Earlier this month, I spent a week at the beach with eleven other gay men. We split the cost of renting a gigantic house on St. George Island, off the Gulf of Mexico near Apalachicola.
This year’s trip was much like the week spent with the same group on St. George last year and the year before that: a lot of relaxing and conversation inside the house or out on its decks, sitting under an umbrella at the ocean’s edge, reading, napping, catching up with each other’s lives since we’d last seen each other (about half the group lives in or near Asheville, the other half in Atlanta), meditating together each morning, and preparing and enjoying elaborate, delicious dinners. Some of us got up each morning to watch the sun come up, some of us took long walks, some of us took long bike rides, some of us kayaked, some of us soaked in the hot tub, some of us flew kites, some of worked on art or craft projects, and there were multiple rounds of Wizards. After dinner on our last night we watched a DVD movie together – the brilliant and hilarious Sordid Lives, despite the fact that all but one of us had seen it multiple times before. And at some point we all poked around a bit in the nearby town of Apalachicola.
In addition to the glorious and comfortable surroundings, the perfect weather, the interesting conversations, the incredible food, the frequent laughter, and some astonishing outfits, what made the week special was the harmonious ease that flowed throughout the week among this diverse, intelligent, talented, and kind group of men. Doubtless this remarkable camaraderie was partly due to the fact that all twelve of us share many of the values and attitudes promoted by Gay Spirit Visions, an organization some of us have been affiliated with for over twenty-five years.
An additional pleasure of my St. George vacation this year was visiting briefly with my Oregon-based brother Michael and his wife Inice, who were on St. George the same week, celebrating their wedding anniversary (they were married on the island thirty-one years ago). My co-vacationer Randall and I, as well as Mike and Inice, also got to rendezvous with Royce and Martha, longtime friends of ours who live on St. George.
I didn’t take many photos this year, so most of the ones I’ve posted here were taken by my co-vacationers – although I’m not sure who took which photos. But first a photo of Abajem, the house we rented, that appears on the rental house’s website:
Here’s the view from the front decks of the house:
Next are three photos of our Master of the Revels and the guy who’s been coordinating these annual trips to St. George for the past fifteen years:
Random snapshots of the rest of us:
Here’s Bradford putting the finishing touches on one of his amazing tablescapes for our dinner table:
Again this year, I had great fun preparing three afternoon teas for the group. The comestibles for one of those teas:
At some point during the week, we somehow managed to assemble for a group photo:
A lovely week, with a group of lovely guys. I feel blessed to know them, and to have spent another week in their extraordinary company. The fact that we discussed the possibility of spending a week or two together in Europe somewhere was also exciting!
Many thanks to my co-vacationers who posted photos to the Google Document John set up for us. If you’ll let me know who took which photos, I’ll be glad to credit you! And if others post further photos, I’ll be glad to add them here.