Gay Reading, PA
Picture yourself in Greater Reading, Pennsylvania...where country charm sits crazy-close to city arts, entertainment, and shopping. The result: a whatever-you're-up for getaway! Gay Travel had the pleasure of experiencing it with one of the best tour guides we could ever ask for along with our Gay Travel Celebrity Guru, Janelle Eagle. We want to share our special time with you! Come and take a ride with us...to Greater Reading!
Our trip was amazing because we didn't know what to expect. Who knew we'd find such vibrant local culture, history and heritage? We had a ball as we meandered down the quaint Main Streets lined with antiques and artisan craft shops. We drove beautiful, back-country roads that offer dazzling natural beauty and outdoor adventure. We found Reading, Pennsylvania to be an arts & cultural destination that celebrates a healthy, sustainable lifestyle with outstanding attractions and outdoor amenities. There wasn't enough time to partake in all of it, and we'd like to go back soon to explore some more -- perhaps a wonderful trip in the Fall? For more comprehensive information, please visit Go Greater Reading's website (LGBT Resources): http://www.gogreaterreading.com/lgbt-resources
Our Top 10 Reading Recommendations:
1) Make the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading your home base.
2) If Gothic Revival architecture is not your thing, hop in the car and drive to the Pagoda. That's right. We said Pagoda. As in full-scale, giant-size Pagoda! We were surprised to learn that the Pagoda is Reading's landmark. The view and the scenery are so spectacular that a major movie has been filmed there. The day we visited, the mist was particularly heavy which made for an even more mysterious and romantic mood.
3) Our excellent tour guide bestowed more treasures on us when she brought us to Goggleworks Center for the Arts. This is a place where artists gather and do their work or where aspiring artists can learn from masters at their craft. Whether its woodworking, painting, photography or glass blowing -- you can linger and learn. Gogglework's mission is to "nurture the arts, inspire creativity, promote education and enrich the community." They did just that for us, and it was just what we needed to get our fix for the arts! To experience GoggleWorks yourself, we suggest attending the upcoming Arts Festival Reading at the GoggleWorks on October 3 & 4, 2015.
4) Have lunch at The Ugly Oyster, an authentic Irish Pub. We loved the owner, Glenn, who entertained us with stories about his colorful clientele. He's the real deal - and once again, you'll feel like you've stepped back to another place and time.
5) If you always wanted to make a huge romantic gesture to impress a loved one, how about a hot-air balloon ride? Reading is a wonderful place to do this and their experienced balloonists will show you a perspective on things that will take your breath away. Wouldn't it be fun to see the Pagoda from a bird's eye view?
6) Of course, while on the adventurous side of life, more outdoor recreation activities await for you to explore. Kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking on Neversink Mountain Trails are ready for you to conquer. Nature lovers will be thrilled to know you can witness the largest migration of hawks in North America, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
7) Kutztown Park is where you will find the Keith Haring Public Art and New Arts Program on Main Street. Look down when you walk in -- because that's where you will see an original Keith Haring painting on the floor (Photo Courtesy of Keith Haring Foundation). For those of you who may not know, Haring was from Kutztown. He used his art to benefit gay causes. He died of AIDS as did so many of his close friends. Gay Travel and our Gay Travel Celebrity Gurus have a special affinity, not only for Haring's artwork, but for his AIDS efforts too.
8) Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. As you drive, enjoy centuries-old homes, barns, covered bridges and other structures that dot the beautiful countryside. Do find time for antiquing -- because this is where you will find hidden gems to incorporate into current life. On our trip, we learned that the geometric paintings on the sides of barns are called Hex Barn Art.
9) Dinner is at Dans. As in Dans Restaurant. We stayed for hours indulging at this elegant countryside restaurant. As it turns out, one of our favorite entertainers was a regular -- none other than Joan Rivers!
10) Watch Janelle's videos and see the experience she had come to life! Also, for more comprenshensive information, please see: http://www.gogreaterreading.com/
The Gay Scene in Reading, PA
Having spent time in Greater Reading, PA, we found the scene to be diverse and bursting with pride. We learned that there are great events, cool art and music festivals, culinary festivals, quaint antique shops, winery tours, and comfortable surroundings… it’s a place where local culture and personal character still abound.