TravelSPONSORED

Why Vermont Makes for the Most Romantic LGBTQ+ Getaway

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday August 21, 2021
Originally published on August 13, 2021

Something transcendent happens when you cross Vermont's state line. Whether it's the crisp air of autumn, starry nights amid snow-capped mountains, or the rippling water as your kayak cuts through a mirrored lake on a sun-drenched summer day, the Green Mountain State is nothing short of magical.

And after nearly 18 months into the weary new normal, most of us are looking for someplace to just "be" with those we hold closest to our hearts. No matter which direction you head, there are plenty of romantic things to do in Vermont, from outdoor adventures and vineyard-hopping to dramatic locales for weddings and honeymoons. And if you're looking to celebrate the love for our LGBTQ+ community, the state whose motto is "Freedom and Unity" is the perfect place to do it, August 28 through September 5 during the Vermont Pride & Festival.

In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Vermont's people also make it a must-visit destination. From local innkeepers and artisans to master brewers and country store owners, Vermonters exude a welcoming ease and familiarity that queer travelers especially appreciate.

To help you start planning a weekend getaway, a milestone event (do we hear wedding bells?), or an extended stay with a special someone, EDGE has canvassed the state for some of our favorite Vermont destinations. But don't let us limit your imagination; check out VermontVacation.com for even more travel ideas.

MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME



What Goes Up Must Come Down — One of the best views of Vermont is from above. Listed by the travel experts at Frommer's as one of the world's ten best hot air balloon adventures, Above Reality Hot Air Balloons offers a breathtaking experience high above the Champlain Valley and Vermont countryside.

Wine Not? — Oenophiles rejoice! Vermont wineries continue to gain accolades, where you'll discover varietals specifically developed for the region's growing conditions. Ellison Estate Vineyard's breathtaking Grand Isle Tasting Room showcases a collection that celebrates the Champlain Valley's unique terroir. You'll fall in love with the slightly effervescent Regeneration 6 (100% La Crescent) and the inky La Coccinelle Et La Guêpe, a dry red made from the hybrid St. Croix grape.

Look Good in Winter White — Our polyamorous love for Vermont's 20 ski resorts can't be contained. Still, we do have a special affection for Okemo Mountain Resort, with its 121 trails and glades for all levels of skiers, as well as nearby Killington, which boasts one of the longest seasons on the East Coast (100+ days) and a luxurious spa that uses local ingredients like maple syrup, flowers, and honey.

DINNER (OR LUNCH) FOR TWO

Local chefs turn to Vermont's ever-changing bounty to create seasonal dishes that burst with authenticity and originality. So, whether you pick up some award-winning cheese for an impromptu picnic or plan a special night out, Vermont's dining scene simmers with possibilities.


Glass Half Full — Collectors from around the world descend upon Simon Pearce's picturesque outpost in a restored 19th-century mill overlooking Quechee Gorge to admire the hand-blown glass, stoneware and wood serving pieces. The onsite restaurant, voted one of "America's Most Romantic Restaurants" by Travel + Leisure, serves modern American dishes and sources local ingredients.

Silver is the New Gold — Restaurateurs Mark and Melody French recently relocated their 10-year-old restaurant, The Silver Fork, to inside Manchester Village's local library, where the sense of community permeates the space and the cuisine. Described as "a menu in movement," expect international influences and plenty of romance: The Silver Fork was just named the Top Date Night Restaurant in the U.S. by Tripadvisor.

Sweet as Honey — James Beard Award nominee Cara Chigazola Tobin oversees the menu at the female-owned and led Honey Road, where you'll stumble upon eastern Mediterranean mezze to be enjoyed al fresco or taken to go and shared at nearby Burlington Waterfront Park. Insider Tip: Order their donuts in advance for your trip home, even though temptation will likely win over before you cross the state line.

RING THEM BELLS: 3 PICKS FOR THE PERFECT VERMONT WEDDING

When Vermont's legislature legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Greg Trulson, an elected justice of the peace since 2001, was ready to get to work. Trulson and his husband and business partner, Willie Docto, hosted the state's first gay nuptials at Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse. Two years later, Trulson presided over another historic wedding: The country's first military officer to openly wed after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

After officiating more than 1,000 weddings throughout Vermont, Trulson recognizes that each is historic in its own way. "There's so much about Vermont that people love — everyone has a reason why they want to come here to get married," reflects Trulson. "They love the outdoors, or they have a second home, or they met at school. Vermont offers so much variety for people. Many times, I've officiated weddings where none of the guests are from Vermont! Couples just want to share with their guests a place that means so much to them."

Here are three unique Vermont wedding venues to inspire your special day:

A Lovers' Lodge — Trulson and Docto's Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse is the ideal spot for an intimate wedding. Imagine a gathering with a dozen of your closest loved ones set against the backdrop of an Adirondack-style lodge and a skyline of soaring spruce, pine and maple trees. For a particularly memorable wedding night, book the treehouse for the ultimate glamping experience.

Make HistoryThe Dorset Inn welcomed its first guests in 1796 and has been a New England mainstay ever since. Completely refurbished and brimming with architectural features, the inn's wow-factor wedding details include six acres of manicured grounds, two large bridal (or groom!) suites with oversized whirlpool tubs and gas-burning fireplaces, and 52 rooms to accommodate all of your chosen family.

From Hilltop to Barn Bash — Located on the outskirts of Vermont's northern town of St. Johnsbury, The Alerin Barn offers the best of romantic Vermont all in one location. A vintage tractor and wagon transport guests to a hilltop ceremony, followed by cocktails in a timber pavilion overlooking nearby ponds. The two-story reception barn can accommodate up to 180 guests for events of any style, from casual food trucks to multi-course catering.

STAY THE NIGHT

Even without a formal ceremony, there are plenty of Vermont hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts that provide a romantic setting. For those who like to stay on the move, consider a road trip on one of Vermont's 10 scenic byways and discover charming accommodations along the way. Here are a few to get you started:

Live Like Royalty — New England charm never looked so good at Castle Hill Resort and Spa. The 10-room mansion exudes Old World charm, its beautifully preserved features securing its status on the National Register of Historic Places. Head to the former carriage house for a day of pampering at Castle Hill's award-winning Aveda Concept Spa. For a full day of pampering, book the Pure Indulgence Package, which includes the spa's signature elemental nature massage, body wrap, Tulasara facial, and foot reflexology.

High MarksLang House in Burlington, Vermont, has strong ties to the nearby University of Vermont through innkeeper and alumna Kim Borsavage, along with past and current staff who have attended the school. Built in 1881, it was once owned by the university's founder Ira Allen. The room named in his honor (#201) features a king-size bed, port wine-colored walls, and gold velvet curtains for a glorious night in the Gilded Age. Add on sparkling wine, flowers, or Vermont cheese and chocolate for an extra-special experience.

Très Magnifique! — Who needs to go overseas when a vicarious trip to the French countryside can be found at The Inn on Putney Road? First occupied in 1931, the French Baronial chateaux remained privately owned until 1992 and has since evolved into one of Vermont's most sought-after romantic getaways. Consider the Red Maple Room in the former carriage house, which features a two-person Jacuzzi, love seat, and plush robes for snuggling in front of the fireplace.

Ready to explore more? Visit VermontVacation.com.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.