Gay Getaways: Find Your Fall Getaway in a State with Marriage Equality

By Andy Lien August 22, 2013

Categories: Featured - Home Page, Our Scene, Travel & Recreation

There’s something about a state with legal same-sex marriage that just makes me want to visit it and spend my money there. Now that Minnesota has joined the honor roll, it’s a fine time for Lavender to highlight all of the states where same-sex marriage is legal. You can plan a vacation or a wedding–your pick. At this time in history, the growing list of states includes: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. We highlighted nine of them here; go to the end of this article for links to the rest…and get getting-away!

California

 

(Clockwise from left) Castro at Night; Cupid's Span; California Street Cable Cars. San Francisco Travel Association photos.

(Clockwise from left) Castro at Night; Cupid’s Span; California Street Cable Cars. San Francisco Travel Association photos.

By San Francisco Travel, www.sanfrancisco.travel

Always at the top of the list as one of the best cities to visit in the world, San Francisco is best known for its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, and world-class cuisine. Measuring 49 square miles, this walk-able city includes landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz, and the largest Chinatown in the United States. A stroll of the city’s streets can lead from the Castro to North Beach to Fisherman’s Wharf, with intriguing neighborhoods to explore. Views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay are often laced with fog, creating a romantic mood in this most European of American cities.

Fall Features

The Golden Gate Bridge, the most famous bridge in the world, manages to impress even the most experienced travelers with its stunning 1.7-mile span. The warm, clear days of fall are a perfect time to explore this world famous icon. Approximately 120,000 automobiles drive across it every day. A pedestrian walkway also allows the crossing on foot, and bikes are allowed on the western side. The Golden Gate Bridge is said to be one of the most photographed things on Earth and now features new 3,500-square-foot Bridge Pavilion to welcome visitors, house celebratory merchandise, and display interpretive exhibits. The iconic Round House has been converted to a space for visitor and education programs plus a “green screen” photo area where visitors can picture themselves in locations not accessible to the general public such as the top of the tower or climbing the cables. www.goldengatebridge.org

Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge in 2011, The Bay Lights is a fine art piece installed on the western span and viewable from San Francisco and points north (but not by drivers crossing the bridge). Measuring 1.8-miles long and 500-feet high, the high-tech light sculpture design features 25,000 individually programmable, energy-efficient LED lights mounted on the bridge’s vertical cables. The Bay Lights will remain on the bridge for two years and is projected to add $97 million to the local economy. Installation of the lights began in October 2012 by internationally acclaimed artist Leo Villareal and was completed in March 2013. The world’s largest LED sculpture is on display daily from dusk to 2am daily. www.thebaylights.org

The Walt Disney Family Museum presents the exhibition Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong on through Feb. 3, 2014. The exhibition focuses on the life and work of Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong—a celebrated painter, muralist, kite maker, lithographer, Hollywood sketch artist, calligrapher, ceramicist, and Disney Legend. This retrospective features more than 150 works including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, painted scarves, kites, and more. Although he never met Walt Disney, it was the ethereal beauty of Wong’s Eastern influenced paintings that caught Disney’s eye and became the inspiration for the animated feature Bambi, which changed the way animation art was presented. www.waltdisney.org 

GLBT Attractions

Often referred to as San Francisco’s “queer Smithsonian,” the GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender historical materials. The society’s GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. www.glbthistory.org

San Francisco’s beautiful City Hall is a landmark for the LGBT community.  It was here in 2004 that then-Mayor Gavin Newsom first legalized same-sex marriages.  Through the legal ups and downs, San Francisco has been a beloved location for weddings, commitment ceremonies and honeymoons ever since.  Come for the Beaux Arts architecture, to commit to your love, or to feel the glow as couples, gay and straight, take their wedding vows beneath the towering rotunda.  www.sfgov.org

