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6 Attractions that Welcome LGBT Travelers, Just Across the Border

Rochester is a city known for its civil and human rights movements, so it’s no wonder that it’s also home to an exciting LGBT community. Visit and make your first stop Equal Grounds Coffee House – where “all humans are created equal” but “all coffee is not” – for a variety of wraps and salads, and some of the best coffee blends in the area. Or make it a heartier meal at the gay-owned, trendy and upscale eatery Edibles Restaurant and Bar. They feature elevated dishes like maple-bourbon glazed salmon and prosciutto-wrapped scallops (yum!), in a dining room lined with hardwood floors amongst cozy brick walls.

Later in the evening in downtown Rochester, I would recommend TiLT Night Club & Ultralounge for some dancing and after dinner drinks. On Thursdays, two “Tilt a Whirl” Drag Shows are hosted by a variety of vivacious drag queens. The largest 18 and over party downtown, TiLT was voted “Best Gay Bar” in the Rochester City Newspaper’s “Best Of” Awards for two years in a row.

Rochester is also home to ImageOut: The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival. The 10-day festival is being held on October 6-16, 2016 and is Upstate New York’s longest-running lesbian and gay film and video festival. The films feature stories about the LGBT community, created by the LGBT community, and seeks to promote awareness to filmgoers while bringing visibility to under-represented artists.

While the city offers endless options, just south of Rochester is the Finger Lakes Region – one of my favorite places to venture when I’m looking for a lakeside retreat and quieter relaxation. Just below Keuka Lake sits Hammondsport, NY, home to LGBT-friendly B&B The Black Sheep Inn. The inn features five rooms, each with their own personality, and packaged experiences – everything from a sailing excursion to a hot air balloon ride. After a wild adventure, relax at their Spa with a massage or facial – utilizing fresh cut herbs from the Inn’s kitchen garden.

And I know it’s hard to think about winter in the midst of a beautiful summer, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Super Ball at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. Outslopes Toronto (formerly the Toronto Gay Ski & Snowboard Club) hosts their annual Gay Ski Weekend at Bristol Mountain, usually in January or February. Dates haven’t been announced for the 2016/2017 ski season yet – but keep an eye out. Past events have included an arrival reception, dinner at a local restaurant, shopping opportunities and (of course) a weekend of skiing and snowboarding with friends, family, and many others in the LGBT community.