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Go West!

Go West!

Manifest your destiny in America’s diamond deserts.

Originally published in the October 2010 issue of Out.

Years before it was a hokey day camp repertory, Woody Guthrie?s "This Land is Your Land" was a revolutionary call to arms, extolling Americans to behold their country as it is: theirs. If it?s true that America is ours—and as the fitful but steady manifest destiny of gay rights wends westward, it seems like it is—then a trip to the great American hinterlands is a trip into our own interiors.

After years of providing safe and luxurious havens for gay travelers in the Middle and Far East, Amanresorts has set up shop among the mesa and Mormons of Utah. Amangiri (Amangiri.com; from $850), a newly opened sprawling 600-acre retreat, sits on the banks of Lake Powell in southern Utah?s Four Corners region where the state meets Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado amid a great burnt umber panorama, etched by erosion over 600 million years to resemble an infinite lithograph plate. Guests in its 34 suites can undergo Navajo-inspired spa treatments based on the rhythms of the sunrise and sunset, wander through the epic eroded canyons of Bryce Canyon National Park, or simply lounge in their own private courtyard around a fireplace.

A few hours east in Corrales, N.M., lightning crackling in the sky is the draw. In 1977, sculptor Walter De Maria constructed 400 20-foot high stainless steel posts on a high plateau over an area of one mile by one kilometer. Visitors to the Lightning Field are invited to stroll among the monumental poles and stay the night in a spartan cabin with fellow art lovers, watching the field come alive (DiaCenter.org; $150). For a more social and (much) more luxurious New Mexico sojourn, head an hour north to Santa Fe?s Encantado Spa and Resort (EncantadoResort.com; from $440), set in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. No stop to New Mexico is complete without at least one green chili cheeseburger, and Bobcat Bite (BobcatBite.com), a ramshackle stand by the side of Old Las Vegas Highway, has been serving some of the best since 1953. Santa Fe is no slouch in the nightlife department either: Rouge Cat (RougeCat.com), a new multilevel bar, not only makes proper cocktails but has great music as well. Try the cucumber margarita, a perfect nightcap after an evening at the Santa Fe Opera (SantaFeOpera.org).

But wherever you end up, there are a thousand roads heading into the heart of America. Choose one—it doesn?t matter which. As Woody Guthrie once said, "Take it easy. But take it."

Click here for more of the Great Gay West.

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