The Castro, known at the “gay capital of the world,” offers exciting nightlife, pedestrian-friendly streets, Victorian homes, an array of trendy stores, and outdoor cafes for the “see and scene” crowd.  Take a trip back in gay history at the legendary Castro Theatre movie palace. This iconic spot houses smaller, independent flicks and is just as active now as it was in the 1920s.  www.castrotheatre.com

 

Connecticut

 

Enjoy the Calm Atmosphere of Mystic Seaport. Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. New England Fall Foliage. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

Enjoy the Calm Atmosphere of Mystic Seaport. Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. New England Fall Foliage. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

By the Connecticut Office of Tourism, www.ctvisit.com

Connecticut is a beautiful destination any time of the year, but in autumn, it’s the crown jewel of New England fall foliage. Its charming colonial towns and picturesque natural wonders are enhanced by fall’s colors, making for memorable experiences no matter what you have planned. Go antiquing, stroll through a seaside village, or sip wine overlooking one of our beautiful vineyards. Whether you’re looking to visit a local farm or a world-class casino, peruse classic art at a museum, or hike through the hills, fall is the perfect time to find inspiration and hidden gems in Connecticut.

Fall Features

The Connecticut Wine Trail is a group of 25 charming vineyards divided into western and eastern sections. Connecticut-produced wines have won hundreds of awards and medals and include varieties such Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Vineyards of note include Sunset Meadow Vineyards, which offers year-round wine tasting, and Haight-Brown Vineyard, where you can sample delicious artisan cheeses and other foods with your wine at HB Café. For those of you who prefer drinks of the hoppier variety, check out Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield, where you can tour the factory and sample 11 unique beers. www.ctwine.com

Don’t miss out on one of Connecticut’s most charming facets, our Cozy Bed & Breakfasts. You won’t find friendly service, comfort, charm, or home cooking of this caliber anywhere else! Visit lovely ends like Inn at Stonington, Old Mystic Inn or Cornucopia at Oldfield Bed and Breakfast. A true gem is Butternut Farm Bed & Breakfast, an adorable cottage-style inn replete with 18th century antiques, its grounds are home to dairy goats, pheasants, chickens, and housecats. Search for your B&B at www.ctvisit.com.

Connecticut is home to the nation’s leading maritime museum, Mystic Seaport. If you’re a history buff or just a casual admirer of Connecticut’s storied past, you’ll love the working preservation shipyard, huge photography collection, and brisk sea air at Mystic Seaport. There are events going on all season, like twilight cruises, beer tastings, and Halloween fun all through October. Afterwards, take a walk through the seaside town of Mystic, home to many cute cafes and shops. www.mysticseaport.org

GLBT Attractions

Connecticut has several community GLBT Centers, such as the Triangle Community Center and the New Haven Pride Center. Additionally, the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective is holding their annual OneBigEvent –Connecticut’s premier GLBT gala—this October!

Triangle Community Center: www.ctgay.org. New Haven Pride Center: www.nhglcc.org. Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective: www.hglhc.org

 

Iowa

 

(Clockwise from left) Loess Hills, photo by Erich Ernst; Hotel Blackhawk, photo by Alise O'Brien Photography; Bentonsport (Villages of Van Buren), photo by Phil Augustavo; Autumn  River Scene, photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

(Clockwise from left) Loess Hills, photo by Erich Ernst; Hotel Blackhawk, photo by Alise O’Brien Photography; Bentonsport (Villages of Van Buren), photo by Phil Augustavo; Autumn River Scene, photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

By Iowa Tourism, www.traveliowa.com

Iowa welcomes all travelers to enjoy our diverse destinations. The only state bordered by two National Scenic Byways, The Great River Road on the east and the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway on the west, means Iowa enchants visitors with autumn beauty from border to border. Take in the colors on a hike through a park, pick a pumpkin at your favorite patch, or share scary stories at an historic hotel. Just a short drive from Minneapolis, Iowa is a quick and affordable weekend destination.

