July 30, 2005

Camping With Flair.

Earl and I are spending the weekend camping at Jones Pond Campground, outside of the tiny village of Angelica in New York’s Southern Tier. Its our first time at this campground, which is a campground for gay men.

I think some people are surprised that there are campgrounds for gay men. There are many across the country, with four within three hours of our home. Back B.E. (before Earl), I frequented another campground, Hillside Campgrounds in northeast Pennsylvania, with my boyfriend at the time. He had a permanent site there, with an old Airstream installed in the woods high up on the hill. It was great.

Earl and I haven’t been to a gay campground since 1997 and this is our first time at Jones Pond. I was a little bit nervous about the whole thing because that’s what I do, but my nerves were quickly dispelled once we got set up and started getting friendly with the natives. Last night we danced like we haven’t danced in years with friends from Buffalo and Rochester. It was all good.

Like Hillside, Jones Pond has many seasonal campers here. The sites are beautiful with the campground on the side of the hill in the middle of the woods. Gay campgrounds differ from others in some ways. For example, there’s a party barn with a big dance floor (complete with video screen) that pumps out high-energy dance music every Friday and Saturday night. It’s BYOB which is fine by me. There’s also a raging bonfire at the same time and since it’s a gay campground, we can actually snuggle up near the bonfire without Mr. and Mrs. Bushamerica flipping a tacky yellow ribbon over the whole ordeal. It’s also clothing optional for those so inclined and there are those that do pick up the option. (And no, I haven’t yet; the whiteness of my skin and the remaining vestiges of my childhood ginger-red hair are sometimes just too much for some to take in.)

The seasonal sites here are elaborate affairs with a judicious use of colored lights, ribbon, Christmas balls, flowers, palm trees, pink flamingos and other gay fabulosity.

It’s very relaxing in a comfortable way, and Earl and I are enjoying the whole experience immensely. We’re making new friends and just being ourselves without any need to put a guard up. This is all good.