We may inwardly snigger at the rest of the country bellyaching about escaping winter’s cold, but when July and August sweep in, we get just as whiney about the heat. Because let’s face it: Baby, it is hot outside.
Thus begins the “reverse migration,” as everyone in the South scrambles north. This is how I found Ogunquit, in southern Maine.
Never heard of it? Don’t blame you: The northernmost pings on our collective gaydar tend to stop at Provincetown, with everything beyond it terra incognito.
It might seem a bit of a trek, but Ogunquit, and Maine, for that matter, has been one of the gay-friendliest places in the country for decades, far longer than Florida, which had to have the whole idea of an equal citizenry shoved down its bottle-blond throat (hi, Pam Bondi). Being a little off the map also makes it a lot more affordable and practical, even as the prices at other “discovered” gay resorts rise to the point of making them more exclusive for all the wrong reasons. For mid-range gays looking to escape the heat, Ogunquit is a refreshing destination in more ways that one.
Once there, dedicated beach boys should take a hard left at the main stretch of sand, walk about 200 or so meters, and voila—will find themselves in the gay section. Most residents will tell you to check out Marginal Way, a rather off-sounding name for a major attraction, but the story of this scenic walk (and that really doesn’t convey how striking it is for first-timers) is perfectly on the up-and-up. Originally a Native American trail, it hugged the “margin” of the ocean, sometimes where coastal meadow or forest gives way to sand, other times so close to the water you’ll catch some seaspray. Get there at dawn for some A-class snapshots.
This is a quaint, seaside New England town, and thus, most of the accommodations are just as quaint, seaside, and New England. Moon Over Maine, the Ogunquit Beach Inn, and a pied-a-terre, the Sweet Pea, are the usual gay hang-outs. And for such a small town, they are surprisingly nonplussed in a wink-wink/nudge-nudge sort of way.
Ogunquit knows its clientele.
For more information, go to gayogunquit.com.