Fall Features

The Villages of Van Buren are made up of a small cluster of villages in southeast Iowa. Drive through the countryside, picnic in a park, hike the trails, stroll through the shops, enjoy the historic architecture, paddle the Des Moines River Water Trail, or relax and take in the solitude. In the fall, Lacey Keosauqua State Park is especially picturesque. Bordering the great “horseshoe bend” of the Des Moines River, the park is one of the largest in the state and welcome visitors with the quiet beauty of the flowers, shrubs, timber and plenty of hiking trails. www.villagesofvanburen.com

Fall and ghosts go hand-in-hand. The Villisca Ax Murder House is the site of one of the grizzliest murders in American history. On July 10, 1912, someone bludgeoned to death Josiah and Sara Moore, their four children, and two children who were spending the night. To this day the murder is unsolved and the home has become a popular destination for lovers of the paranormal. The home has been restored to its 1912 appearance and is open to visitors, the bravest of whom may make reservations to spend the night in this home that some people say is haunted. www.villiscaiowa.com/history.php

Living Loess (rhymes with “bus”) includes nine artisan attractions located within 20 miles of each other nestled in the Loess Hills in Pottawattamie and Harrison counties in western Iowa. They include: Garden Grove Eatery, Gallaher Designs, Harrison County Historical Village and Welcome Center, Harvest Studio, Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Creamery, Loess Hills Lavender Farm, Loess Hills Woodworks, Sawmill Hollow Family Farm, and Sawmill Hollow which is the nation’s first aronia berry farm. The North American Aronia Berry Festival is the third weekend in September. Also in the area, Honey Creek Farms is situated in a renovated historic bunkhouse on a century farm where artisan cheese is crafted using fresh goat’s milk. www.livingloess.com

GLBT Attractions

The Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa, is a beautifully restored historic property and the only in Iowa that is a member of IGLTA and TAG-approved. The property offers a special “Pride Package” that includes accommodations, bowling, spa credit, drink certificates and a bottle of champagne. The hotel sells about 100 Pride Packages to couples from the Minneapolis area each month.
www.hotelblackhawk.com/pride/

 

Maine

 

(Clockwise from left) Ogunquit Playhouse, photo by Robert Dennis; Miranda Havalotti Cooking Lobsters, photo by Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld; Foliage at Sugarloaf Golf Course, photo courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism.

(Clockwise from left) Ogunquit Playhouse, photo by Robert Dennis; Miranda Havalotti Cooking Lobsters, photo by Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld; Foliage at Sugarloaf Golf Course, photo courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism.

By the Maine Office of Tourism, www.visitmaine.com

Maine’s renowned National Parks (including Acadia), dramatic rocky shorelines, majestic mountains, and sandy beaches combine with picturesque towns, notable cuisine, and cultural attractions to offer a unique vacation.  With the crisp autumn air comes the chance to experience a quintessential fall weekend. Glorious colors are on display state-wide. From quiet coastal villages and lakeside golf courses to scenic mountain passes, Maine offers a variety of settings for nature’s brilliant show. Maine’s official Fall Foliage website has updates on leaf conditions, with recommended hikes and drives (www.maine.gov/doc/foliage/). Another fall favorite is heading to an orchard for apple picking and a glass of fresh-pressed cider.

Fall Features

Maine has inspired many of the nation’s most renowned artists from Frederic Edwin Church and Georgia O’Keeffe, to Winslow Homer and three generations of the Wyeth family.  Fall is perfect for exploring the 167-mile-long Maine Art Museum Trail that joins seven of the most outstanding museums including the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick), the Colby College Museum of Art with new Lunder Wing of American Masterworks (Waterville), and the Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland).  And Wind\slow Homer’s famed Studio may now be visited on guided tour (Scarborough).  Details can be downloaded at www.VisitMaine.com.

