A Hudson Valley Hamlet’s Surprising Homage to Same-Sex Weddings

kingston celebrationNew York State’s first capital now has its sights on becoming another kind of hub: same-sex wedding wonderland.

Picturesque Kingston, a town of about 24,000 on the west side of the Hudson River about 90 miles north of New York City, has hosted a disproportionate number of gay nuptials since the state first began legally sanctioning them a year and a half ago.

That’s thanks in no small part to Celebration Chapel, a lovingly restored mid-19th century church in downtown Kingston that opened its doors on July 24, 2011, the very day New York State approved same-sex unions.

Celebration’s owner, Paul Joffe, says more than half of the weddings that the non-denominational chapel has hosted since then have been for LGBT couples. The storybook chapel (seen above) features 40-foot vaulted ceilings, Tiffany Stained Glass windows, a working pipe organ, and its own 4,000-square-foot reception hall downstairs.

Kingston is just one of several small Hudson Valley cities that have attracted attention in recent years for being hip, arty, and at least somewhat gay. Others include Hudson, about 30 miles to the north, and Beacon, about 30 miles south.

The area’s burgeoning LGBT community has been served since 2008 by the Big Gay Hudson Valley organization, which recently launched the premiere edition of its online magazine.

Photo by Celebration Chapel

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