A romantic winter escape can impress a new match, rekindle love with an old flame or provide the setting for your nuptials—so we’ve chosen five lesbian-friendly inns in the northeast states that have legalized marriage equality. You’ll never feel second-class on these first-class getaways.
For a distinctively sustainable experience in the shadow of the gorgeous Berkshire Mountains, try Topia Inn (10 Pleasant St., Adams, Mass., 413-743-9600, topiainn.com) in Massachusetts’ northwest corner.
Created by Nana Simopoulos and Caryn Heilman, Topia is a thoroughly “green,” lesbian owned vacation destination. Abandon your chemically enhanced lifestyle for the length of your stay, because the thoughtful innkeepers have you covered. Forget your sodium lauryl sulfate-laden toiletries at home in favor of Topia’s all-organic products, and borrow a pair of the comfortable hemp slippers after leaving your shoes at the door. Topia Inn’s ten impeccably clean rooms feature inviting artsy décor by a bevy of local artists—choose a Marrakesh inspired motif, tropical floating bed, a Greek Island theme or other exotic style—and order a massage from a menu that includes Thai, hot stone, and shamanic energy therapies. In addition, some rooms offer essential oil rain showers or chromotherapy baths that illuminate your physical assets in technicolor. While limiting your environmental impact, Topia will leave you and your beloved feeling pampered like two gorgeous, green goddesses.
Adams, a charmingly bohemian village, is the birthplace of the sufferin’ Suffragette Susan B. Anthony and close to the Massachusetts Museum of Comtemporary Art (MassMOCA). If you want to venture out, Lenox is a postcard-perfect town 40 minutes south, and Northampton, an hour east, is a liberal lesbian hotspot with plenty of shops and restaurants. Mt. Greylock, the state’s highest peak, gives outdoor recreation junkies what they need in milder seasons; for skiing, snowboarding or snowtubing, seek out Jiminy Peak or Bousquet within a half hour’s drive. Topia Inn’s owners opened Topia Arts Center, a live performance space in an old theatre downtown, for additional artscapades during your stay.
You don’t get a toll free number like 877-LES-B-INN without excelling in the lesbian hospitality business. After 28 years, The Highlands Inn in New Hampshire’s White Mountains (240 Valley View Ln., Bethlehem, NH, 603-869-3978, highlandsinn-nh.com) has earned it.
A “No Vacancy” sign greets any roadside visitors, so that the only neighbors you’ll encounter are those that Googled “lesbian inn New Hampshire.” Thirteen attractive rooms are found in the main lodge, where you’ll be greeted by a roaring fireplace and cozy living room with an extensive gay and lesbian DVD collection for revisiting Bound or Like Water for Chocolate. The Highlands has an additional five pet friendly rooms in their farmhouse, which is also equipped with a common kitchen. For total privacy, the rustic cottage accommodates two people comfortably. On-site recreation might include a dip in the indoor or outdoor hot tubs or the latest installment of the inn’s monthly women’s concert series.
Proprietor Grace Newman has owned the property since 1983 and has witnessed hundreds of lesbian commitment ceremonies and weddings over the years (and same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since 2009). Her partner Maria Doyle is a Justice of the Peace in case the nuptial urge strikes! You’ll be treated to an unforgettable ceremony with the White Mountains as your backdrop.
The hosts are gracious and kind to a fault: Ask for gluten free toast, and ye shall receive. They can order you a masseuse, supply a champagne basket, provide discounts for local restaurants and give pointers for snowshoeing on the Inn’s 15-mile trail system. Want to bring home a freshly cut Christmas tree on the roof of your Lesbaru? The innkeepers will help you do that too. This is what you get when you dial LES-B-INN.
If you’re looking for a pre V-Day love shack, Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel (5191 Rt. 28, Mt. Tremper, NY, 845-688-7200, lazymeadow.com) is the closest you’ll come to the real thing.