Maine’s fall fairs have something for everyone. Local cuisine is sampled at Harvest Fest & Chowder Cook-off in Bethel (September), ChiliFest in Wells (September), Salmon Festival in Eastport (September), Common Ground Country Fair in Unity (September), Apple Festival in Rangeley Lakes (October), or Acadia’s Oktoberfest on Mount Desert Island (October).  Maine-made crafts are found at Country Roads Artists & Artisans Tour (September), Fall Festival Arts & Crafts Show in Camden (September), Caribou Fall Arts & Crafts Festival (October).  Maine history, music and culture are enjoyed at WoodenBoat Sail-In in Brooklin (September), Ogunquit’s Antique Show & Sale (September), Tea and Popovers at Acadia National Park (October), and Living History Days in Leonard’s Mill (October).

Over 400 treasure-filled antique shops dot Maine’s scenic highways and byways, making Maine a favorite destination for antique-seekers. The trails are loose centers or “loops” which feature a bounty of antique shops and dealers. Try more than one trail, combine parts of each, or explore beyond them.  U.S. Route 1 from the town of York (which is in itself an antique, as America’s oldest chartered city) through Ogunquit, Wells, and Kennebunkport to Arundel boasts the largest concentration of antique shops in Maine, within just 30 miles. For more information, visit the Maine Antique Dealers Association at www.maineantiques.org.

GLBT Attractions

Ogunquit on Maine’s southern coast is a friendly resort and artist colony that has been welcoming GLBT visitors for more than 100 years. Featuring three miles of white sandy beaches, its Fall offerings include beautiful foliage, lively dance clubs, shopping, antiquing, restaurants and lobster pounds, the 80-year-old Ogunquit Theater showing West Side Story (September) and The Buddy Holly Story (October), the Lobster Dash race (September), 1780 Heritage Museum, and famed Marginal Way—once an old Indian trail, now a meandering path hugging the ocean for 1.25 miles with some of the best views, flora and fauna along Maine’s coastline. www.gayogunquit.com

Mainestreet Ogunquit is one of New England’s largest gay entertainment complexes, and strives to be the standard in which others are judged. Besides being one of the region’s top dance, Mainestreet has featured a variety of shows from plays to drag to comedy. Favorite events are Top 40 dancing, karaoke, and killer women’s tea dances, and summer nights are best on our outdoor deck. Mainestreet remains open all year, and is referred to as “Ogunquit’s Party Central.” www.mainestreetogunquit.com

Highly popular with the gay community, Nosh Kitchen Bar is a casual, urban-style eatery located in Portland’s downtown Arts District along trendy Congress Street.  The restaurant offers a creative perspective on traditional deli techniques, based on the use of local, fresh, all-natural, and sustainable ingredients.  Favorite classic sandwiches receive an inventive twist with meats that are butchered, brined, and roasted “in house” and served on bread that is locally baked.  Open for lunch, dinner, and well into the night, Nosh is a particular favorite for cocktails and after local bar-hopping. www.noshkitchenbar.com

 

Maryland

 

(Clockwise from left) Potomac Forest; Maritime Museum; Wednesday Night Sail Boat Races; Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Photos courtesy of Maryland Office of Tourism.

(Clockwise from left) Potomac Forest; Maritime Museum; Wednesday Night Sail Boat Races; Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Photos courtesy of Maryland Office of Tourism.

By the Maryland Office of Tourism, www.visitmaryland.org

Maryland invites visitors to explore out-of-the-ordinary destinations that aren’t out of the way. Enjoy the excitement of a journey through the state’s five regions, traveling from serene oceanfront hideaways and Chesapeake Bay villages to wonderfully vibrant Main Streets and majestic mountainscapes. Be inspired by our beautiful countryside, set out on a leisurely drive along a network of Civil War Trails, tour local vineyards and craft breweries, or pause in Baltimore at the birthplace of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Pick from an extensive schedule of cultural events and delight in our culinary specialties, including seafood fresh from the Chesapeake Bay.

