Honey, I’m Home: New England LGBT Honeymoon Getaways

Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island

You’ve fallen in love, you’ve gotten hitched, and you’re ready for your honeymoon. But you don’t want to wander too far: what’s wrong with a getaway here at home in New England?

The region, after all, is flush with LGBT-friendly properties that range from ultra-luxurious beachfront resorts to quieter, rustic hideaways in the woods and mountains. Need help narrowing them down? Here’s where to start—whether you’re looking for a honeymoon, or just a romantic reason to escape the city.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk

Newport, Rhode Island

Visitors continue to flock to the Ocean State’s picturesque seaside enclave of famed Gilded Era mansions, the one-time “summer cottages” of Vanderbilt and Astor dynasts. But The Chanler, housed in a 19th-century manse built by a New York congressman, is the closest you and your honey will come to actually living like blue bloods in a rainbow-friendly environment. The property is approved by TAG, an accreditation program for gay-friendly accommodations that is overseen by Community Marketing Inc., an LGBT tourism organization; it’s also Newport’s only property featured in the Preferred Pride collection of international LGBT-friendly properties. The Chanler, surrounded by acres of gorgeous gardens, is the only hotel on Newport’s Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile walking trail that meanders among mansions perched on the rugged shoreline. Its 20 rooms include several ornate ocean villas with private decks and outdoor hot tubs overlooking the crashing waves. And when it’s time for sun and surf, The Chanler’s “beach butler service” will keep you pampered in the sand. (thechanler.com)

The Essex

Essex Junction, Vermont

If you’re the kind of couple that believes food is love—well, you’re right. And you’ll fall head over heels with a honeymoon at The Essex, a “culinary resort and spa” that attracts the glamorous gourmand set. It’s nestled amid the Green Mountains beside Burlington, Vermont’s largest city and home to the state’s annual Pride celebrations. Though there’s a 10-room spa, award-winning tennis courts, and the region’s only executive golf course, the main attraction at the Essex is its Cook Academy, offering a huge spread of à la carte culinary classes daily. (Think course names like “Introduction to Indian” and “Baking with VT Cheese.”) When you’re not bonding in the kitchen, you can get cozy at the resort’s weekly marshmallow roasts. Or just sit back and let someone else do the work at Junction, the resort’s new restaurant, where guests choose their own tasting menus and interact directly with the chef. Bonus: The Essex is pet-friendly, so if your wedding happened to include a four-legged ring bearer, feel free to bring them along. (essexresortspa.com)

Frog Meadow Farm

Newfane, Vermont

Want to get hitched and honeymoon in the same place? Hop over here. Frog Meadow Farm is a country bed & breakfast owned by husbands Dave King, an expert massage therapist, and Scott Heller, who happens to be a Universal Life Minister with plenty of experience officiating nuptials amid the pretty stone patios and vibrant flower gardens at their quaint home and inn. Wedding and honeymoon packages are available, inclusive of everything from cake and flowers to celebratory massages. And you can retire to rustic-contemporary, wooden beam-filled accommodations like the semi-secluded Brook Cottage or plush Frog Meadow Suite, with its two-person Jacuzzi. (The couple has even developed their own line of sumptuous bath, body and aromatherapy products.) The charming hideaway is frequent host to gay men’s gatherings, from Pride potluck dinners to yoga retreats, so you’ll feel at home whether you’re clinking champagne in the wood-fired hot tub, or taking a dip at the gay nude beach at nearby Rock River. It’s a perfect getaway for newlyweds looking to feel refreshed and re-centered. (frogmeadow.com)

Hidden Pond

Kennebunkport, Maine

Gay hotelier Tim Harrington, founding partner of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, chose this portfolio in his property to host his own wedding. Just minutes from the LGBT-friendly destination of Ogunquit, home to beaches, boutiques and bars, Kennebunkport’s Hidden Pond is a rustic-chic escape with 16 luxurious cottages and 20 bungalows nestled in the jade majesty of the Maine beach woods. With names like “Stargazer” and “Sweet Fern,” the high life-meets-great outdoors accommodations boast river-stone gas fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, Bose radios, flat-panel TVs and a nearby heated swimming pool. But the most romantic element is probably the Tree Spa: built into the forest canopy and connected by catwalks, its three treatment rooms offer muscle-melting massages, facials and body treatments. Before satisfying your more carnal appetites, dine at Hidden Pond’s restaurant Earth, commandeered by star chef Ken Oringer, the same toque behind Toro in Boston’s South End “gayborhood,” and grab a nightcap (and s’mores) at the Back Porch Bar overlooking nightly bonfires. (hiddenpondmaine.com)

