Cross-posted from lgbtSr.com
This pre-Valentine’s Day weekend my partner Frank and I headed for our fourth visit to Rainbow Mountain, an LGBT resort in the Poconos that has been nestled in the hills there for 30 years. It’s changed hands a few times, including most recently when new owners Rich and Ray, who first came to the place in 1985 to celebrate their one-year anniversary, bought the property and have done their best to maintain its legacy. It remains, as a note in the rooms reminds us, “a gem” that has been standing for a long time, and will hopefully be there a long time to come.
We first stayed there two years ago after I’d suggested finding a gay B&B somewhere to get away for a long weekend. Frank knew of Rainbow Mountain from his years of owning a cabin in the area (since sold) and while he’d been there for dinner and the nightclub a time or two, he’d never stayed there. We arrived in the spring two years ago and checked into one of the deluxe rooms located a quick walk downhill from the main building. After a nap, I glanced up to see a painting on the wall of a dark-haired woman in a red dress sitting at a black piano. While I know it’s a mass-produced picture, I’ve never seen it anywhere else but in my late mother’s piano room. So . . . four trips now, and four times in the same room. I always ask for it.

The drive is just 90 minutes outside of Manhattan. We usually stop at the Landmark Cafe & Front Porch Bar in Marshall’s Creek for lunch, but we’d gone to Clinton, NJ first to pick up a new car. (We hit the Landmark Monday morning on our way back to the City.) The staff has remained the same for the two years I’ve been going there, which is comforting, and the owners have been making upgrades while keeping most of the old familiar and comforting features intact. There’s a restaurant that spills out onto an enclosed area that gives you the feeling of eating on a large porch. There’s a nightclub in a converted barn (quite a festive place at Halloween), and a large pool that makes a summer visit especially nice.

Rainbow Mountain sits on 25 private acres, including a 2-acre pond. The property consists of the main building, the deluxe motel-like rooms across the road, the Cherry House, and a half dozen cabins, all built in the 1900s, 1950s and 1960s. You can read about the resort here and also about its history here.

Many of the customers are in our age group: mature, at least, and I’d say mostly over 40. There’s something very relaxing and inviting about being in an environment of LGBT people in our maturity. It’s one of the things I like most about going to Rainbow Mountain. I don’t feel like an old man surrounded by the young, as I might in Chelsea or any number of other places. The buildings and rooms aren’t the only old gems here! But mind you, it’s diverse, and while the staff seem to be the youngest people there, it’s a place you can feel comfortable being exactly who you are, at exactly what age you are.

There are plenty of things to do in the area. We drove the 30 minutes to Mount Airy Casino twice (once Saturday, once Sunday). There’s skiing in the area, although this doesn’t seem to have been a good year for it. There are innumerable candle shops along the highway, and a lot of small-smaller towns to visit. Whatever you might expect to find in the Poconos, you’ll find here.

We’ve been there for each of the seasons now. I’d have to say winter has been my least favorite time to visit, but that has nothing to do with Rainbow Mountain and everything to do with spending three days with a cold, gray sky and bare trees. But who knows, maybe that’s your favorite setting! Everybody’s got one.

This is a real pleasure, a treasured getaway. If you can make it to Rainbow Mountain, it’s definitely worth the effort. You’ll meet terrific staff, enjoy some time away from the chores, stresses and challenges of day-to-day life, and you just might make some new friends.

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