Fall Features

Maryland’s largest city is Baltimore, known to many as Charm City. Fall brings cooler temperatures, but our attractions have turned up the heat with brand-new exhibits and events. A sampling includes: The National Aquarium in Baltimore made a big splash by opening a $12.5 million Blacktip Reef, filled with 20 sharks and Calypso, a 500+ pound green sea turtle. Mummies of the World, both human and animal, will appear at the Maryland Science Center beginning September 28, 2013. African-American’s role in pop culture and comic books is explored at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum through March 2014. www.baltimore.org/lgbt-baltimore

Adventure lovers and leaf-peepers head to Mountain Maryland in the fall. Activities such as hiking, mountain biking, driving gently winding scenic routes, ziplining, steam locomotive rides, and pedaling along the C&O Canal or the Great Allegheny Passage are just a few choices for visitors to the Deep Creek Lake and greater Cumberland areas. Lodging ranges from a lakeside casino hotel to cozy bed and breakfasts to vacation rental chalets that sleep up to 24 people. Seasonal events include a ten-day Autumn Glory Festival, dirt-track racing at The Rock, or two weekends of open houses at local artist studios.

Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the world, in part for the two huge boat shows that fill the docks. Now in its 42nd year, the United States Powerboat Show, October 3-6, 2013, attracts over 40,000 attendees. The show, the nation’s oldest and largest in-water powerboat exhibition, will precede the United States Sailboat Show, October 10-14, 2013. But anytime of the year, visitors can visit the US Naval Academy to learn about plebe induction, Navy football, and naval heroes such as Admiral John Paul Jones. Don’t miss the museum which houses intricate ship models and trinkets carved by sailors from soup bones. www.visitannapolis.org

 

Minnesota

 

(Clockwise from left) A Fall Day at Stony Run Woods; Sea Kayaking on Lake Superior; Golden Leaves around Lake Harriet; Grand Marais on the North Shore. © Explore Minnesota Photos.

(Clockwise from left) A Fall Day at Stony Run Woods; Sea Kayaking on Lake Superior; Golden Leaves around Lake Harriet; Grand Marais on the North Shore. © Explore Minnesota Photos.

By Explore Minnesota Tourism, www.exploreminnesota.com

Fall is a peak time to explore Minnesota’s back roads, lakes and rivers, see the splendor of fall foliage, savor home-grown products at harvest time, sample local beer and wine, or attend a seasonal festival. A bounty of options will get you out in the country, whether you’re looking for a day trip getaway or romantic weekend for two. Or tour the Twin Cities for Broadway shows, world-class art museums, shopping and fine dining combined with the natural beauty of area lakes and Mississippi River to create an unparalleled metropolitan experience.

Fall Features

The North Shore of Lake Superior gives great color and lake views and is very popular with fall color fans. Along Highway 61 from Duluth to Grand Portage, visitors can find several state parks with wilderness rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks. Yellow aspen and birch along shoreline, with scarlet maples inland, line the forest roads. This has been designated as an “All American Drive,” one of only 15 routes in the country so noted for their outstanding scenery. For an inland view, take Hwy. 1 through the colors of the Superior National Forest to Ely.

Charming rivertowns and wooded bluffs are found on the Great River Road (Highway 61) along the Mississippi between Red Wing and LaCrescent. Steep hillsides dressed in brilliant autumn hues of red, russet and gold. Several scenic overlooks, including those at Frontenac and Great River Bluffs state parks. Several roadside apple stands. This is a popular fall drive, so book your stay ahead of time. Red Wing is one of many towns along the Great River Road that offer an outstanding collection of architectural treasures and spectacular views of the Mississippi River from scenic bluffs. Take a tour of the town by trolley car, shop in the restored Red Wing Pottery Factory, and have lunch in the historic St. James Hotel.

Few major cities can boast such beautiful drives for Twin Cities Touring, especially pretty in the fall. Circle Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, Harriet and Nokomis lakes, and visit Minnehaha Falls. They’re all along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The Lake Street and Ford Parkway bridges have great views of the Mississippi bordered by colorful, wooded hillsides. St. Paul’s tree-lined Summit Avenue is bordered by stately homes.

