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A Gay Traveler in Vermont

Recreation Vermont

Basin Harbor Club
4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, Vermont 05491
Phone: 802-475-2300 Toll Free: 800-622-4000
Fax: 802-475-6546
Basin Harbor Club is a beautiful historic resort located on Lake Champlain. The classic Vermont resort offers a variety of lodging options to make you feel right at home. Whether you’re a big family, a couple looking for a quiet getaway, or looking for a venue for a special event, Basin Harbor has the perfect accommodation for you. The resort offers activities and entertainment for every season and vacation. Some guests are content to just relax in one of their Adirondack chairs and read in the gardens, where others enjoy golf, waterskiing or a dinner on the North Dock.

Jay Peak Resort

Jay Peak Resort
830 Jay Peak Road, Jay, VT 05859
Phone: 1-800-451-4449; Fax: 802-988-4049
Jay Peak Resort is Vermont's NEW premier 4-season destination with over $300 million in new amenities including: three hotels, a 50,000 square foot indoor water park, a NHL sized indoor ice arena, golf course, eight restaurants/dining options, spa, a 60 person year-round aerial tram, and 350 person conference center.

KILLINGTON RESORT & PICO MOUNTAIN Killington Resort & Pico Mountain
4763 Killington Rd., Killington, VT 05751
Phone: 802-422-6200, Toll Free: 800-621-MTNS (6867) Fax: 802-422-1399
Spanning seven mountain areas, including Pico Mountain, Killington Resort features access to 190 trails and 29 lifts, plus the highest lift-served terrain in Vermont from the 4,241-foot summit of Killington Peak. During the summer, Killington features an 18-hole Championship Golf Course, Disc Golf, Mountain Biking and Hiking served by the K-1 Express Gondola.

Lake Morey Resort

Lake Morey Resort
Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, VT 05045
Phone: 802-333-4311; Toll Free: 800-432-1211; Fax: 802-333-4553
Vermont's four-season, full service resort situated on the picturesque shores of lake morey. Tastefully appointed guest rooms - many with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Waters Spa, 18-hole Championship golf course, boating, tennis, fitness center, formal gardens, ice skating, x-c skiing, snowshoeing and more......

Mad River Glen
PO Box 1089, Waitsfield, VT 05673
Phone: 802.496.3351 Fax: 802.496.3652 
High in the mountains of Vermont, there is a ski area like no other. A place where skiing is still a sport, not an industry. A place where skiing remains an outdoor adventure in a pristine, natural setting. A place so perfect, its loyal skiers are banding together to protect and preserve it forever.

Mad River Valley
The Mad River Valley is active Vermont, pastoral, but never passive. Drive through the Mad River Valley and you'll be struck by its classic New England landscape and architecture - a mountain ridgeline, a winding river, hillside farms, covered bridges and steepled villages.

Newport City Renaissance Corporation

Newport City Renaissance Corporation
194 Main Street #208, Newport Vermont 05855
This is Newport. Return to the real Vermont. A place for people in the know. Genuine hospitality. True farm to table experience. Four-season destination. South of the border. International Lake. Authentic Vermont. Newport. Genuine by Nature. The Newport City Renaissance Corporation serves as a catalyst transforming Newport's community and economic development.

Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Association

Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Association
PO Box 212, East Burke, VT 05832
Phone: 802-626-4124, Toll Free: 800-884-8001
Plan your next Vermont Vacation in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom! Nestled between the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River in northern Vermont, Vermont's Northeast Kingdom offers breath-taking scenery, outstanding lodging and dining, ecotourism and agritourism, Vermont made products, a rich diversity of art, and recreational opportunities which have gained the Northeast Kingdom national and international recognition.

Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce

Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
57 Pond Street, Clocktower, Ludlow, VT 05149
Phone: 802-228-5830
We are a regional chamber of commerce representing the Towns of Andover, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Mount Holly, Plymouth and Weston.

Sojourn Active Vacations

Sojourn Active Vacations
939 Ferry Rd, Charlotte, VT 05445
Phone: 802 425 4771, Toll Free: 800 730 4771
Sojourn is a boutique tour operator offering bicycling and active vacations in the US and Canada. We're known for our one-of-a-kind itineraries, exceptional tour leaders, and personalized service. In addition to a full season of tours, Sojourn offers custom private group tours for LGBT travelers.

