1. Whether your waistline is ready or not, you’re only a few precious hours away from debuting this season’s swimwear;
2. It’s time to finalize your summer social schedule.
While I can’t help you with the first point, I have a lengthy list of recommendations to fill your summer schedule. Regardless of your interests and the size of your social budget, my list has something for everyone. So without further ado, I respectfully submit Offline’s 2009 LGBT Summer Fun Guide.
— Memorial Day Celebration at 101: After chatting with friends and colleagues alike, it seems like lots of Philly’s finest are staying in town this weekend. If you’ll be here over the weekend, don’t forget to stop by O.N.E. at Rittenhouse Square, 19th and Sansom streets, for 101, the region’s premier weekly gathering. This week’s event features discount cocktails from 7-9 p.m. and a “Wet Underwear” contest open to all. The winner will receive a free round-trip airline ticket to the destination of his/her choice. Visit www.nightlifegay.com for all the details.
— Philly Pride Presents: At various times throughout the summer, every major city in the U.S. holds its annual Gay Pride celebration. Our local pride festivities, featuring the parade and festival at Penn’s Landing, will take place June 14. Visit www.phillypride.org for more information.
— The Jewel of the Jersey Shore: Asbury Park, N.J., has been the punch line of more than a few jokes over the years. But despite its detractors, Asbury continues to redevelop and revitalize. With an influx of residential and rental properties, as well as new cultural and retail attractions opening every few months, Asbury has become an amazing shore spot. Even better is the ease with which you can travel there from Center City. In a little over an hour, you can be sipping cocktails at the Empress, 101 Asbury Ave. When planning your trip, consider Gay Pride on June 6 and Roadtrip Weekend on July 17-19. Visit www.gayasburypark.com to get your itinerary together.
— The Perfect Town: Provincetown, Mass., is quite possibly the most popular LGBT destination in the country. With a picturesque harbor, amazing architecture and some of the best local art in the world, P-Town is ground zero for throngs of LGBT vacationers. I’ll be on vacation there with my closest friends during Carnival Week, Aug. 16-22. To find everything you need to plan your trip, visit www.ptown.org/carnival.
— “Key West” of the Mid-Atlantic: Rehoboth Beach, Del., is arguably the most popular weekend getaway for gay and lesbian Philadelphians. Though we share this amazing destination with hoards of D.C. boys and girls, I’ve always felt there is something unique and Philadelphia-esque about Rehoboth. If you’re planning a summer trip, LOVE Weekend during July 4 is the perfect time to visit. For information on this incredible event, visit www.love-weekend.org.
— The Best of the Midwest: If you’ve got a hankering for some strapping corn-fed men, you must visit Saugatuck, Mich. Located on Michigan’s west coast, Saugatuck is widely recognized as the premier summer fun destination among gays in the flyover states. To plan your trip, visit www.gaysaugatuckdouglas.com.
— “The Isle of Fire”: OK, I fudged the title slightly, but Fire Island will forever be known as one of the country’s most beloved gay destinations. Whether you prefer The Grove or The Pines, there’s no shortage of hot men and lovely ladies to ogle at the beaches and bars. I suggest planning your trip in coordination with the Heritage of Pride festivities in Manhattan on June 28. There’s no better way to cool down from a hot weekend in the city than with a trip to the beach afterward. Visit www.gayfireisland.com and www.nycpride.org for all the details.
— Go “West” Young Man: Since I’ve covered many diversions east of the Rockies, it seems fitting to make at least one West Coast recommendation. Russian River is the hottest summer destination for California’s LGBT weekenders. Situated in Guerneville (just outside of San Francisco), Russian River is a fabulously scenic destination with special events throughout the summer. Check out the Russian River Rodeo in June and the Lazy Bear Weekend in July at www.russianrivertravel.com/gay/events.htm.
So there you have it — my picks for summer events and travel in 2009. ’Til next time, get offline and see what your community has to offer!
If you have comments or information on upcoming events, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, reference Offline.