 

New Hampshire

 

(Clockwise from left) NHDTTD/Dale Lary- Perch Pond in Campton; NHDTTD/Debbie Hill- Conway Scenic Railroad's Crawford Station; NHDTTD/Ellen Edersheim- Vegetable Stand, Campton Farm.

(Clockwise from left) NHDTTD/Dale Lary- Perch Pond in Campton; NHDTTD/Debbie Hill- Conway Scenic Railroad’s Crawford Station; NHDTTD/Ellen Edersheim- Vegetable Stand, Campton Farm.

By the State of New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, www.visitnh.gov

From Hampton Beach to Lake Winnipesaukee and Mt. Monadnock to Mt. Washington, our great outdoors are the perfect place to getaway and relax this fall. Covered bridges, grand hotels, and quaint inns and B&Bs all make for the essential New Hampshire experience. Walk our main streets in places like Manchester, Portsmouth, and Keene.  Try tax-free shopping at our outlet malls, boutique shops, and marketplaces.  Enjoy incredible fall foliage on foot, in a car, overhead in a hot air balloon, or on one of our five scenic trains.  Farmers markets, pick your own, festivals, and fairs will fill your days and nights.  New Hampshire’s tourism website changes seasonally to include fall photography and website color-schemes at www.visitnh.gov. Starting in September, we include links on our home page to seasonal itineraries for fall, a link to our fall foliage tracker (an interactive map that allows you to see projected levels of peak by date and area of the state), as well as providing an option to sign up for text alerts with scenic drives.  We also do a weekly foliage report through the fall season and have an app in both the Google Play store and on iTunes called the NH Foliage Tracker App.

Fall Features

The 34.5 miles of Route 112 in the White Mountains, also known as the Kancamagus Highway between Lincoln and Conway, New Hampshire provides some of the most spectacular foliage in the country.  Scenic overlooks provide stunning views of reds, yellows, and oranges.  Just a short hike off the beaten path is a sparkling waterfall.  Enjoy views of the White Mountain National Forest and get back to nature.

The Keene Pumpkin Festival in October is known worldwide for its attempts to break the world record for most lit pumpkins in one place at the same time and has succeeded with eight world records.  The last time was in 2003 with 28,952 lit pumpkins.  Last year, the Property Brothers from HGTV filmed a program during the festival called “Pumpkin Wars” with one brother in New Hampshire and the other in Illinois to see which festival could get more lit pumpkins.  While in Keene at the festival, visitors can enjoy food, music, crafts, a costume parade, and pumpkin bowling.  www.pumpkinfestival2011.org

Enjoy the Deerfield Fair in Deerfield, New Hampshire, on September 26, 27, 28 & 29, 2013.  With 137 years of Agricultural Family Fun, this fair is New England’s Oldest “Family Fair.”  See all the classic fair events like tractor pulls, 4H competitions, horse pulls, sheep and cattle judging, along with entertainment ranging from magicians, puppet shows, and square dancers to a circus and the Miss Deerfield Fair Pageant! www.deerfieldfair.com 

GLBT Attractions

The Highlands Inn in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, has been called “one of the most romantic lesbian destinations on the planet” by Planet Out and has received the Pink Choice Award every year since 2007.  It is an 18-room women’s resort on a hundred private acres in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  The property includes three buildings: the Main Inn with 12 rooms, the Farmhouse with 5 rooms, and the rustic Cottage. With large common areas, including a cozy living room with a cheery fireplace, and antiques and fresh flowers throughout, this lesbian-owned-and-run inn will remind you of a Victorian country home.
www.highlandsinn-nh.com

The Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire, has been owned by Ed Butler and his husband, Les Schoof, for more than 20 years.  Surrounded by well-kept gardens dotted with purple lupine flowers and looking out on the green forested mountains, the inn provides its visitors an idyllic setting.  The Inn hosts weddings and honeymoons and even has an in-house Justice of the Peace. www.notchland.com

 

New York

 

(Clockwise from left) Horse Carriage; Pumpkin Patch; Ontario County. Photos courtesy of New York State Tourism.