Stratton Mountain Resort

Stratton Mountain Resort
5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton Mountain VT 05155
Phone: 802-297-4128
Stratton Mountain Resort offers a variety of outdoor activities including winter and summer sports, health and wellness options, and events. A wide range of lodging choices from hotel to condominiums are available. We welcome all types of groups and can provide conference facilities and professional planning for your outing or meeting.

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge
7412 Mountain Rd., Stowe VT 05672
Phone: 802-760-4710
The six-story, 300-room luxury New England resort draws on the architectural tradition of turn-of-the-century summer camps created by the great families of New England. The lodge's exterior features a picturesque faÁade of woven timber and shingles that draw upon the natural harmony found in nature, as well as stone veneer created from local quarries, and expansive glass to bring the beauty of the lodge's outdoor surroundings to the indoors.

Waterbury Tourism Council

Waterbury Tourism Council
PO Box 468, Waterbury, Vermont 05676
You won't find a more convenient location to enjoy the Vermont experience. Right off Interstate 89 at Exit 10, Waterbury is central to Stowe, Montpelier, Burlington and the Mad River Valley where ski resorts, popular attractions, and nature's recreational opportunities abound. Our village is full of historic buildings, including the recently restored 1875 train station still in use today as an Amtrak stop. Waterbury is home to some of the country's best known specialty food manufacturers such as Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, but the atmosphere is still classic Vermont small town, full of charm and smiles.

Vermont Winter Activities

Vermont is an ďoutdoorsyĒ place and winter does not slow us down. In fact, things really pick up around here when there is beautiful snow on the ground and trees. Donít forget your camera when youíre packing to come here.

Skiing is huge of course but itís not the only thing to do. There are also dog sled rides, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and even fishing. Probably the easiest way to get information is to ask the innkeepers where you will be staying. Theyíre usually knowledgeable and current on options, conditions, prices, and discounts. But thatís just one approach and if you like doing your own research, just fire up your favorite search engine, type in Vermont and the type of activity you are interested in, and youíll find plenty to read.

Hereís a small list of places to get started.

All the downhill (alpine) ski areas have websites, each of which is very in-depth. Vermont is home to 18 major ski areas, and perhaps a handful of small private and community hills.

Mad River Glen is a gay-welcoming ski area that is ideal for the outdoors person who wants the real deal without any of the whistles and bells. Itís a place you go to ski, not pose or hang around the lodge all day. These are enthusiastic skiers and they love sharing their unique mountain with beginners and experts alike. They donít make as much snow as other ski areas but they know how to groom and take care of what they get - which is a couple hundred inches a year. MRG is the place local Vermont skiers love to go especially when there is fresh snow. MRG is owned by some 1500 shareholders. If youíve ever wanted to own a ski area, hereís your chance. A share costs $1750 and they have a payment plan if you canít pony up the full amount right away.

If you want to shop around for ski areas, go to the Vermont Ski Areas Association web site. Itís a very comprehensive and well done site.

Cross country skiing is popular and there are 30-some cross country ski areas throughout the state. The Vermont Ski Areas Association web site also has a list of cross country ski areas. Vermont even has a cross country ski trail that runs the length of the state. The Catamount Trail is 300 miles long and free to use. It is North Americaís longest cross-country ski trail. The trail starts in Readsboro Vermont on the Massachusetts border and winds its way through the Green Mountains to North Troy on the Canadian border. Along the way, the trail connects eleven Vermont cross-country ski centers, and passes by many country inns and lodges. The Trail is accessible to skiers with a wide range of abilities and offers a variety of terrain from breath-taking mountain climbs to gently rolling fields and woodlands. Snowshoers are also welcome to use the Trail.

What could be more romantic than snuggling under a blanket while going for a sleigh ride through the fields and woods? There are many, many places throughout Vermont that offer sleigh rides. Again, the best place to start getting information is from your innkeeper. Some of the larger resorts offer sleigh rides for both guests and non-guests but there are also a good number of small, independent operators who donít have web sites. Expect to pay around $50 for a 20 minute ride.

Have a need for speed? Try a dog sled ride. This is getting more and more popular as dog sled owners find they can supplement their hobby with paying customers. There arenít too many people who have done this so if youíre looking for something new and unique, this may be the ticket for you. In north central Vermont, try Peace Pup Dog Sledding, Atii Sled Dogs, and Eden Mountain Dogsledding. There is also a web site that has a partial listing of Vermont dog sled ride operators.

