Bed and breakfasts are the romance novels of vacation stays: doting hosts, inviting environments, and hearty communal meals are a few of the hallmarks that make this intimate style of lodging feel more personal than staying at a sanitized hotel.
But as an LGBTQ traveler, getting personal can be stressful. Although most Americans show support for LGBTQ+ rights, there’s still a quarter of the country that openly discriminates against queer folx and many more who lack the knowledge to create and maintain safe queer spaces.
Nobody wants to feel unwelcome on vacation — particularly while sleeping under someone else’s roof — so to ease the burden of the unknown, queer travelers should consider staying at B&Bs owned and operated by people from the LGBTQ community. This way, they can live out their queer Danielle Steel fantasies shame-free.
The following list of LGBTQ-friendly lodging covers New England — an area of the country begging for Fabio Lanzoni to do an uber-gay photo spread. From Victorian mansions tucked between mountains to seaside escapes in summer towns, here are six of the most charming LGBTQ-owned New England B&Bs ready to fill your vacation fantasies.
1. Frog Meadow Farm — Newfane, Vermont
In 1995, husbands Scott Heller and Dave King built a hilltop home in bucolic Newfane, Vermont, as their sanctuary. Then, in 2007, they decided it was time to share the fruits of their labor with gay, bi, and trans men looking for a similar escape. Today, Heller and King’s B&B is a community-oriented Elysium where men of all ages can cast off their worries (and their clothes, if they choose) while reconnecting with nature.
Frog Meadow Farm unfurls over 63 private acres equipped with a spring-fed pond, perennial gardens, hiking trails, and a wood-fired hot tub ideal for an end-of-day soak. The inn accommodates 12 to 14 people at a time, split between Heller and King’s main house, a New England-style red barn, and a brook-side cottage tucked into the surrounding forest.
While Newfane is undoubtedly beautiful, the real reason to visit Heller and King’s oasis is for the people. Heller and King foster a judgment-free, all-inclusive space through a series of men’s gatherings and retreats, potlucks, outdoor adventures, and fundraisers for nonprofits. Its Spring and Fall Work Camp program provides $25-per-night lodging in exchange for six hours of either indoor or outdoor labor. As it says on the website, “it’s the all-boys sleep-away camp you wished your parents had sent you to!”
2. Notchland Inn — Hart’s Location, New Hampshire
Husbands Ed Butler and Les Schoof didn’t hightail it from New York City to eastern New Hampshire in the 1990s just to beat the endless city bustle — they also found the ideal location to start a B&B. Notchland Inn is a 19th-century granite mansion tucked away on 100 private acres and surrounded by alpine peaks. Animals like blue herons, black bears, and moose amble along the nearby Saco River; seasonal activities invite guests to canoe down sunny waterways or hit the slopes of ski resorts. To say the pastoral property unfolds like a New England fairytale is an understatement.
All of Notchland Inn’s accommodations come equipped with real wood-burning fireplaces, ideal for getting cozy on cold New England nights. Guests who prefer their privacy should opt to stay in one of the free-standing cottages located on the property. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning; in the evening, an on-site chef serves a five-course meal using fresh ingredients sourced from local markets, farms, or the inn’s garden.
3. Devonfield Inn – Lee, Massachusetts
Devonfield Inn expertly blends old-world charm with modern amenities. The Federal-style house, wood-burning fireplaces, and antique furniture all scream Main Street Americana, while the heated inground pool, whirlpool baths, and flat-screen TVs denote contemporary opulence. Much of this is thanks to owners Doug Bagnasco and Jim DeBlasi, the gay couple responsible for maintaining Devonfield’s 32 rolling acres.
Travelers can relax on-site in the sitting room, around the fire pit, or on the lawn while watching a series of live concerts that run through October. In the morning, a country-style breakfast is served on fine china at either communal or private tables.
Although it’s tempting to spend an entire weekend lounging on Devonfield’s sundeck or wading in the pool, the best of the Berkshires requires further exploration. Cultural institutions like Jacob’s Pillow, Tanglewood, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival are only a stone’s throw away. Nature lovers can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing year-round. Nearby towns including Lenox, Great Barrington, and Stockbridge are also worth a stop: These rural hamlets are like colorful gemstones dotting western Massachuessetts’ mountainous crown.
4. Dragonfly Guest House — Ogunquit, Maine
Artsy Ogunquit is a queer haven worth calling home between May and October — when temperatures rise and lobsters are in peak season. Those in search of LGBTQ-friendly lodging in New England should try the gay-operated Dragonfly Guest House. Owners Charles and David have been hosting visitors at their five-bedroom inn for nearly a decade and take pride in sharing the best this quaint coastal-Maine enclave has to offer.
Between the renowned museums, art galleries, and a theater listed in the National Register of Historic Places, there’s plenty of reason to hop around town all day long. Still, guests should make time for quality relaxation at the Dragonfly. Its location, halfway between the breezy shores of Perkins Cove and the shops of Downtown, makes it an easy stop while skipping between activities. Expect fresh-baked cookies if you return after lunchtime; a changing breakfast menu is served daily, too. Guests are welcome to coffee and tea throughout the day — a necessary pick-me-up for those who plan on belting show tunes at the Front Porch Piano Bar until the cock crows. For those less interested in the works of Jerry Herman, you can always unwind in front of the inn’s fireplace after a full day of adventure.
5. The Lincoln Inn and Restaurant — Woodstock, Vermont
Owner Mara Mehlman likes to say that people stay at the Lincoln Inn for the food. She isn’t wrong: Forbes Magazine voted the on-site restaurant one of the ten best new American dining experiences in 2016. Executive Chef Jevgenija Saromova, Mara’s partner in life and lodge, is the culinary superstar behind the dishes, and together, they’ve transformed this 19th-century inn into a bucket-list destination for epicurious travelers.
Don’t plan on eating anywhere else in Woodstock during your stay — the two-lady team behind the Lincoln Inn and Restaurant serve guests breakfast, lunch, and dinner before sending them to bed dreaming about tomorrow’s menu. All the ingredients come from local farms and the kitchen’s very-own garden, which means the dishes change regularly and vary seasonally. The inn itself is intimate, with six snug rooms located above the restaurant, which means no one wining and dining needs to argue about who’s the designated driver.
6. Snug Cottage — Provincetown, Massachusetts
Cape Cod’s LGBTQ mecca is jam-packed with boutique hotels and guesthouses, but few offer the romantic old-world elegance of Snug Cottage, constructed in 1825. Staying at this B&B feels like living in a Louisa May Alcott novel — if the March sisters had in-room climate systems and Jo was openly queer.
Four of the eight guest bedrooms look out onto Provincetown’s buzzy harbor — a prized location considering Snug Cottage’s perch on the town’s second-highest peak. Those hoping for a little more privacy should select the Rutland Suite, which has a separate entrance so visitors can come and go in peace. All guests are welcome to use the patio — a comfortable ocean-view courtyard ideal for watching visitors stroll up and down Bradford Street, otherwise known as “guesthouse row.”
Between the well-appointed rooms, comfortable common areas, and substantial breakfast buffet (not typical for P-town lodging), this LGBTQ-friendly lodging provides a sensible reprieve from the summer debauchery experienced elsewhere in town. If you’re still interested in living the wildlife, don’t worry — P-town’s main drag is only one-and-a-half blocks away.
Check out other Matador’s LGBTQ+ travel guides to North America