(Clockwise from left) Horse Carriage; Pumpkin Patch; Ontario County. Photos courtesy of New York State Tourism.

By New York State Tourism, www.iloveny.com

New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley & Finger Lakes and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In fall, visitors can engage in refreshing outdoor activities to admire the changing colors or they can stop by any of New York’s abundant farmers markets to feast on its fresh fruits and vegetables, unique apple ciders and award-winning wines. All throughout the season the Empire State has activities tailored for every visitor.

Fall Features

This fall season, visitors throughout New York can explore delicious food and beverage “trails” to discover what great new restaurant chefs have already found out: nothing beats hand-crafted, local food and beverages. The Culinary Institute of America Food Enthusiast Classes, in conjunction with Farm Fresh Tours, offers the opportunity to spend a day with celebrated chefs to learn how to turn fresh ingredients into mouthwatering dishes. Between September 15 and October 13, there will be classes on Spanish and Italian cooking; seafood; outdoor grilling, healthy cooking for one; chocolates and confections; and baking skills, from artisan breads to cookies. www.enthusiasts.ciachef.edu

Path Through History Weekends are designed to make it easy to experience the Empire State’s rich heritage and diverse attractions. Interactive science museums, homes of former presidents and artists, living history recreations, and former battlefields are among the cultural and historic sites offering discounted or free admission along with hands-on activities and special interest tours during these weekends. Many historic districts and parks also host festivals, often with live music, crafts and local foods. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a nature lover, curious about history or simply want to have fun, these weekends are not to be missed. www.paththroughhistory.ny.gov

Follow the Foliage. I LOVE NEW YORK’s weekly foliage reports begin September 11 and are updated weekly through early November at iloveny.com/fall. The site provides a detailed update of foliage conditions across New York State, including a map charting fall color progress, vantage points for viewing spectacular foliage, suggested autumn getaways and event listings. You may also hear highlights of the foliage report by dialing (800) CALL-NYS.

The Vineyard Express train, along the scenic Hudson River, stops at Poughkeepsie, with lunch at Vineyard Grill & Café and a hike along the Vineyard Walking Trail of Millbrook Vineyards & WineryWine Enthusiast magazine touted Millbrook Vineyards 2010 25th Anniversary Pinot Noir, which proved to be their top scorer at 89 out of 100 as well as it 2010 25th Anniversary Chardonnay rated at 88. www.millbrookwine.com

GLBT Attractions

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is considered a human rights pioneer, and her Val Kill cottage retreat is preserved in the Hudson Valley. This property that she shared with her friends — including a lesbian couple, according to the New York Times — is just down the way from the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site with its mansion, presidential library and museum. www.nps.gov/elro

Rochester’s ImageOut is upstate’s longest running lesbian/gay film and video festival. ImageOut presents GLBT arts and cultural experiences showcasing films, other creative works and artists to promote awareness, foster dialogue, and build a community. This year’s festival will be held from October 11-20, 2013. www.imageout.org

Plan your trip on lgbt.iloveny.com. “The LGBT community and New York State go way back. This is where the Stonewall rebellion gave birth to the modern LGBT civil rights movement, just as it was the birthplace of the women’s rights movement and a hub of the abolitionist movement. It’s where Harvey Milk went to college, and home to the nation’s oldest continually operating LGBT community center and longest continually published LGBT newspaper. We continued to make history when we became the largest state in the nation with legal marriage for all loving couples.”

 

Rhode Island

 

(Clockwise from left) Downtown Providence; Castle Hill Lighthouse; Historic Ochre Court Mansion in Newport.  Photos courtesy of iStockphoto.

(Clockwise from left) Downtown Providence; Castle Hill Lighthouse; Historic Ochre Court Mansion in Newport. Photos courtesy of iStockphoto.

