“Dinner Bitches!” screams the drag queen holding drooling hungry gay men at bay until the clock strikes six, opening the potluck table for consumption. In that call to consume resides a distinct flavor of Joe’s Hideaway. Owner Mama Joe controls the place like the quintessential dictator he is, with his call to dinner, his frequent behavior modification signs strewn throughout camp and his customers clear knowledge that their continued residency resides in Joe’s whim. Be it real fear of expulsion, as proclaimed on signs at the pool, or smiles behind hands is as yet undetermined.
Like many gay campgrounds the seasonal campers drive the community that mixes quickly and easily with weekenders. Joe and Rich are affectionately referred to as Mom and Dad and everyone is at least tacitly cognizant that the folks are always there.
Cobalt, the pit-bull dog, is a bit of the mascot. He greets everyone and wanders the grounds looking for attention. When sitting by your fire be prepared for a huge head to land in your lap and stay there until given sufficient ear scratches.
Open mid May through mid October, Joe’s Hideaway is heading into the fourth season as a gay campground. Comprised of 52 acres, of which only 15 are currently in use, Joe and Rich bought the place as a closed campground with most infrastructure removed. Three years ago they started with no seasonal campers and low expectations.
The property now boasts 45 sites including 22 seasonal sites. During the fourth season 19 new sites are planned and clearly in demand to satisfy a waiting list. Joe’s Hideaway is in the enviable position of experiencing growing pains and being unable to build additional sites fast enough to meet demand. There is one cabin and a bunkhouse with four beds and one room with a king.
Joe’s Hideaway is genially accepted by the surrounding residents and nearby town. Local authorities see the business as important to the local economy and are supportive. Don’t miss lunch at the counter in the general store in Washington, just up the road.
Entertainment is centered on the above ground decked pool. The sundeck lights up at night to become a stage and show area. Lighted gravel paths lead campers through the park after dark. Don’t miss the hay ride pulled by an antique Farmall tractor. The hay ride wanders down the camp road, out the entrance and a few miles along the country road to sunset over the lake.
928 Valley Road, Washington, NH 03280