Oakland Pride Turns Away Leather Groups

Author: , September 1st, 2014

Leather FlagOakland’s first Pride parade is today, but according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the leather community is not invited.

One thing you probably won’t find at Oakland’s first LGBT Pride Parade on Sunday: partially clad men in leather chaps. What you will find is the Jolly Trolly from Children’s Fairyland, pony rides, antique fire engines and singer/drummer Sheila E. Instead of kicking off with Dykes on Bikes, as is the tradition in San Francisco, Oakland’s parade starts with Tykes on Trikes. “We had some leather groups from San Francisco who wanted to come, and we politely declined. We want to keep this G-rated,” said Carlos Uribe, one of the organizers. “We don’t want to compete with San Francisco Pride, we just want to offer a more family-friendly, diverse celebration. Sort of an end-of-summer bookend to SF Pride.”

The city has hosted a Pride fest on and off since the 1990s, but the current incarnation started five years ago with the goal of eventually opening an LGBT community center. Last year, organizers polled the festival’s 30,000 attendees about what they’d like to see at future fests, and 80 percent said they wanted a parade. “We’re going to be the most family-friendly Pride parade anywhere, ever,” said Amber Todd, chair of Oakland Pride. “We’ll have something for everyone – gay, straight, pansexual, kids. My 75-year-old mother’s coming, and she’s as straight as the day is long.”

Full Story at Joe.My.God | East bay Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Rolling the Barrels in Italy

Author: , September 1st, 2014

Bravio delle Botti - Dolly GoolsbyBuongiorno, tutti,

Yes, we returned to Montepulciano for the barrel-rolling competition, called the Bravio delle Botti. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and the festivities were well under way by then. On Thursday, they had had an evening parade, by candlelight, with people in medieval costume from all 8 contrade, entertainment in the Piazza Grande, and fireworks.

Well, yes, we missed that, but on Saturday each contrada had a parade of their young people, so we got to see that.

Of course, in the evening there was live music in many different venues. All contrade had their own areas where they were cooking and serving food and drink. It was hard for me to imagine even eating a bistecca Fiorentina at any time, but I know I wouldn’t do that at 10:00 at night.

All of this area is heavy on meats: beef from the Chianini cattle, only found in Tuscany, wild boar stews and ragu (cinghiale), rabbit, domestic pork and lamb, and sausages, too, from the cinghaile and pork. Thankfully, for some of us who want more veggies in our meals, it is porcini season here. Mmmm..just the aroma of porcini mushrooms being sauteed in olive oil, served over pasta, makes my mouth water. Also, many grilled local vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, fennel, are available. Salads with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella are wonderful.

On Sunday, the entire day had something going on leading up to the grand finale, the actual barrel race. At 10:00 a.m. there was a parade of the royalty and dignitaries of each contrada, ending at Piazza Grande. All of these people went through large double doors into the city hall. Then there was a lottery which determined starting position for the barrel rolling competition. (Think “pole position” at Indianapolis.).

The trumpeters opened some windows on the top floor of that building, played a fanfare, then a flag appeared, announcing the first position.

Next, the barrel rollers from that first contrada rolled their brand new barrel out onto the steps of the cathedral. The blacksmith then measured the barrel with calipers, tapped in any loose nails, and branded the barrel with his stamp. While all this was going on, the drummers and flag throwers from the contrada were keeping the audience entertained.

This procedure continued until all 8 contrade had their positions announced, barrels were branded. Then the priest and a cardinal gave a short blessing ceremony and all the nobility, the barrel rollers, the flag throwers and drummers entered the church for a Mass.

Eventually, it came time for the actual barrel racing. It was impossible to get a good photo, so this is the best I could do. They were really moving fast, up the Corso, through some side streets, passing through each of the 8 contrade, from the bottom of the hill up to Piazza Grande.

Eventually, the contrada Voltaio won. They had gotten the first position, and are also return winners, having own last year.

All in all, it was a fun filled weekend. We got to meet again some of our friends from school, as well as some of the instructors. We also met the lady and her husband, from whom we had rented our apartment while going to school. The town is filled with lovely people like them.

I am very much in love with Montepulciano. I hope I get to return again before too long.

I trust you will enjoy my synopsis of a wonderful cultural experience.
(I have included so many pictures, it will be interesting to see if they all come through.)

