by Scott Kearnan
(photo: courtesy Winter Rendezvous)
Mark your calendar for January 22-26, when Winter Rendezvous will take over scenic Stowe, Vermont and bring to the resort town the 30th anniversary of the popular gay ski week.
It’s not just for snow bunnies! A lineup of dance parties, live entertainment and other events will ensure there’s plenty of other activity warming up the icy mountain.
Of course, superb Vermont skiing is the centerpiece of the Winter Rendezvous: from downhill dashing at Stowe Mountain Resort, home to the state’s highest peak, to cross-country treks at the Trapp Family Lodge, founded on property settled by the Austrian von Trapp family on which The Sound of Music is based. (Descendents still own it today, and a costume-optional sing-along screening is part of the Winter Rendezvous lineup.)
Outdoorsy types will also find options for dog sledding, snow shoeing and sleigh rides.
And there’s also an entertainment series offering different experiences at various Stowe venues nightly: including a “kick-off” party, climactic “blow-out” bash, and indoor pool party with DJ Harrison of Club Café’s Back 2 Basics Tea Dance. (Probably the only excuse you’ll have to break out a bathing suit in late January.)
Add performances by the stud string quartet Well Strung and drag beauty shop quartet Kinsey Sicks, and you have a mountainous heap of excuses to hit the road, head north, and enjoy a gay ski week that will be the highlight of winter getaways: it’ll all be downhill after that.
For more info on Winter Rendezvous and to purchase packages (starting at $160), visit winterrendezvous.com.
Must-Sees, Must-Stays, and Must-Dos in the Fabulous Vermont Resort Town: From snow-covered mountains to roaring lodge hearths, Stowe has plenty to offer for a quintessential New England winter escape. Here are our picks for an itinerary:
City slickers and the luxury-minded will love Stowe’s Topnotch Resort, a recently remodeled property that blends the charm and rustic details of a contemporary ski lodge with the kind of sleek, contemporary architecture featured on a Dwell cover, and chic-meets-simple-life décor in guest rooms, suites and overlook homes; plus there’s fantastic dining at on-site restaurants Flannel and The Roost, a pampering spa, and an indoor swimming pool and hot tub with waterfall.
Just 15 minutes away in nearby Waterbury is Moose Meadow Lodge, a gay-owned B&B in a luxury log cabin that overflows with antlers, wildlife taxidermy, and various backwoods bric-a-brac. You can also go “glamping” in the Lodge’s elaborate, sprawling two-story tree house, with 29 windows offering panoramic views of the forest and pond.
Indulge in farm-to-table dining at Crop, offering upscale takes on American bistro and pub fare that constantly changes to reflect what’s fresh and local; sip six craft beers made in its imported, Bavarian-constructed on-site brewhouse. (We also suggest a flight of German hops-made lagers from the Trapp Lager Brewery.)
Refined but unpretentious, Harrison’s Restaurant is a local favorite, and you’ll regret not riding by Blue Donkey for some of the biggest, best, and yes, sloppiest burgers in the Green Mountain State.
Stop by the adorable antique shops and art galleries downtown. Check out the film screenings, musical artists and live theatrical events taking up residence at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center.
And visit gostowe.com for a lineup of daily events throughout town.
(photo: courtesy Winter Rendezvous)
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GO Gay Outdoors (photo: courtesy GO Gay Outdoors)
Camping 'out' in the great outdoors this summer
by Scott Kearnan
Note: This story is adapted from the July/August 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.
Ready to rough it?
Summer’s here and the itch for a weekend (or longer) escape gets stronger with each passing sunny day. But despite stereotypes to the contrary, not all LGBT folks want to book some fabulous far-flung vacation—or even lay towel-to-towel with all the usual suspects in P’town. Yes, world, we love the great outdoors too: not just the bears. (Grizzly or otherwise.) The thing is, campsites and woodsy getaways aren’t always among the most inclusive spots. Any bad run-in with a backwoods hick can attest to that. So we found ten queer-friendly spots throughout beautiful New England that are perfect for tossing up a tent or curling up in a cabin, turning off the iPhone, and getting back to nature with fellow gay campers. Take that, Boy Scouts of America!
Looking like the set of an All-American summer camp movie (though not the type with hockey masks) is ‘Camp’ Camp, tucked away in southwestern Maine. It attracts over 200 diverse LGBT people annually—this year from August 18-25—with all the activities you did as a kid: adventure courses, hikes, canoeing, tie dying, pottery—oh my! But the community-building environment is worlds apart from intimidating adolescent experiences. Camp’s cabins are even named for famous LGBT people, so after a day of swimming you may dry off in Greg Louganis—or you could hit the hay in Ellen Degeneres after wowing the talent show audience. Throw in evening campfire parties, a barn dance, and even a sanctioned skinny-dipping outing (didn’t have that as a teenager), and it equals a perfect summer vacation. A sliding work/play fee scale allows payment via sweat equity, so there’s an option for every budget. (More: Campcamp.com)
(photo: Cheryl Colombo)