TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Historic Gay Places to Visit in America

Author: , June 8th, 2012
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Traveling anywhere is always fun, interesting, educational and full of all kinds of surprises. But when we do travel we need to remember who we are and take advantage of the many different historical ‘gay’ places to visit. We have visited most of them however there are always new ones coming up all the time as well as hidden jewels that we didn’t know anything about. Here are a few of our very favorite ones:

Stonewall Inn, New YorkThis STONEWALL INN BAR, 53 Christopher Street in New York City. This bar served as the first battleground of the gay liberation movement in the United States and is now a designated National Historic Landmark. In 1969, gay patrons started fighting back against the police raids which happened all the time at the bar. It triggered the legendary Stonewall Riots. The bar reopened in the last 1990’s but closed again in 2006. You can read more in detail at:

Harvey Milk Camera ShopThe CASTRO CAMERA SHOP, 575 Castro Street was a camera store in the Castro District in San Francisco, operated by Harvey Milk the pioneer LGBT politician from 1972 until his assassination in 1978. During the 1970’s it was the center of the gay community as well as his campaign headquarters for the various campaigns for elected office. It now houses the Human Rights Campaign Store. You can read more in detail at: www.

Walt Whitman's TombWALT WHITMAN’S TOMB is located in Camden, New Jersey. This famous literary icon was noted for his poetry and for his sexuality as well. He died more than a 100 year ago but fans still flock to visit his tomb at Harleigh Cemetery which is build into a wooden hill. His most famous writing was “The Leaves of Grass” which is a wonderful poetry collection. You can read more about Walt Whitman at:

Versace MansionVERSACE MANSION, 1116 Ocean Drive in South Beach (Miami) Florida. This is the magnificent mansion that people flock to see whenever they are in South Florida. It was the home of the late designer, Gianni Versace who was killed right in front on the sidewalk more than 10 years ago. It has since been purchased and is now a very beautiful boutique luxury hotel. It is located right on the beach. And be sure to stay at the Lord’s South Beach Hotel just on one block west. Their website is: and for more information on the Versace Mansion go to:

Laramie, WYTHE MATTHEW SHEPARD MEMORIAL BENCH IN LARAMIE, WYOMING. The horrible murder of Matthew Shepard of course is a recent tragedy and it shocked the nation as well as everybody . The University of Wyoming put up a bench in Quealy Plaza to celebrate his life. As a result of his brutal death, tougher national legislation from crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation has been passed. A major award-winning play was also created in his honor about his life. For more information go to:

Witter Bynner, Santa feTHE WITTER BYNNER ESTATE, 342 East Buena Vista Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Witter Bynner was an American poet, writer and scholar known for his long residence in Santa Fe. It is now operated as the Inn of the Turquoise Bear Bed and Breakfast. Witter Bynner and his life partner Robert Hunt had numerous parties at their estate, hosting many notable writers, actors, and artists, which guests included Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Igor Stravinsky, Edna St. Vincent Millay, writer Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Aldous Huxley, Clara Bow, Errol Flynn, Rita Hayworth, Christopher Isherwood, Carl Van Vechten, Martha Graham, Georgia O’Keefe and Thornton Wilder.

Ralph Bolton and Robert Frost, the owners of the Witter Bynner Estate, have faithfully restored this magnificent property. Their goals – as innkeepers and as custodians of the home and land that Bynner loved – are to rekindle the spirit of excitement, creativity and hospitality for which this home was renowned in the past, to protect, restore and extend the legacy of its famous creator, and to provide their guests with the experience of a unique setting that captures the essence of traditional Santa Fe.

The wonderful experience that you can have there is that you can actually stay in the rooms that all these famous people stayed in! For more reading go to: and to stay at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear and to visit their website go to: We have stayed there several times and it is really a wonderful experience. Owners Robert and Ralph are perfect hosts.

There are a lot more interesting gay historical places to visit in the country. We will tell you about more of them in a later column.

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

Donald and RayTRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at and visit their website at