Rehoboth Beach, Del., is where the LGBT communities of Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore go to get away from it all and spend some quality time with the same people they see all year.
Funny thing though: For some reason people are just friendlier at the beach. Maybe it’s that they are more relaxed. I am lucky and go to Rehoboth all year long as do many people who used to just spend a summer weekend. Many in our community now have second homes or have retired there. But the pace of life definitely speeds up dramatically by the end of April and then by Memorial Day it is in full swing.
The Friday to Sunday getaway seems to begin earlier each year and the season is already well underway. I think that this will be a great summer. The LGBT community is always ready to play and Rehoboth Beach is ready to welcome them with open arms.
Baltimore Avenue is aglow with old and new restaurants, galleries and shops. You can eat well at Eden or the Blue Moon or get a sandwich at Lori’s or the new place people are raving about, Touch of Italy. You can buy your trick, lover or husband/wife (now that D.C. has marriage equality) a pretty bauble at Elegant Slumming, or a piece of art at Philip Morton Gallery or the Ward Ellinger Gallery with Ward’s own great paintings often on view.
Stop in at the great new furniture store, Boxwood, which is in the old Lambda Rising location. Then sit awhile in the CAMP Rehoboth courtyard and relax reading the Washington Blade or Letters. I look forward to the new attractions that will appear at Aqua Grille – and by attractions I mean their cute, shirtless wait staff personally selected by Bill Shields. Aqua will open this year a week before Memorial Day and by Memorial Day weekend the Aqua deck will be packed on every nice night through Labor Day. There is just something about hard bodies, pretty faces and no shirts that attracts a crowd.
Speaking of pretty faces, there are the boys at the 2nd Street end of Baltimore Avenue. Ray Quintero and Jordan Rosenstadt are housemothers to a crowd of some of the wildest boys in town. Their season has already begun and it will last long and the stories will be legion.
There is a new bus service from D.C. to the beach brought to you by the owners of the DC2NY bus company. Asi, the cute Israeli hunk, has announced the service will begin a test run on Memorial Day Weekend from Friday to Monday. The schedule can be found at www.DC2NY.com. If it proves successful it will run all summer. The company is gay owned and operated has been a huge success on the D.C./New York route. I wish them success as they are really good guys. Speaking of good guys, I hope we continue to see REHOBUS owners David and Mark and little Tallulah Gail Bromley-Salie at the beach. Soon CAMP will have to start a day-care center.
I have been enjoying Rehoboth Beach for more than 25 years and, yes, that makes me an old-timer but you’re never too old to look at pretty boys and enjoy the sun and fun. And there are plenty of other old standbys at the beach and I don’t just mean Tony and Marvin and Dan, who like Cher and Barbra, only need a first name.
On the beach block of Rehoboth Avenue there is Go Fish and the upscale and always good Back Porch. On the second block the fun and reasonably priced Purple Parrot and in the lane the Coffee Mill is under new ownership. The third block has great oldies but goodies Dos Locos and Cloud Nine. And for a change and more good food don’t miss Zebra and the Cultured Pearl on Lake Avenue along with the best wine selection in Rehoboth, Bin 66.
Rehoboth Beach is the place to relax. Only those who come thinking it is another Provincetown or Fire Island sometimes leave disappointed. Rehoboth is a family town that has become a welcoming place for the LGBT community. The police department gives its summer recruits diversity training and people can get summonses for making hate remarks. Walk the beautiful new boardwalk along wide beaches and you see mostly families except for the very most southern end where the small gay section of the beach, appropriately called Poodle Beach, is located. This year, with all the new babies in tow, Poodle Beach may just begin to look like all the rest of the beaches in Rehoboth.
So spend some time in Rehoboth this year. You will become addicted and it’s a habit you won’t want to kick.
Peter Rosenstein is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. His column appears twice monthly in the Blade.