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September 27, 2020


Equal rights or rather equal rites? Massachusetts’ neighbor, Vermont, has settled for Civil Unions and couples are dashing off just to have it “written in the books.” Whether you’re getting hitched or just up for a vacation, Vermont is a great destination.

A group called Gay Vermont Inns recently formed a larger organization known as the VGTA, Vermont Gay Tourism Association. Couples traveling to the Green Mountains have found that there is a lot more to see and do than hibernate on their honeymoon.

When it comes to recreation, the area encompassing Stowe, Waterbury and Waitsfield appears to be the best place to head to. Gay friendly Jet Blue Airlines took me into Burlington about a half hour from Stowe, where I checked into Timberholm Inn. Darrick Pitstick and Rich Drill are the owners of this gorgeous piece of property. I adored the suite that I stayed in but found tranquility in the main room of the house, with it’s fireplace and a cage with two Australian doves. The back window lead onto a deck overlooking a gazebo and some beautiful acreage. Last year, of the 71 Civil Unions in Stowe, 61 were held at Timberholm Inn.

During the winter, Stowe recreation centers around the ski areas of Stowe Mountain and Bolton Valley. Spring and Summer months allow for hiking, biking and boating. Umiak Outdoor Outfitters offers the best tours, equipment and more. There’s a special bike path along route 108 to take advantage of.

We all know that food can be considered a recreation unto itself and what better place to enjoy it than being able to sample the best of the local morsels. Although Champlain Chocolates are the well-known company in the area, Leigh Williams is the owner and “chocolate chef” of Laughing Moon Chocolates, where only small batches of premium chocolates are prepared.

At Timberholm, for instance, where the Vermont products are abundant, breakfast couldn’t be fresher. Apple cider, scones made from scratch using a local flour company, eggs from a nearby farm, Cabot Creamery cheese, maple sausages from the local butcher and all served with Vermont maple syrup! Coffee is obtained from Green Mountain Coffee and the tea from Vermont Liberty Tea Company in nearby Waterbury.

Waterbury is synonymous with the home of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Less known, and well worth the side trip is gay owned Vermont Liberty Tea Company. It’s well worth the side trip to have owner John Williams sample great varieties of tea such as: Berry Vermont, a combination of elderberry, rose petals, lemon balm and spearmint; Jasmine Gold Dragon, green tea and jasmine blossoms; and my personal favorite Rooibos Rainbow, South African Rooibos tea with fruit flavors.

If you don’t want to venture down Rt. 7, Vermont Teddy Bear Factory has an outlet in the Cabot Creamery Annex on Waterbury’s Rt. 100. Check out their Pride Bear and they would have no problems selling you a two groom or two bride bears.

Greg Trulson and Willie Docto are co-owners of the Adirondack style Moose Meadow Lodge. As a Justice of the Peace, Greg has officiated 200+ Civil Unions and most of the 61 held at Timberholm Inn. I had the pleasure of experiencing a union of a couple from Kansas City, MO. Four motif guest rooms, include in the Duck Room. This locale has a trout pond, hot tub, and the Sky Loft, with a glass-enclosed gazebo. It’s a fabulous place to hike with snowshoes, but had I not gotten the personal tour via Greg’s snowmobile, I would still be there.

Two lesbian owned eateries were visited. Dinner was at Marsala Salsa of which Jan Chotalal, is the proprietor of this Mexican and Caribbean restaurant, located on Stowe Street, the downtown area of Waterbury. The food is quite fresh and I highly recommended it, even though I personally don’t care for spicy food.

Only steps away is Full of Beans Coffee House, owned by Anja Weismuller and Caroline Stave. The coffee house, with its fabulous pastries, sandwiches and varieties of Green Mountain Coffee, has a performance area. Both Lucy Blue and Cris Williamson have expressed an interest in more than just dropping by.

The Waitsfield area is also known as Mad River Valley and having its own tourism association, of which The 1824 House is a member. Owned by Karl Klein and John Lumbra, I was not only impressed by the carpentry talents of Karl, but the artistry of John, an accomplished chef. The Inn itself is quite a place with comfortable feather beds and two common rooms and Civil Union receptions are held in their 150-year-old post and beam barn. Let’s get to the dinner!

A four-course dinner menu can be had for a mere $40 plus tax and gratuity. The menu might include an appetizer choice such, Mussels in White wine & Garlic Sauce. Soup or Salad? The 1824 House Salad consists of Baby Leaf Lettuce, Toasted Pine nuts & 3 Shepherd’s Cheese, from a local farm. The Rack of Lamb with Thyme Oil and the House Smoked BBQ Ribs are first-rate entrées. Although John does an excellent job with the Crème Brulee and Blueberry Lemon Cream Tart, I opted for a dessert with the Handmade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Move over Ben & Jerry’s.

Waitsfield itself is a wonderful little town and home to The Store, where, like couples who register at stores like Bloomingdale’s (although some of us that would prefer Home Depot) seem to make this unique store their choice.

Of note, is the area encompassing Woodstock and Plymouth. There are two historical and peaceful inns. Deer Brook Inn, owned by Jon Petrie and Jordan Phillips is located in Plymouth. Proprietors Davie Kanal and George Defina run Salt Ash Inn, located in Woodstock. Warmer months offer biking, hiking, dyking (if you want), canoeing, horseback riding, ballooning, antiquing, and theatre. Area attractions include: Billings Farm and Museum, Woodstock Village, Star Hill Dairy and Calvin Coolidge Homestead.

To those of you who are taking advantage of your civil rights….mazeltov!

Side Bar:
Jet Blue Airlines: www.jetblue.com
VGTA, www.vermontgaytourism.com
Timberholm Inn, 452 Cottage Club Rd., Stowe, 800-753-7603, www.timberholm.com
Moose Meadow Lodge, 607 Crosett Hill, Waterbury, 802-244-5378 www.moosemeadowlodge.com
1824 House Inn, 2150 Main St., Waitsfield, 800-426-3986, www.1824house.com
Vermont Liberty Tea Company, One Derby Lane, Waterbury, 802-244-6102, www.vermontlibertytea.com
Laughing Moon Chocolates, Rt. 108, Stowe, 802-253-9591, www.laughingmoonchocolates.com
Full of Beans Coffee House, 1 South Main St., Waterbury, 802-244-0808
Marsala Salsa, 15 Stowe St., Waterbury, 802-244-1150
Deer Brook Inn, 802-672-3713, www.deerbrookinn.com
Salt Ash Inn, 800-725-8274, www.saltashinn.com

September 02, 2004 - KC Extra


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