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Get Hitched in Northern Vermont

Get Hitched in Northern Vermont

Burlington and environs provides perfectly rustic New England countryside charm and quality organic cuisine -- but with open arms to the LGBT travelers and newlyweds.


As the Northeast becomes one of America?s centers of gay marriage rights, newlywed queer couples need picturesque and idyllic places to celebrate a honeymoon. In northern Vermont, the area surrounding Burlington is perfect, forgetting lush landscapes dotted with lakes and mountains, or the organic cuisine: it is the total incorporation of gay and lesbian folks into everyday life, such that even the older generations don?t bat an eyelid at queer couples walking hand in hand into local shops and restaurants.

Getting There
The Burlington International Airport (BTV) is located only 2 miles away from downtown Burlington and is easily navigated due to its small size. Serviced by Delta, United, Continental, US Airways, and JetBlue, the latter offers one-way service from New York?s JFK for as low as $64.

Getting Around
Although Burlington itself is easily reached by local taxis like Adria (802-339-6713) or the Chittenden County bus system, driving is one of the best ways to relax and get deep in the countryside. The airport auto rental center has major carriers like Enterprise, Budget, Avis, and Hertz.

The Moonlight Lady

Get Hitched
There are numerous locations in Northern Vermont that are eager to host gay couples exercising their new rights to get married. The Essex (70 Essex Way, Burlington; 802-878-1100; $229-$259) is a AAA Four Diamond resort hotel and spa set on 18 acres of lush property. With ?country-contemporary? interiors designed by Susan Sargent, the cuisine is prepared by master gastronomes from the New England Culinary Institute.

Another place to consider tying the knot is the Black Bear Inn (4010 Bolton Access Road, Bolton; 802-434-2126; $89-$355), which boasts panoramic views of Vermont?s hilly landscape, their wedding packages offer beautiful woodsy locations for outdoor weddings, and have deluxe rooms that somehow manage to host rustic, country furnishings and private hot tubs. Finally, a cruise on the Moonlight Lady may be the most romantic way to celebrate your vows with close friends and family.


There is no shortage of gay-owned B&B?s in Vermont, owned by cultured, genteel couples that know how to make guests comfortable. The antler-adorned Moose Meadow Lodge (607 Crossett Hill, Waterbury; 802-244-5378; $149-$199) has been voted a favorite B&B by Out magazine and boasts fantastic service by owners and Vermont experts Willie Docto -- also a violinist and event planner -- and Greg Trulson -- also a Justice of the Peace and a avid game hunter. They host weekly music programs during the summer, and celebrated numerous civil unions and weddings on their rolling 86-acre property.

Gr?nberg Haus (94 Pine St., South Waterburgy; 802-244-7726; $115 to $180) is an Austrian-style chalet owned by a Jeff and Linda Connor, a charming gay-friendly couple. With cozy fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling window views of wildlife, Linda serves dream-like breakfasts such as stewed pears, ricotta pancakes and freshly squeezed fruit juice while Jeff tells anecdotes about the friendliest of the local fauna. The Deer Brook Inn (535 Woodstock Rd.; 802-672-3713, $115-$185) , a gay-owned B&Bin Woodstock, VT, is a must-stay for those in love with Colonial architecture and beautiful furnishing. Proprietors George DeFina and David Kanal?s exquisite taste extends from bedchamber to dining room, considering the gourmet meals served (prepared by DeFina with local organic ingredients).

For those searching for bigger hotel accommodations, the Marriott Courtyard Burlington Habor (25 Cherry St., 802-864-4700; $220-$300) is in Burlington and has lovely views of Lake Champlain. Finally, the Stowe Mountain Lodge (7412 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT; 802-253-3560; $350-$2,500) is as close one can get to a luxury spa hotel in Gstaad without having to leave the country. With furniture crafted by local Vermont artisans, a 21,000 sq. ft. spa and Mario Russo bath products are topped by the attentive service (there are even ski concierges that replaces one?s dampened boots during the winter!) Private apartments are also available for rental.

Where to eat
Vermont is a fantastic destination for foodies, as the many farms supply organic produce in a tradition that well precedes more recent health fads.

The dining room at Shelburn Farms

Michael?s on the Hill is in a restored farmhouse and serves haute cuisine quality ?European comfort food? created by Michael Kloeti, of New York?s 4-star Lespinasse -- using seasonal produce, this destination is worth the prices. Or roll up your sleeves for the gay-owned Cider House BBQ and Pub, some of Vermont?s best home-smoked ribs and lip smacking mac ?n cheese. Proprietors James Dotson and Thomas Sullivan bring a welcoming environment where gay and straight locals mix with tourists and share some northeastern Southern barbecue (even the coleslaw will have you going for thirds).

What to do
Before leaving Burlington take a pit-stop in the The Men?s Room, a full-service men?s salon and art gallery. After a styling and ?foot overhaul,? a walk along Church St. provides restaurants and shopping, like gifts from the gay-owned Danforth Pewter which sells locally handcrafted ornaments and tableware. Also worth a visit is the Firehouse Gallery, which features visual art exhibitions in myriad genres.

With great skiing in the winters and picturesque mountain roads in the summer, Vermont excels at peaceful, natural surroundings. A visit to former Vanderbilt-Webb estate Shelburn Farms, a visually stunning introduction to Vermont?s farming culture -- whole days can be spent learning to make cheese, taking nature hikes, or at outdoor picnic concerts featuring the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The Shelburn Museum is both indoors and outdoors and also a day?s worth of visit. Some additional country shopping at the Warren Store can find you fresh picnic foods but also local designer clothes, jewelry, wines, and the ubiquitous maple syrup.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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