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Newfane and the West River Valley area of Southeast Vermont has much to offer to the Gay Community. For 50+ years Newfane has been home to the historic Rock River Gay Swimming beach. There is also much more to the Rock River Valley than the naked swimming hole for gay guys. The Rock River is a focal point for a progressive, gay and gay-friendly Vermont community of artists, craftsmen and families.
Newfane and the surrounding West River Valley is well known for its open, progressive values & welcoming attitude to LGBTQ visitors! It’s such a gay-friendly region and it has an amazing collection of interesting and fun things to do.
The greater Newfane, Brattleboro and West River Valley area has exclusively gay and gay-friendly lodging options, great restaurants, fresh food sources that include farmer’s markets and a food coop, 3 microbreweries & a distillery, a cultural & arts community that includes monthly gallery walks, museums, music, theatre, frequent artist’s open studio tours, literary & film festivals, an annual LGBT film festival and frequent men’s gatherings, workshops & retreats – as well as seasonal recreational opportunities ranging from cycling, canoeing and kayaking to skiing, snowboarding and more!
The Rock River trailhead is at the confluence of the Rock River and the West River along Route 30 at the intersection of Williamsville Road in Newfane. The West River is a relatively long, wide and warm river as compared to the Rock River, which, true to its name, is very rocky, swift and cool. Just upstream from where the Rock and West Rivers meet there are a series of deep, clear water swimming holes. Known as “Indian Love Call” by the locals there is a long tradition of nude bathing on the Rock River – as there is in Vermont in general.
As you hike further up the Rock River you will notice that the first swimming hole is deep with a sandy beach and a rope swing. This is the “family” swimming hole where the clothing stays on. The further upstream you go the more likely you are to see nude bathers; the next couple of beaches up the trail are mixed, gay and straight, and nude.
As you continue further up the Rock River it becomes increasingly gay until you reach your final destination (about a 30-minute hike from the road) and discover the “official” gay area. While the wooded areas are very cruisy and do have their share of activities, the scene by the water is very social and quite friendly (e.g. no “attitude”). Men often bring preparations with them for a summer BBQ and, generally speaking, all are welcome, especially if you have things to share. There is a feeling of being in another time and place when you’re there.
There is also much more to the Rock River Valley than the naked swimming hole for gay guys. The Rock River is a focal point for a larger Vermont community of artists, craftsmen and families.
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