Highland Inn

Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Before the government starting playing catch-up, members of the LGBT community have always found ways to honor one another’s lives and loves. This so-dubbed “lesbian paradise” held its first commitment ceremony on its grounds in 1985—well before New Hampshire became the fifth state to legally recognize same-sex unions. The out owners still offer wedding packages for guests, but even if you tie the knot elsewhere and just want a familiar haven to honeymoon, Highland offers a heartwarming sense of togetherness and gay tradition. The 18-room resort for women in the Granite State’s grand White Mountains is home to some of the most picturesque vistas in New England—not to mention, some of the region’s best hiking, skiing and antiquing among small, charming villages that dot the landscape. Whether you’re kicking back by the pool in summer, taking in fall foliage on the resort’s 15 miles of trails, or taking in regular concerts by folksy singer-songwriters near the roaring living room fireplace, it’s a romantic retreat for any era. (highlandsinn-nh.com)

The Inn At Cuckolds Lighthouse

Cuckolds Island, Maine

It doesn’t get more intimate than this. Picture it: you and your new spouse, gazing at a sunset over the Atlantic Ocean horizon on your very own private island. That’s the reality of a getaway at this inn, housed inside a historic, recently restored lighthouse on a tiny island off mid-coast Maine. Guests are transported by private boat, then enjoy the ultimate in solitude in one of just two suites—East and West—elegantly outfitted with modern amenities, from Wi-Fi to 32-inch LED televisions. And for a price, you can even reserve the entire island, which is willing to host small (20-person) wedding celebrations, if you choose to go that route. Otherwise, enjoy breakfast and high tea in the gorgeous kitchen, and have dinner delivered to your room by one of the mainland restaurants. If sea cruises, romantic strolls and picnicking along your own craggy island coast get tiresome (we doubt it), have yourself ferried back to the shops, golf courses and other attractions at Boothbay Harbor. But really, what a magical feeling: to have your very own private New England paradise for two. (innatcuckoldslighthouse.com)

Lake Morey Resort & Inn

Fairlee, Vermont

Four seasons’ worth of fun and romance awaits at this Vermont resort on the banks of Lake Morey, a 600-acre shimmering gem that lays claim to the longest (4.5-mile) ice skating trail in United States. In warmer weather, wakeboarding, kayaking and putting on an 18-hole championship golf course are available for guests staying in one of 130 guest rooms, from standard accommodations to (new for 2015) lakefront “Denslow Cottages” outfitted in Vermont-apropos fir and granite with private terraces. The Water Spa is the spot for body-melting massages, while the waterfront restaurant and its upstairs bar, Steamboat Lounge, offers a spot for romantic dining or live music from local rock and jazz bands. The hundred year-old inn is a local icon, and offers a sense of tranquility unique even for New England getaways like this. (lakemoreyresort.com)

Mayflower Grace

Washington, Connecticut

Yankee luxury at its best, the Mayflower Grace is an idyllic country getaway for well-heeled honeymooners. (Bill and Hillary Clinton have been known to cozy up here.) The presidential accommodations span from classic rooms with sumptuous linens to 1,200-square foot suites with private balconies, gas fireplaces and marble baths. Hit the pool and tennis courts, stroll the gardens, putt-putt on the pro green and experience a world-class spa at a gorgeous property that offers convenient proximity to country activities: from antiquing day trips, motoring between Connecticut covered bridges, to leisurely hikes around area nature preserves. Better work up an appetite together, because the Mayflower Grace is also home to Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, a fine dining destination from the British master chef, as well as the more casual Tap Room for light bites and cocktailing. And if you want to conduct your ceremony here, the property even offers the “At Last! Wedding Package,” a weekend-long buyout with copious amenities, including monogrammed robes and a party bus for transporting guests. (gracehotels.com)

Migis Lodge

South Casco, Maine

When you hear the phrase “all-inclusive resort,” you’re more likely to imagine a sandy resort in the Caribbean than a forested retreat in New England. But this woodsy getaway on Sebago Lake, Maine’s second largest, offers everything you would want in a Pine Tree State honeymoon. The rambling property is speckled with luxury cottages. Inside: bedrooms and living rooms with stone fireplaces by which to snuggle. Outside: private porches with views of the lake, to which you can traipse on down and grab one of the dozens of canoes or kayaks left for guest use on the quiet beaches. Enjoy an exciting waterskiing session or a relaxing, sunset sail on the blue, placid waters, and then hit the tennis courts for a game of doubles. Soothing massages are offered in a small cabin down a tree-lined path, where the rustle of leaves is the only soundtrack, and when you’re not grazing upon the decadent spread provided by lakeshore lobster bakes, you’ll take breakfast, lunch and dinner in the property’s semi-formal main dining room. It’s all-inclusive, and all so wonderful. (migis.com)

