An LGBT Summer in Rehoboth Beach 2017

05/18/2017 10:17 am ET Updated May 19, 2017

For me the summer season in Rehoboth Beach, DE began with Kentucky Derby weekend. After a walk around town stopping at my favorite places; seeing new window displays, storefronts freshly painted and meeting new staff one got the feeling everything was ready for Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer season for most.

I chatted with business owners looking forward to the 2017 summer season. They were already concerned with construction on rte. 1 and were talking about traffic and parking. How you view busy roads depends on whether you are a business owner, visitor or home owner. This summer portends to be worse than ever on the roads but it’s because of a generally good economy, notwithstanding the recent drop in the stock market, and the roads to the beach will be jammed.

But travel woes aside it will be another great summer at the beach. If you are a member of the LGBT community Rehoboth is a very friendly town to visit and the welcome mat is out. There are many gay owned and operated restaurants and businesses and every business is gay friendly. You can walk down the street and on the mile long boardwalk holding hands with your partner or spouse and feel comfortable.

While being a very welcoming town each year someone does report being harassed as happens everywhere; but such an occurrence is rare. It is important to remember you can’t drink alcohol on the beach and you need to respect the rights of others as you expect them to respect yours. Memorial Day always attracts a younger crowd and hopefully young members of the LGBT community will continue to come to Rehoboth and enjoy the great beach, boardwalk, restaurants and bars.

Baltimore Avenue, the center of the LGBT community at the beach, is the home of CAMP, the gay and lesbian community center. It’s also the home of the venerable Blue Moon Restaurant and Bar. Many still consider the restaurant with Chef Lion the best in Rehoboth. When at the bar say hello to the handsome and charming bartender Devin Cornett and enjoy the vivacious Pamala Stanley who is back to entertain again this year. On the same block is the ever popular Aqua Grill with its hot returning bar staff including AJ, Ryan, Matt, Griffin, Louie, Jake and bar manager Josh. Hundreds enjoy the big outdoor deck every evening. You can enjoy a reasonably priced menu with some new additions like Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Salad this year. Between the two is Lori’s Café in the CAMP courtyard. Lori is celebrating her 21st season and her chicken salad is better than ever. On the same block see some great jewelry at Elegant Slumming or always new and different home furnishings at the Philip Morton Gallery.

On the beach block of Baltimore Avenue enjoy a good meal at Eden or Jam any day. If you happen to be in town on a Thursday evening try for a reservation at cheap steak night at Café Azafran with their wonderful chanteuse Holly Lane serving and singing from behind the bar.

Open this year on Baltimore Avenue is a rejuvenated Iguana Grill back in the hands of the talented Hugh Fuller which is where he began his career as a restaurateur. Hugh and his business partner Troy still have the always fun Purple Parrot on Rehoboth Avenue with its reasonably priced breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and Beach Bar. The bar staff now includes not only Chandler but Matt who joined the staff recently; Parrot’s gain, Moon’s loss.

Another gay owned and operated business on Rehoboth Avenue is Steve Fallon’s fun Gidgets’s Gadgets; now the home of vinyl records both new and vintage. Then stop into the popular Frog Pond on 1st Street between Rehoboth and Wilmington avenues for fun and good food.

Now if only the town Commission could get its act together. Rehoboth’s town manager is an open Lesbian but even she hasn’t been able to control some of the wrong-headed actions of the Commission. Among other misguided adventures they have undertaken the new City Hall on Rehoboth Avenue is way above budget and way behind schedule.

But despite the Commission’s problems, and all governments have them, Rehoboth Beach is still a best bet for a fantastic summer vacation or a year-round home for the LGBT community. Delaware with its low income tax and no sales tax is a great buy. Making it easy to get there is Best Bus, a gay owned and operated business, again running busses from both DC and New York City to the beach. So there is no excuse not to visit Rehoboth Beach this summer. Come enjoy the sun and fun.

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