I don’t know about you, but I had a pretty decent summer. That would be, of course, especially compared to last summer. I hope everyone is able to get away from home this weekend, even if it is just to go to the park, or to spend an hour or two on a very beautiful and peaceful beach. Whatever you do, take some time for yourself and appreciate all the good things you have in life.
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It’s safe to say that last summer was completely strange. We will surely remember the 2020 summer season for social distancing, lockdowns, and feelings of anxiety. Fortunately, this summer is completely different. As more and more people are getting vaccinated, more countries are beginning to open their borders to foreigners, coffee shops and restaurants are reopening, and it seems that life is slowly going back to normal. Whether you have caught the travel bug after a year spent at home or you just want to spend time with your family, go out with your friends and have some good, old fun, here are several ways you can spend this summer.
Atlantic City has long been a popular option for New York City residents seeking a different kind of night out, or even a weekend away. As you might expect, this sort of activity more or less came to a halt during the worst of the pandemic in 2020. Now, however, we’re seeing a little bit of a tourism push from Atlantic City — and it appears to be working. A May article on NorthJersey.com offered a number of positive indicators regarding tourists returning to Atlantic City, and activity returning to the area’s casino resorts specifically.
It’s a lot of fun to know that this option is back on the table, and we figured now as good a time as any to offer a few tips to New Yorkers who want to make the trip. Here are a few things to know if you’re eyeing a night out (or weekend away) in Atlantic City.
The original vacation plan for Summer 2020 called for me to fly from New York City to Barcelona on June 4th. There, I would meet up with my Los Angeles-based sister, and we’d spend two days site-seeing and recovering from jet lag before departing on an adventure-packed, seven-day cruise through the western Mediterranean. Sigh, I fucking love to cruise.
Obviously, those plans changed. In May, our sailing was predictably canceled by the cruise line due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While I was relieved to receive a full-refund on my paid fare — and overjoyed with the bonus of nearly $1,000 in onboard credit for a 2021 rebooking — I was also super bummed to know that I would likely not be getting out of Manhattan this summer. First world problems: they are a thing.
This Glass Holds The Remains of a Very Stiff Gin and Tonic
It cannot be overstated then that my summer was miraculously saved by friends who own a home the Berkshires, where they’d been quarantining since March. They generously offered to host me for a week of doing basically what I do in Manhattan — eating and going for walks — but with way better food and immeasurably more awe-inspiring scenery, not to mention (but you can see I am about to) air that smells like honey, and the absence of blaring sirens. It was the best week I’ve had in three months. Please enjoy a selection of photos from my many nature walks taken during the vacation that restored my sanity.
The Berkshires: Stunning Even When It’s Overcast
My friends live in a private community accessed from a narrow road set about a mile off of a rural thoroughfare. On summer evenings (during any normal year), you can sometimes hear faint music drifting over from Tanglewood, where I saw a fantastic concert by Squeeze with these same friends last August. Sadly, Tanglewood’s 2020 season has been canceled.
Instead, the soundtrack includes choruses of bullfrogs hiding among the marsh reeds, and a rush of wind through the endless trees that can make you look over your shoulder to confirm that no cars are coming.
This marsh and pond are just across the road from a private beach. There, you can take colorful kayaks out onto a lake, which is called the Stockbridge Bowl.
This past January, I made my first trip to the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center, because I am always game for new experiences to bring you on this rad blog. The show was amazing, and it inspired me to consider traveling to all sorts of exotic lands that I had previously never even considered visiting. But for reasons that should not need explaining, I had the most fun visiting the L.G.B.T.Q. Travel Pavilion. It was there that I met the men of Vacaya, which is the only large-scale travel company on earth serving the entire LGBTQIAPK community (IAPK = Intersex, Asexual, Polygamous / Polyamorous, Kink). Vacaya was giving away a Gay Cruise, and since I have the single best story ever about a Gay Cruise (which was told to me a decade ago by my friends Ross and Scott), I had to share the story with them. They all agreed that is was excellent.
Also known as The Vacayans, these handsome guys were so friendly and adorable that I was compelled to snap this fantastic photo of them, smiling and looking awesome in their Pink T Shirts, to capture the moment. I joked that I was going to make them my Pink Thing of the Day, but then I thought ‘why the fuck not, just do it!’ If you were gay, wouldn’t you want them to help you plan your next vacation? I sure would!
I realize that people may not be booking a lot of travel just at the moment, but, for all of my LGBTQ etc readers, when you are ready to venture out into the world again and want to plan your next adventure, please visit MyVacaya.com, and tell them the Worley Gig sent you.
Music: if it isn’t about some kind of catharsis, it isn’t about anything. This week’s spot-on Sunday Morning Music clip, from Nashville-based Photo Ops, is “Memories That Glow,” a sublime, dream-pop tune that — like so many great, deceptively Pop-sounding songs — is deeply rooted in the desire to transcend lingering emotional pain through an effective aural medium. It hurts so good, as they say.
The video for “Memories That Glow” is pleasingly seductive and visually abstract in a way that fully evokes warm waves of haunting nostalgia. Aurally, vocalist/songwriter Terry Price recalls both Brian Wilson and 70s-era Todd Rundgren (whose enduring “Hello, It’s Me” manages to be both sweetly uplifting and profoundly melancholy simultaneously). And with its simple, one-line lyrical hook, “Leave me Alone,” Price creates a 4-minute gem that would have fit perfectly among the track listing of the The Beach Boys‘ masterpiece, Pet Sounds. Listen and tell me you don’t agree.
“Memories That Glow” can be found on Photo Ops‘ sophomore offering, Vacation, just released on February 11th via Bad Friend Records. Vacation is available now on iTunes and Spotify. Enjoy!