Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

When Brent Ridge (left), a health-conscious physician and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a New York Times ad man and best-selling author, bought the Beekman farm in 2007, Brent left his practice to live at the farm full-time, while Josh commuted to work in the city.  Josh was the first man that Brent had ever dated. They had met on-line fifteen years ago and became engaged in December, 2011.

But (bad) timing is everything, and they soon found themselves victims of the economic downturn of 2008. Brent was laid off from his job as Vice President for Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and their ultimate success is a story of determination and sheer will over seemingly insurmountable setbacks.

The 5,000 sq. ft. Georgian Palladian-style estate house was a prime example of shabby-chic, but the two lovingly restored the manor house and its 60 acres to pristine condition. The Mohawk Valley property, which had sat empty for 50 years, is located 200 miles north of NYC in the town of Sharon Springs, NY, a faded spa town from another era. The gay Beekman boys became fully integrated into the community, and the locals are thankful for the attention and resurgence in tourism that the “Beekman Boys” have brought to the town. They have a successful mercantile retail shop in town that sells their farm-crafted organic products and high-end craft items.

Brent and Josh keep goats, pigs, chickens and other animals (such as llamas), and they use the goat milk to make natural soaps and cheeses.  Their cookbook, chemical-free soaps and other lifestyle products are sold at retailers such as Anthropologie, Henri Bendel, Williams-Sonoma, John Derian, and ABC Carpet & Home. NASDAQ has called "Beekman 1802" one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the United States. A follow-up to their first cookbook is to be called "Beekman 1802 Heirloom Desserts" (September, 2013).

The modern-day “Green Acres” transition from city to farm life caught the attention of Planet Green, which created the somewhat campy “warts and all” reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which ran for two seasons beginning in June, 2010. In 2012 The Cooking Channel picked it up for a third season, airing on Thursday nights. The show chronicles their struggles to make an artisanal farm a financially viable endeavor.

The Bucolic Plague (2010), is a memoir written by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Recounting the purchase of their historic mansion and goat farm, it quickly became a national bestseller.

In 2012, CBS announced that Ridge and Purcell had been cast in the  The Amazing Race, and the two  ultimately became the season's grand prize winners. 

Brent and Josh have filled their historic home (rear view, above) with objects referencing the time period and the location of the house. They especially like collecting books written in the early 1800s. They christened the house “Beekman 1802" in honor of its original owner, William Beekman, a judge and state senator who built the house in 1802.

Note: Thanks to an anonymous reader who pointed out an error when this entry was first posted. The source of the photo of the couple I used at the beginning of the post had misidentified Brent for Josh. I have since corrected it.


  1. Josh is the one with glasses. Brent is the whiny "doctor". Check your facts before you post.

  2. I know and appreciate your attention to detail and the amount of research you do for every post. Even as a die-hard BB fan, I totally did NOT notice your error (Heavens forbid!!) and to our anonymous 'Friend'; FK OFF, biatch!!