By the Rhode Island Tourism Division, www.visitrhodeisland.com

Autumn is famously when New England’s picturesque landscape explodes into a kaleidoscope of color, and Rhode Island is no exception. The fall foliage serves as the perfect backdrop to the state’s magnificent oceanfront vistas, whether dining al fresco in Providence or exploring the casual luxury of Newport.  Aside from the breathtaking scenery, Rhode Island’s buzzing nightlife, cultural offerings, and critically acclaimed gastronomy make the Ocean State a great getaway all year round.  And as proof that Little Rhody has always been one of the most gay-friendly states in the country, it recently became the tenth state to perform same-sex marriages.

Fall Features 

As the setting of the Gilded Age, Newport, Rhode Island, with its Newport Mansions, has long been emblematic of American luxury and elegance. For centuries, America’s elite escaped to Newport to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, entertain other well-to-do guests, and take in the beautiful waterfront vistas of the Ocean State. Today, the Newport Mansions are protected national treasures which reflect the apex of American prosperity during the industrial revolution and which still retain the same opulent feel. Events such as the Newport Wine & Food Festival, hosted annually, also showcase the magnificence of the Mansions and bring them to life. www.newportmansions.org

The “crown jewel of the Providence renaissance,” WaterFire is an award-winning installation by Barnaby Evans. Nestled along the banks of the rivers of downtown Providence, fire, music and art create an unforgettably soulful performance. Over eighty sparkling bonfires sit in braziers atop the three rivers of downtown Providence, while gondolas glide along the riverbanks and passengers take in the magical sights and sounds. Since its inception in 1997, WaterFire has drawn over ten million visitors to downtown Providence, revitalizing the city with its simple, inspiring beauty.  www.waterfire.org

Rhode Island School of Design is ranked among the world’s leading colleges of art and design and, as such, the RISD Museum of Art is also characterized as one of the nation’s finest small museums. Among its collections are nineteenth-century French Art, classical Greek, Roman and Etruscan art, Medieval and Renaissance art, and European decorative and Oriental art. RISD Museum also features nineteenth- and twentieth-century American paintings, modern Latin American art, contemporary art and major holdings in costumes and textiles.  www.risdmuseum.org 

GLBT Attractions

Founded by Roger Williams in 1636 on the tenets of tolerance, liberty and free will, Downtown Providence has no specific “gay neighborhood.” The GLBT community is inextricably woven into Rhode Island culture, and Providence is no exception – the city’s bustling downtown area boasts over two dozen gay bars, clubs, and other venues which are either gay-owned or gay-friendly and which are best explored on foot. www.goprovidence.com/visitors/gay-providence/ 

The Providence Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) aspires to deliver empowering messages of equality for all, to present unique & collaborative musical performances by one of the finest gay male choral ensembles in the country, and to be inspirational leaders of social change. Since its founding in 1995 with a small ad in a local GLBT paper, PGMC has become an award-winning, nationally acclaimed organization and one of the best musical experiences Little Rhody has to offer. www.provgmc.org 

Rhode Island’s GLBT Publications are not to be missed. Get is Rhode Island’s premiere gay magazine: www.Get-RI.comNewport Out is the definitive guide to Newport, RI for the GLBT community: www.NewportOut.com. Edge Providence provides a news and entertainment portal focused on the GLBT community in Providence, RI: www.EdgeProvidence.com 

 

“Gay Getaways” State Resources

 

California:
www.sanfrancisco.travel and www.sanfrancisco.travel/lgbt/

Connecticut:
www.ctvisit.com

Iowa:
www.traveliowa.com

Maine:
www.visitmaine.com

Maryland:
www.visitmaryland.org

Minnesota:
www.exploreminnesota.com

New Hampshire:
www.visitnh.gov

New York:
iloveny.com and lgbt.iloveny.com

Rhode Island:
www.visitrhodeisland.com

 

Additional States with Marriage Equality:

 

District of Columbia/Washington DC:
www.washington.org

Delaware:
www.visitdelaware.com

Massachusetts:
www.lgbtmassvacation.com

Vermont:
www.1-800-vermont.com

Washington:
www.experiencewa.com

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