Friday, April 23, 2010

Is there gay life in the Berkshires?

A reader sent me this question, and it made me stop and think.

Hey, Gay in the Berkshires -

I saw your blog online and thought I would send you an email.

I just got a job offer in the Berkshires and I'm considering moving there.

I am a single gay man in my early 30s. Is there enough of a gay life in the Berkshires
that would interest someone to move there?

Any information would be much appreciated. Thanks


Mike -

That's a tough question to answer without knowing more about you. If by "enough" you mean lots of clubs and bars, the short answer is our club scene is limited. But LGBTQ folks are far from one-dimensional, and if you mean a rich, rewarding variety of activities and a great working environment, the Berkshires are the place to be. We're here. We're queer. But we're pretty laid back about it.

The Berkshires are pretty rural with an overall population of about 100,000. But we enjoy more culture, nature and history than most places three times our size. With Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow and four major theatre companies, what's not to like. To get an idea about our nightlife, check out my online magazine, Berkshire On Stage which is gearing up for the summer of 2010.

While nothing like Provincetown or Manhattan, there is a decent sized LGBTQ community here, though no full time gay bar. (Though you might try Mezze in Williamstown on Thurday evenings.) The Berkshire Stonewall Community Coaltion is the community organization, and from one of the monthly potluck suppers you can begin to get acquainted with the community. There are young people who love to dance, and lots of events they share with our allies. In the Berkshries being gay is like no big deal. You can even get married in any of our town halls. Many churches will conduct the ceremony, and almost all our guest houses are gay friendly to a fault.

Barrington Stage Company has several "Out" evenings, a first this summer, and last year we had our first Out in the Berkshires Weekend which was sponsored by the City of Pittsfield, imagine that!

A lot of the LGBTQ folks are already in committed relationships, but there are plenty who aren't. Facebook is a major way we all keep in touch. There is even a Berkshire Gay Guerrilla Group (BG3) which posts where we can meet for a good time.

We like the slower, gentler pace of the Berkshires, but that doesn't stop us from dashing from one thing to another if we want. Or simply hiking the Appalachian Trail to the top of Mount Greylock for some quiet time with ourselves.

We hope you might take the job and join us. If you have been living in the big city, you will find the cost of housing and other essentials pretty low here, too. That means you can afford to do more! There are even half price ticket operations at several of the visitor centers to save on entertainment, and you can always see a show for free by ushering. Great way to meet people, too.

Hope this answers your question.

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