I’ve never been interested in an all-gay getaway. The idea of making the annual 4th of July pilgrimage to Fire Island, New York, or boarding an Atlantis cruise, the only escape from which is to jump overboard (which has happened), just doesn’t appeal to me. My lack of interest in spending days on end with thousands of drunk, oversexed gay folk, however, doesn’t mean I can’t have a memorable gaycay. If you’re in the same boat (or dangling from its side), here are a few getaway ideas with an LGBT agenda to plan this year.
If the seven-day, 550.3-mile bike ride down the coast of California, beginning in San Francisco and ending in Los Angeles, is too daunting of a task, you still can participate in the annual AIDS/LifeCycle event to raise funds and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For about $100, the organization will set you up with everything you need to volunteer along the route, including food and lodging. Over the course of the week, you’ll assist the 2,500-plus cyclists and more than 500 roadies who pull off this incredible feat of endurance and determination by providing hydration to riders, serving lunches, packing the trucks and picking up trash; dirty job, sure, but somebody’s got to do it. Fair tradeoff, considering that you’ll enjoy priceless views of a large swath of the West Coast for the cost of a single Bennie. For more information visit, aidslifeycle.org.
Gay Wine Weekend
LGBT oenophiles can one-up each other with their knowledge of delicious vintages – or just kick back and get lit – at Gay Wine Weekend in Sonoma County, California, July 14 to 16. The three-day grape escape features tasting excursions, champagne brunches, wine auctions and pool parties, and kicks off with a VIP welcome reception and winemaker dinner. Before heading home, venture off the beaten path to discover some of the 425 wineries that call the region home. Hosted by Out in the Vineyard, GWW benefits Face to Face, Sonoma County AIDS Network. Cop your tix at outinthevineyard.com.
MiFo LGBT Film Festival
For the past 19 years, the former Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – rebranded as MiFo, which now includes the former Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – has committed itself to entertaining and educating the public through international and culturally diverse films, video and other media that provides should-be-required glimpses into the LGBT experience. The Miami edition, running from April 21 to 30, offers a robust schedule of programs, including regular screenings, parties, a spotlight on female filmmakers and culinary/cinema infusions. Can’t make it to Magic City this spring? Hit up the Fort Lauderdale edition from Oct. 7 to 16. Fill your calendar at mifofilm.com.
You’ll feel like an extra on the set of a John Waters film at the 23rd HONfest (June 10 and 11), a one-of-a-kind wink-and-nod to the area’s “Hon” culture, which began humbly as a regional term of endearment in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore City in the 1950s and ’60s. Sky-high beehives, cat-eye glasses and over-the-top, time-capsuled costumes that rival any drag queen’s getup keep this hyper-local gala of gaudiness a time-honored tradition in a town known more for its steamed crabs than its commitment to fashion. Warp over to honfest.net to begin your transformation.
International Gay Polo Tournament
Polo-playing Prince Harry may be out of your reach, but you can ogle the next best things at the 8th annual International Gay Polo Tournament (who knew there was such a thing?) at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, April 6 to 9. Put your hosting skills to the test in an elaborate tailgating competition, clink glasses of bubbly with fellow Ralph Lauren-clad well-to-dos, and make an appearance at the Gay Polo League VIP tent on tourney day to indulge in tableside service with an open bar before stomping the divots. Interpret that however you’d like. Saddle up at thepalmbeaches.com.