In case you missed it, The New York Times highlighted New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ, as a summertime “gay getaway” alternative to Fire Island.
“Looking for an L.B.G.T.Q.-friendly spot that includes neither sand nor wild parties, a writer finds it in twin towns along the Delaware River,” the article’s subhead reads.
As the article notes, the attention comes on the heels of some earlier good news for New Hope. In March, Time Out included it in its compilation of the “best LGBTQ+-friendly small towns in the USA.”
For the Times article, writer Erik Piepenburg spent a weekend in early June exploring the sister towns. With the communities fresh off New Hope Celebrates’ PrideFest in May, he noted the presence of “rainbow flags and Pride this-and-that drenched New Hope’s busy Main Street, from Dunkin’ Donuts to the Pork Shack in the bustling Ferry Market food hall.”
Visiting with his partner and a friend, Piepenburg said, “I found New Hope and Lambertville to be chill, culture-forward and vibrant towns for three gay men who wanted a weekend getaway.”
At Porches on the Towpath, he interviewed author Philip Kain, who’s written two gay romance novels set in New Hope. Kain and his husband split their time between New Hope and the Upper East Side, according to Piepenburg.
New Hope “is a place where, even though you may not be surrounded by gay people, there is a history and a foundation you’re walking on,” Kain said. “It’s nice to be in places where there is a felt history of gay culture.”
Later, Piepenburg checked out the Bucks County Playhouse’s LGBTQ+ High Tea, which is held the first Sunday of every month on the theater’s deck. “The vibe was equal parts dance club and small-town happy hour, and the revelers were a mix of men and women of all colors,” he said.
Among them were two friends, both gay: Matthew Robertson, 32, and Barry McAndrews, 25. “They told me the typical gay visitor to the area was, like me, a Gen Xer, or older, which explains why the D.J. was partial to CeCe Peniston remixes and classic disco,” Piepenburg said.
“There’s a ton of money here, and a lot of younger people are effectively priced out of living in this entire region,” McAndrews said. Locals prefer private parties, he told Piepenburg, “but they are super over the top, with ice sculptures and servants, like crazy stuff.”
Piepenburg said he was fine with the lack of a youth culture. He noted Fire Island’s “party atmosphere” as one of the reasons why he should be drawn there. But, instead, he finds himself seeking out quieter places populated with like-minded people.
As he discovered, he wasn’t alone. At Union Coffee, in Lambertville, Piepenburg chatted with Marian Gaestel and Mary Lloyd, “both in their 60s.”
“Coming down here is a breath of fresh air,” said Gaestel, who lives in Flemington, NJ. “Even if you live in Flemington, coming down to Lambertville and New Hope is like going away somewhere.”