDGE travel editor Matthew Wexler’s favorite destinations due to bespoke properties like the Kemble Inn and Maple Glenn along with an overflowing picnic basket’s worth of farm-to-table dining options.

Last we forget that, yes, lesbians like to get away from it all and even spend a debauched (relatively debauched) weekend with several thousand sisters.

Ptown has its own scaled-down version of Dinah every October, when Women’s Week brings thousands of women from around the world to Cape Cod. The schedule includes a night when Ptown’s full-time resident comic Kate Clinton proves once and for all that "lesbian comedy" is not an oxymoron. OK, OK: As Antoinette Well pointed out, yes, there are guitar-wielding folk singers. But women also take to the field, not for field hockey, but football.

The place is Palm Springs, where EDGE Editor Winnie McCroy wrote that the gay Mecca turns lesbian one week a year, during the Dinah party weekend. She even found two all-women equivalents to those anything-goes gay male resort complexes.

If you want to understand the difference between a woman-only and men-only guesthouse complex, let McCroy testify: "Some of the guests who met here went on to become couples," she notes of one, while another offers a getaway for single women "who want to get away from the meat market scene."

EDGE loves Palm Springs! Coverage has included Rodeo Days for the gay caballeros; Leather Pride, with long-dead cows; and the giant Pride celebration. Keisy Chauvin even covered "Romance Week," which is pitching Palm Springs as a post-Proposition 8 city to tie the knot. And why not have the reception at midnight in a guesthouse resort? Everyone says we’re redefining marriage, so we might as well be dancing the "whoreah"!

Finally, this article about gay resorts would be incomplete without mentioning two of the most popular beach towns, Puerto Vallerta and Mykonos.

Puerto Vallerta has emerged as "one of the most preferred LGBT travel destinations in North America with an array of LGBT-friendly nightlife, excursions and acivities," according to a 2012 report . EDGE has been chronicling this Mexican jewel all along, including a 2011 celebrity-packed Oscar party that sealed the town’s reputation as the Ptown of Central America.

Since 2006, EDGE has been visiting Mykonos, the Greek island whose "Twelve Greek Gods" Circuit party and the Mr. Gay Greece contest cemented its own destiny as the most glamorous gay beach resort in the Old World. As EDGE reported back in 2009, Mykonos’ Paradise Beach is rated one of the best nude beaches in the world.

Who needs a Speedo, anyway?

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


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