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SUMMER 2008 | Gay Retro Motor Lodges

SUMMER 2008 | Gay Retro Motor Lodges

Who needs Motel 6 when you can shake off road fatigue at these stylized gay-owned digs?

Queen?s Inn by the River, Oakhurst, Calif.
No need to feel lonesome on the highway through California?s wild and woodsy interior: Respite awaits at the lesbian-run Queen?s Inn by the River (559-683-4354;; from $139*). The name pays homage to owner Debra Payne?s late grandmother, a.k.a. Queen, who purchased the property 13 years after its construction, but it?s the Sierra Nevada setting that?s truly regal. The 1951 adobe motel, reborn in 2007 as a charming modern inn and wine bar, sits on Highway 41 by the Fresno River 13 miles from the south entrance to waterfall-laden Yosemite National Park. All eight airy rooms, decorated in desert hues, have private decks for enjoying the complimentary continental breakfast with locally produced coffee, and most have gas fireplaces. Once you?ve recharged the batteries, explore Yosemite?s nearly 1,200 square miles, go antiquing in historic Oakhurst (a half-mile away), or take a 15-minute drive east to Bass Lake for fishing and water-skiing. Want to stay in neutral? Simply make a selection from the on-site bar?s more than 20 beers and 60 wines -- including a Panoche Valley, Calif., viognier from Payne?s winemaker girlfriend -- and while away the afternoon nestled in an adirondack chair overlooking the river as mallards and blue herons parade past. California dreamin?, indeed.

Texaco Bungalow,
Eureka Springs, Ark.
Weary road-trippers will need to look elsewhere for petrol, but the Texaco Bungalow (888-253-8093;; from $99*), a 1930s art deco service station reimagined as two cozy rental units with an adjoining porch, provides an adults-only haven for shifting the brain into idle mode. Located on the historic loop of U.S. Highway 62, the gay-owned property in Eureka Springs? residential district reflects the artsy Ozark mountain town?s kitschy-cool vibe. Hints of its gas-stop origins remain in the bungalow?s brick-walled living room, angled awning, sloping driveway, a Texaco-logo 1950s toy car hanging in front of the former garage (known as the ?bungalette?), and automotive memorabilia sprinkled about both cottages -- but the luxury bedding and clever, space-saving kitchen and bath additions are totally 21st-century. Hop on the local trolley within a block of the front door to enjoy car-free sightseeing, shopping, and spa visits. And turn your stay into a honeymoon: A domestic- partnership registry is a few blocks away at the downtown courthouse.

The Roxbury, Roxbury, N.Y.
Point that roadster toward the Catskill Mountains and zoom to The Roxbury (607-326-7200;; from $90*) to discover just how groovy a 1960s motel can be when imagination goes into overdrive. Three hours north of Manhattan, in the tiny, maple-lined, surprisingly gay hamlet of Roxbury, life partners Gregory Henderson and Joseph Massa transformed vintage bland into boutique bravado. The motor lodge and adjacent 1860s house pop with electric-green and black accents, flames rise through lime-colored glass in the roof-deck fire pit, and a Chihuly-esque chandelier made from more than 3,000 curling orange Plexiglas rods glistens above the covered stairwell. The 18 rooms and suites range from ?The Shagadelic,? with citrus and zebra Austin Powers?worthy decor, to full-on fantasylands inspired by ?60s and ?70s TV shows, films, and cartoons like Bewitched, Breakfast at Tiffany?s, and The Flintstones. For the ultimate in diva digs, book the I Dream of Jeannie suite, complete with a fuchsia bottle-shaped bathroom and 70-gallon Japanese soaking tub. A 2007 expansion added the Shimmer Spa, a 600-square-foot mini oasis of iridescent mosaic tiles with hot tub, sauna, and fireplace, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring the town?s historic architecture, cycling the Catskill Mountains trails, or hiking into the wooded hills via 11-acre Kirkside Park -- all within a mile of the motel. Finish the evening with a nightcap at the lesbian-owned Public Lounge, a city-slick cocktail and nosh spot just a short stroll away. Yeah, baby!

For discounted rates, mention

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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