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Purple Roofs | Eastern Tuscany Gay Travel Resources

Win Five Nights at Hawaii’s Maui Sunseeker

Author: , September 1st, 2014

Maui SunseekerIf you’re looking for a romantic getaway for you and your other half, or just a fun trip in a beautiful locale for yourself, sign up for our sweepstakes to win 5 nights at Maui’s Maui Sunseeker:

Step off the plane and the first thing you notice is the warm tropical breeze, full of the scent of plumeria, jasmine and tuberose, wrapping you in a wonderful feeling you’ve really arrived in paradise. And that’s just the first few moments of your escape from the normal. It gets better.

True native Hawaiian people are very sincere about the Aloha spirit, welcoming all to experience our beautiful paradise while just being themselves. Hawaii is the 7th US State to legalize civil union/gay marriage. Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort firmly believes no one should ever suffer discrimination anywhere, as all are welcome here (indeed we are also hetero friendly). Our rainbow flag flies proudly and prominently in front of our property as testimony to this fundamental belief. We were featured recently on KITV News – watch the clip here.

We promise to make your vacation so memorable, you’ll count the days until you can return to us. An amazing 40% of our guests do so every year. You are welcome to just come and relax on our clothing optional roof deck or next to our new saline pool, but you didn’t fly 2,600 miles over the Pacific for something you can find along any shore.
You can sign up for the sweepstakes here, and visit our Maui page here.

Weekending in Prague for Gay Pride

Author: , September 1st, 2014

Prague Pride - Adam Groffman

A few weeks ago I took a last-minute weekend trip to Prague for their 4th annual gay pride, Prague Pride. The festival included a jam-packed schedule of events over a week, including film screenings, political debates, parties and a parade. I would argue that Prague has been a gay hotspot destination for a while already, but this was only their 4th annual pride celebration. And for being such a young endeavor, it seemed to be incredibly well organized with a full spectrum of events for every type of visitor. I really loved it.

Gay pride in Prague was special not just because it was a small (though not too small) celebration, but also because there was a community feeling behind the pride. With political organizers and volunteers from Central European LGBT rights organizations taking the stage at several events, the pride felt as much about celebrating gay pride as it did about making positive societal change. And in a part of Europe that still needs reforms, that’s as important as anything else.

Even in Prague, with its beautiful backdrops, history of pornography and relative liberal attitudes, gay rights still have a ways to go. This year’s 2014 Prague Pride was even met with neo-nazi protesters at one point, though there were fewer than 10 and they were all removed relatively peacefully by police. I was further along the parade route when it happened and neither myself nor any of my friends even heard about the scuffle until hours later.

Authored by Adam Groffman. See the Full Story at Travels of Adam here.

See Adam’s full blog here.

Click here for gay travel resources in the Czech Republic.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Inn at Red Hill, Keedysville, Maryland

Author: , September 1st, 2014

Inn at Red Hill - Keedysville, MarylandPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Retreat in the Historic Hills of Antietam: The Inn at Red Hill is nestled in the woodlands of Elk Ridge, the northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Red Hill is a cozy, 2 guestroom bed and breakfast. Wake to freshly brewed coffee and homemade breakfast featuring ingredients from local farms. Inn at Red Hill is a morning drive from Washington DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia.

See the Inn at Red Hill Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentalshttp://www.purpleroofs.com/usa/maryland.html

Plan Your Stay: NH Boat Museum

Author: , August 31st, 2014

The New Hampshire Boat Museum http://glynnhouse.com/area-activities/museums-historic-sites features many of the NH Boat Museumfinest examples of vintage mahogany and antique boats on a rotating basis, including; Gar Wood, Chris-Craft, Century, Dodge, Penn Yan, Lyman and Hacker. There are runabouts, race-boats, canoes, guide boats, and sail boats. Whether you are an outboard, steam, paddle or sail enthusiast, the displays, enhanced with archival photos, trophies and models, bring to life a truly grand era of boating. The NH Boat Museum is situated in Wolfeboro, a pleasant 60 minute lakeside drive from the Glynn House. We normally suggest guests include the NH Boat Museum with a handful of other convenient stops.

During your New Hampshire foliage season getaway, stay at the romantic Glynn House Inn. Experience elegant surroundings, delicious food, uncompromising service and genuine hospitality. A full gluten free breakfast menu is always available. Bring your favorite four-footed canine pal and reserve one of five pet friendly rooms. View the Glynn House http://www.glynnhouse.com/ website for additional information about the Inn and local activities.