After youíve tried dog sledding, you may be ready to try snowmobiling. Believe it or not, there are more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Vermont. The largest system of trails is operated by VAST, the Vermont Association of Snowmobile Travelers. This 36 year old private non-profit organization is one of the oldest snowmobiling organizations in the U.S includes over 140 clubs statewide, with over 45,000 members. If you want to bring you own snowmobile, you have to purchase a Trail Management Assessment ($95 for non residents of Vermont in 2006) and show proof of registration in your state as well as proof of insurance. See the FAQ page of the web site for details.

If you would like to rent a snowmobile, there are several places to do this. One of the larger operators is Snowmobile Vermont which has operations in Stowe, Killington, and Okemo. They use new or nearly new snowmobiles with heated hand grips, and they supply helmets and boots. The 2006 cost for two people on one snowmobile is about $160 for a two hour back country, guided tour but there are less expensive options too. There are other organizations around the state so ask your innkeeper what is available locally.

There are skating rinks throughout the state. In Waterbury, the indoor Ice Center of Washington West opened in 2003, and operates year around with skate rental available. In winter, there is the Jackson Arena in Stowe (covered but open on the sides); in Waitsfield, there is the outdoor Skatium; and in Morrisville, an indoor facility called CREW Arena. The web site Arena Maps has links to the 20 Vermont ice rinks with web sites. But if you want the old-fashioned kind of pond skating, thatís here too. Check with the local outdoor outfitter for possible skate rental and location of some good skating ponds and whether or not the ice is thick enough to skate on.

There is so much sledding in VT, we even have a couple of companies that have developed high tech sleds. One is Hammerhead Sleds and the other is Mad River Rocket. Take a look at their web sites Ė youíll be surprised at their products. The Hammerhead site has a great database of sledding hills around the USA. Of course, we have the old fashion sled, tube and toboggan equipment too. Your innkeeper might have a few sleds lying around and perhaps even a hill on the property or nearby. If not, there are outdoor outfitters such as Umiak in Stowe and Clearwater Sports in Waitsfield that can rent or sell you something.

If you like looong runs, try Lincoln Gap Road in Warren in the north central part of the state, not too far from Mad River Glen. Itís right off Route 100 and easy to find. Just go to Warren and ask around if you donít see it. Everyone there knows where it is. Use the part of the road that is closed in winter. Sometimes you will need snowshoes to get to the top. Also, weíve tried the community hill in Stowe Ė itís behind the elementary school. Good hill, fairly long, a couple of bumps, but not extreme. Rental sleds are available from Shaws General Store on Main Street in downtown Stowe. But Vermont is just one big collection of hills, so you can find a place to sled no matter where you are in the state.

Snowshoeing has grown in popularity because itís so enjoyable and easy to do unless youíre climbing mountains. In fact, itís safer than winter walking in boots because the shoes have metal teeth (more accurately described as metal fangs) on the bottom. Theyíre great in case you reach icy hillsides. And, unlike skiing for instance, you donít have to go to a specialized area to do it although many of the ski areas will have trails for snowshoeing. Any summer hiking trail is a snowshoe trail in winter.

If you want to do some research before you get here, the best site is Tubbs Trail-Net, a collection of great snowshoe trails around the world. Tubbs is Vermont company that has been manufacturing snow shoes for years. You can find that brand and many others at all the outdoor outfitters and many ski shops throughout the state. Some of the outfitters will have guided snowshoe tours on the best scenic trails known only by locals. Many innkeepers have them on hand for their guests too. If youíve never snowshoed, youíll find it easy to do and a great way to get a walk in the woods.

Fishing in winter? Yep . . . you know . . . ice fishing! Ever seen the movie ďGrumpy Old MenĒ starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon?* Then you pretty much have the picture. But if youíve done everything else there is to do in Vermont and want to check off the gamut of winter activities, here is the final frontier. Some fishing guides like to work year around so theyíll add ice fishing to their repertoire. They have an ice shanty (or several) set up on the lake with all the equipment. All you need to do is show up and sit on the chair. Pretty cool, huh? Buy a red checkered wool hat with ear flaps, take your camera on the ice fishing trip, and scare your friends back home.

A good source to find an ice fishing guide, as well as a reliable resource for any outdoor activity year-around, go the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association web site, the Vermont Recreation Directory.

Dress in layers, be careful, have fun!

(Actually, a good movie made in 1993 also starting Ann Margaret, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollack, Ossie Davis, and Buck Henry).

Information in this article may not be accurate or current when you read it. All readers and users take full responsibility for acting on this information.
© 2006 VGTA - Jeff Connor


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