Gordons Pond or Poodle Beach?
Over the decades, as Rehoboth Beach slowly became the Nation’s Summer Capital, there were two questions that every newcomer would ask—where do we go for drinks and good food, and where do we go to relax on the beach? Many of the old stand-by restaurants have changed hands and names. But the beach remains the beach.
The center of town offers the opportunity to people watch. One may enjoy seeing the tourists circle the block three times before finding an open parking space, watching them unpack their vehicle, and then finally seeing them perform acts of strength and balance as they carry their beach essentials while keeping the kids from fussing. All of this can be conveniently coordinated from outdoor seating at several choice restaurants.
A more relaxing agenda can be found by driving either north or south of town, depending on your priorities. Rehoboth Beach offers two popular beach locations for the gay community—Gordons Pond and Poodle Beach. They form the bookends of this quaint little town, Gordons Pond to the north and Poodle Beach to the south.
You can drive on the beach at Gordons Pond, but only if you happen to be a lucky owner of a highly coveted surf fishing license plate. This requires you to actually surf fish, of course! Short of that plan, there is also plenty of open sand away from the pesky fishing lines that drape across the walking path. That is where you will find your favorite eye candy. A jetty serves as a visual dividing line between the guys and the gals.
Poodle Beach is located nearly two miles to the south of Gordons Pond. Parking can be a bit trickier here, as the closest access feeds in from the streets that require seasonal parking permits rather than meters. Poodle has been the go-to gay beach haven for many out-of-towners. There is an element of safety and belonging when everyone in proximity is like-minded. Learning the history of important places is always enlightening, but let’s take a close look in the present tense.
Several persons in the know were asked what attracts them to either Gordons Pond or Poodle Beach. One popular guy in town, D.F., says, “Poodle is where my friends go. I’m not an avid beachgoer, so I only go with friends. I like to collect shells along the water. I love to see the dolphins, and you can actually see the big schools of fish when the water is clear and calm.”
According to M.Z., Gordons Pond is the place to be. “It’s more relaxing and tends to have more local visitors. I also like to have an adult beverage and enjoy the dogs at the beach playing with adults. Parking is easier and it’s just more laid back.”
The most definitive word on Rehoboth beaches, however, comes from T.R. He has been going to Poodle Beach for more than 40 years. The attraction for him is “the boys who spend their lives in the gym, so I can see the fruits of their efforts! If they are going to work out several hours each day, I should not let their work go to waste. I should APPRECIATE their efforts and RESULTS! It can be all about fantasies and occasionally chatting up and becoming friends with people, especially the lifeguards.”
On a more serious and reflective note, T.R. says, “I find [going to Poodle Beach] to be a more spiritual experience as I get older, feeling the warmth of the sun, being barefoot and ‘grounded’ in our Earth, the ‘caw’-ing of the seagulls, seeing the motion and hearing the sound of the waves. These background noises fade into the distance as I meditate and drift in and out of present consciousness to being hypnotized by the senses of the beach surroundings.”
It is evident to any casual observer that there is no longer an exclusively gay or lesbian beach here. Straight folks will drag their beach equipment all along the shoreline that is Rehoboth. And that’s ok! It’s all about being yourself and relaxing, no matter who is under the umbrella next to you. A life philosophy for many settings is “to have good neighbors, BE a good neighbor.” This proves a worthy adage for beaches as well. Be a good neighbor on the beach, and you will have good beach neighbors.
With this in mind, whether you choose Gordons Pond or Poodle Beach as your place to go for sun, sand, and surf, you’ll have a great time. ▼
David Garrett, a CAMP Rehoboth Board member, is a straight advocate for equality and inclusion. He is also the proud father of an adult trans daughter. Email David Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.