Want to Be An Innkeeper? Purple Roofs Lists Lots of Gay-Friendly Inns

Author: , August 31st, 2014

Purple Roofs, inns for sale, sectionDid you know that the Purple Roofs gay travel directory also lists lots of currently LGBT owned and friendly accommodations for sale? We list inns, B&B’s, hotels, vacation rentals, investment opportunities, and other short-term accommodation properties worldwide.

If you’re thinking about becoming an innkeeper, you can see all of our listings here.

We’ve always dreamed about becoming innkeepers – if you’re a people person, it might be the perfect job for you – work at home, meet travelers from all around the world, and if you like to cook, the opportunity to try a new breakfast recipe every day.

If you’d like to add your own property to our listings, click here – we’d love to help you promote your real estate offering.

Lesbian Travel: Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas

Author: , August 31st, 2014

beachPrepare to unwind, create your own fun and sink into your sun-drenched vacation far away from the masses. Pink Sands Beach will move you to a complete state of chic relaxation and, although it comes at a steep cost, this beach should be on the bucket list of any avid world traveler. Visit the beach at sunrise and sunset and the sand seems even pinker than during daylight hours. Spacious and unspoiled, we think it’s the perfect place to rediscover yourself (or your lover) again.

Love to scuba dive? With wrecks of all kinds to be discovered, tropical fish, lobsters and sea turtles in your sights for snorkeling, you’ll want to gear up quickly. Explore nearby Eleuthera Island or scuba dive through one the world’s top dive sites between Eleuthera and Current Island called “Current Cut Dive” – drift through the 2/3 mile distance in just ten minutes. Not a scuba diver? Kayak with a friend or sink into a snooze on the scenic Pink Sands Beach. No judgment here.

By Angela Braun – Full Story at Go Girlfriend | Bahamas Gay Travel Resources

Where to Travel for Thanksgiving This Year

Author: , August 31st, 2014

Washington DCIf there’s one responsible thing you do over Labor Day weekend, let it be solidifying your Thanksgiving plans. We know it’s difficult to think ahead to the next big holiday while you’re still working on taking advantage of the current one, but we hear from our friends at Hipmunk that airfare is expected to rise significantly after the holiday. If you don’t already have a destination in mind, consider some of our favorites for Thanksgiving.

Charleston, SC

Get ready for some Southern charm in Charleston, best known for its plantation homes and haunted tours. Its historical architecture creates a cozy atmosphere, and the culinary scene is foodie-approved. Plus, you’ll find one of the ShermansTravel staff’s favorite under-rated beach two hours north, and sleepy Hilton Head two hours south, just in case you need a little more seclusion. While hotel rates in town easily reach $400 per night on busy weekends, you can easily find options in the $200-$300 range over Thanksgiving. Rooms at King Charles Inn, a historic AAA three-diamond property, for example, currently start at $212. For East Coasters, these prices make the moderate airfare worth it — we found round-trip flights from NYC from $481 leaving Wednesday and returning Sunday on United, and from $431 leaving Wednesday and returning Saturday on JetBlue.

Oaxaca, Mexico

For an international getaway, this southern Mexico destination is fairly affordable to reach from both coasts as well as the Midwest. For a Wednesday to Sunday trip, roundtrip fares start from $450 from Chicago, $656 from New York, and $612 from San Diego, all on Aeromexico. November is somewhat of a sweet spot here, just after the summer rains have ended but before the cold descends — and you know you can plan for some beach time when Puerto Escondido holds its big surf competition mid-month. The laid-back beach town is also home to well-priced lodging, with rates running from under $100 per night for more simplistic inns to $200 per night for fancier boutiques. In nearby Huatulco, you’ll find the same slow pace, with plenty of wildlife and gorgeous churches to admire. Whichever you choose, you’ll be able to indulge in mole and mezcal without the crowds of Oaxaca’s flashier neighbors.

By Christine Wei – Full Story at Shermans Travel

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Bella Roma Bed and Breakfast, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Author: , August 31st, 2014

Bella Roma - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Beautifully Restored Historic Downtown Inn: Bella Roma guests experience the historic charm of this 1882 Italianate house in a comfortable European themed setting, complemented by modern amenities. We offer two very large suites, sleeping up to four each, and two spacious single rooms. Our gourmet breakfasts get your day off to a wonderful start.

See the Bella Roma Bed and Breakfast Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Albuquerque