Massachusetts made the list of best places for gay families to reside, and not simply because it was the first state to legalize gay marriage...
Widely recognized as a top-rated town for its distinctive downtown, arts and culture, families, education, historic preservation and wide range of outdoor activities, the quaint New England town is an idyllic community. In the heart of central Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, the town is just 30 miles east of the Berkshires, a region famous for its art galleries, music festivals, chichi restaurants and country inns. Cross-country and downhill skiing in the winter is just minutes away; and in spring and summer, there’s hiking, horseback riding and swimming throughout the area. The 8-mile Norwottuck Rail trail, a paved-over railroad bed that passes through the town, is a favorite for families looking for a place to roller-blade, bike, run, or just take a stroll. The charming campus of Smith College is perched high on the hill above the city’s historic commercial district and is one of five institutions of higher learning in the area. The prestigious Smith and nearby Mt. Holyoke are both all-women colleges. Smith’s impressive art museum and botanical garden draw residents and visitors alike.
A walk through the town reveals a pleasant enclave of eclectic restaurants and shops, and gay couples are commonplace. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. Northampton is considered something of a liberal mecca, and has a non-discrimination ordinance in place to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
Massachusetts: Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
With an outdoor wall mural celebrating women through the ages, a women’s college and a sex-toy shop specifically for women, Northampton is in many ways the ladies’ answer to the Massachusetts boys’ town, Provincetown. The small but personable town of 30,000 flies a rainbow flag from its visitor center and the mayor since 2000, Clare Higgins, is an out lesbian.
Northampton has also hosted its fair share of lesbian icons.
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