Ocean House

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Call it “Little Rhodie” all you want, but the smallest state in the nation enjoys quite an honor: its Ocean House, Rhode Island’s first and only five-diamond resort, was recently voted the #1 resort in the country by readers of Travel + Leisure. The rambling seaside icon is perched on 13 acres steps away from a private 650-foot white sand beach with cabana service. Its on-site, nondenominational chapel is perfect for ceremonies, while honeymooners can live like gentility on the pristinely manicured grounds, home to croquet matches and evening bonfires. Dabble in art classes or partake in “Farm + Vine,” the resort’s culinary education program—or wheel to nearby attractions, like topnotch Lake of Isles golf course, from behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz offered for complimentary guest use. There are half a dozen onsite dining options, from more casual fare at The Verandah, which offers sweeping ocean views, to fine farm-to-table cuisine at Seasons. And you can unwind at OH! Spa, one of only 41 spas in the entire world to achieve a Forbes five-star rating. A “Beach Stone Massage,” anyone? Oh! Yes. (oceanhouseri.com)

Porches Inn

North Adams, Massachusetts

Western Mass has a reputation for gay-friendly progressiveness. In particular, Northampton is a well-trod lesbian enclave. But it’s worth heading another hour northwest to North Adams, the hub of an artsy Berkshires scene. Culture vulture honeymooners will want to shack up at Porches, an industrial-chic inn inspired by MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). Set in downtown North Adams, mere minutes from the museum, Porches’ six Victorian row houses feature resplendently retro rooms and suites with colorful midcentury furnishings, paint-by-number artwork, and nods to the region’s bygone mills. There’s also an outdoor heated pool and hot tub (open 24 hours!), a fire pit and a woodland gazebo. You’re also just next door to Williamstown, probably best known for its Tony-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival, which annually draws from New York marquee film and stage names looking to flex their creative muscles in summer stock. Plus: the Williams College of Museum Art and the Clark Art Institute, which boasts an impressive permanent collection that skews toward classic cultural icons like Homer, Sargent, Monet, Renoir and Degas. Art lovers, take heed. (porches.com)

Twin Farms

Barnard, Vermont

Disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other at this 300-acre luxury property, Vermont’s only five-star resort, where it’s all about privacy and personalization. You and your lovebird will choose from one of 20 unique accommodations: from the Eastern inflected Aviary, a two-level home of cedar woods and tall glass windows with inspiring views, to the Meadow cottage with its exotic Moroccan style. (All are filled with priceless sculptures and paintings by names like Lichtenstein and Hockney.) And what truly sets Twin Farms apart is its ultra-hospitable concierge service, which offers everything you need, right now: whether that’s a celebratory cigar or the perfect wine delivered to your doorstep, guided fishing, canoeing or snowshoeing excursions on property, ice skating lessons on the manmade rink or body wraps and rubdowns in the spa. Gourmet meals made with fresh, local farm-raised ingredients are enjoyed in the historic main house, and you can hit the property’s Pub to tipple cocktails, tickle the ivories on the piano or challenge your lover to a game of billiards. Spoiler: everyone wins. (twinfarms.com)

Winvian

Morris, Connecticut

Want a honeymoon locale that looks ripped from the pages of a magazine? Look no further. Shortly after Connecticut legalized gay marriage, Winvian hosted the first gay wedding ever featured in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. It’s a private, meticulously maintained 113-acre property that is as unique as you are, with each luxurious accommodation elaborately designed to reflect a different theme: but don’t worry, we don’t mean the kind of hokey “Caveman Love Dens” you’d find at highway motels that rent by the hour. (Ooh! A vibrating bed and wooly mammoth rugs!) Winvian, which boasts a serene, glassy pond and borders a lush, 4,000-acre forest for hiking and horseback riding, is an elegant estate where you can curl up with a good book in the “Library” cottage, with its huge stone fireplace and bookcase-lined balconies; chip around the “Golf” cottage, with its undulating putting green floors; or hang inside the “Helicopter” cottage, sipping champagne and watching a flat screen TV inside a restored 1960s chopper that dominates your own personal hanger. (Winvian.com)

21 Broad

Nantucket, Massachusetts

If a honeymoon on Nantucket sounds a bit stuffy, you need to open your mind—and check out 21 Broad, a boutique property that appeals to those of us who don’t want to leave modern, urbane taste on the mainland. One of the island’s newest properties, and certainly among its most contemporary, 21 Broad’s 27 guest rooms combine crisp whites and natural neutrals with beach-y flair and pops of punchy citrus color. In-room amenities include Smart TVs, iPads, and iPod docking stations with a “white noise” option. But our favorite feature is the “Vitamin C showers,” which use vitamin C-infused showerheads to neutralize any chlorine and leave skin feeling softer and looking more radiant. So you’ll glow like newlyweds should, whether you’re lazing in the steam room, hitting the breakfast juice bar or kicking back in the courtyard with fire pit or guest lounge with games and vinyl turntables. (See? Not your stodgy Nantucket experience.) Plus: guest-only discounts for online shopping at Vineyard Vines, so preppy couples can splurge their wedding checks. (21broadhotel.com) [x]