B-52’s bombshell Kate Pierson and her partner Monica Coleman have created an oasis of kitsch in Mt. Tremper, only five miles from Woodstock in the heart of the awe-inspiring Catskills Mountains. This rescued and rehabbed retreat was designed in part by Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker, the owners of the real “Love Shack” from the 1990 video, and is filled with Kate’s collectibles from 35 years on the road. In summer months, trout fishing and tubing in Esopus Creek, which runs along the Lazy Meadow’s nine wooded acres, is heartily encouraged. During winter, hunker down in one of the cozy cabins, replete with retro creature comforts like wingback chairs, gas fireplaces, and fifties-inspired kitchens. There are two larger units for groups situated five miles from Lazy Meadow, and a secluded rustic cottage for two that does not include TV or Internet for a total escape from real life.
A veritable winter wonderland, the Catskills is a mecca for skiers and outdoorsy types; you’ll also find nearby spas for couples massages or rejuvenating yoga sessions. A drive through the mountains reveals the jaw-dropping scenery that inspired the 19th century Hudson River School of painting (don’t miss Kaaterskill Falls, a bilevel waterfall, from a hiking trail off NY Route 23A). On weekends, see legendary rock drummer Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock.
Kate is currently on tour promoting the band’s new album, but rumor has it that there could be a “big fat rock n’ roll wedding” in her future. Catch the matrimonial spirit at Lazy Meadow, and you might experience your own cosmic thing.
A state known for its cheese, ice cream and do-it-yourself Yankee fortitude. If this sounds like heaven for you and your boo, head over to the quaint town of Brattleboro for your romantic escape. Innkeepers Lucia Osiecki and Deborah Jones have been together for 32 years, and have been running the Meadowlark Inn (13 Gibson Rd and Orchard St/P.O. Box 2048, Brattleboro, 800-616-6359, meadowlarkinnvt .com) for the past 10. Both former health care professionals, they know a thing or two about nurturing body and mind for a romance to last all seasons.
Situated on three acres in Vermont’s southeast corner, the Meadowlark Inn is only 15 minutes from Massachusetts and just over the border from New Hampshire, and is situated in the heart of the region’s arts community. The inn has ample unobstructed sky views for fantastisstargazing and a wooded setting designated as a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Reserve a room with a two person Jacuzzi and stock up on the bubbly: The Meadowlark does not have their own liquor license, but encourages you to bring your own. The innkeepers will prepare a scrumptious country breakfast each morning and, on request, a candlelight dinner for two. Or, venture downtown to gay-owned Peter Havens Restaurant for a romantic Continental meal.
The town of Brattleboro produces First Friday Artwalks, a winter carnival in January, and a women’s film festival in March, just to name a few events on its packed cultural calendar. The Harris Hill Ski Jump competition takes place every February. You may also enjoy nearby ice-skating, or jingle her bells with a nighttime sleigh ride. Factory tours of the Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Cheese flagships, in Waterbury and Cabot, respectively, are about two hours north by car.
Just under two hours north of New York City and three hours southwest of Boston, Kent is a classic New England town in close proximity to the Housatonic River and the Appalachian Trail in eastern Connecticut. The Inn at Kent Falls (107 Kent Cornwall Rd., Kent, 860-927-3197 theinnatkentfalls.com), a consistently top-rated B&B, affords an intimate wedding setting sure to impress the new in-laws. The colonial main inn offers three grand suites plus queen-sized rooms that blend mid-century modern furnishings with the oak-beam interiors, and guests can enjoy the outdoor pool and impeccable gardens in warm months.
The Inn offers package stays with several themes including a Romantic Spa weekend, Family Holiday celebration and a Slumber Party package that includes group pedicures (although pillow fighting is most likely frowned upon). Altar-bound couples can avail themselves of the Commitment Package, which includes an event planner, caterer, photographer and the services of a non-denominational officiant if needed. Even those simply escaping from the city for a night might warm themselves by a crackling fireplace in several common areas of the Inn, listen to the sounds of a babbling brook (or Barbra) or request a room with a clawfoot soaking tub.
Bracing winter adventure awaits just outside. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Pond Mountain preserve is a favorite local pastime; the Mohawk Mountain ski resort, catering to downhill types and snowboarders, is a pleasant 20 minute drive northwest. After winter snows melt, the 70-foot cascade at Kent Falls State Park reaches its full strength.
Inn proprietor Ira Goldspiel lives with his partner on the connecting property—and he’s also a Sotheby’s agent. If you fall in love with the tranquility of Litchfield County, you might spend your free time browsing real estate listings with your host.