Property of the Day: Nest B&B, Dingman’s Ferry, Poconos, Pennsylvania

Author: , October 27th, 2010

Featured Property: Nest B&B, Dingman’s Ferry, Poconos, Pennsylvania

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

Gay Friendly Poconos Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Nest B&B - Poconos, PennsylvaniaNest was designed, from the reclaimed wood beams to the modern room furnishings, by its owners, Mark & Sally Heiblim. The two second floor guest rooms have been newly remodeled to include steam showers, HDTV flat screen entertainment systems, restful bedding, and comfortable chairs. Nest is as well appointed as a fine hotel.

Each guest room offers the same features, including queen size beds, WIFI, and iPod Dock / Clock Radio / Alarm. Your nightly rate includes breakfast, and we have packages which include local entertainment, activities and dining.

Nest is a contemporary style bed & breakfast situated on 3 and a half private, landscaped, wooded acres. Located adjacent to the 70,000 acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Nest offers an array of amenities to make your stay pleasurable and relaxing,

See the Nest B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Beruit, Tel Aviv Battling for Gay Travel Dollars

Author: , October 27th, 2010

Gay Friendly Israel Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Call it the newest Arab-Israeli conflict. Two Mediterranean hotspots, each boasting a trendy nightlife, warm climate and carefree attitude, are vying for the pink dollars of the world’s gay tourists. Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and business capital, has already earned its place as a must-go destination for globe-trotting gays, and now Beirut is making its pitch, too.

“Western travelers come to us to feel the Arabian spirit,” Bertho Makso, Lebanon’s first and perhaps best-known gay travel operator, told The Media Line. “And Arabs have come to feel more comfortable.”

The global gay tourism industry is a booming, billion-dollar industry. With higher than average disposable income, and into shopping and culture, gay tourists are a desirable market. Last year, the economic impact of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered travelers was about $63 billion in the US alone, according to a study from Community Marketing Inc., a San Francisco-based market research firm.

Full Story from The Jerusalem Post

New Study: Latin America A Huge Untapped Market for Gay Travel

Author: , October 27th, 2010

The Latin American region represents a very large – and untapped – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) marketing opportunity for the travel and tourism industry, reveals research released today.

Findings from the 2010 Out Now Global LGBT Study – which will be released in full at World Travel Market on November 10, reveals Latin America is home to more than 25 million LGBT people. This group of people represent a valuable multi-billion value market opportunity for a broad range of companies, including tourism brands, destinations and a diverse range of industries.

Undertaken by Out Now Global – the leading LGBT marketing strategy and research agency – the new research surveys LGBT people living across the Latin American region on a wide range of topics, including spending habits, education, parenting, relationships, age, income, travel, lifestyle, workplace discrimination and harassment issues.

Full Story from WebWire

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Munich’s Gay Village Becoming Straight-Friendly

Author: , October 24th, 2010

Gay MunichGay Friendly Germany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Is the slogan plastered on the Munich cigarette machine – “SO NOT BERLIN” – bragging or complaining? If Berlin is all about art and sex, Munich is more focused on design and fashion. Nowhere is this truer than in Glockenbachviertel, a warren of twisty streets, unique boutiques, pastel-washed neo-classical façades, oddly cozy gay fetish bars and a hundred tiny cafés and louche lounges – all just a quick polka away from heavily touristed Munich Central.

“Glockenbachviertel was a gay and lesbian neighbourhood even in the 1930s, under the Nazis,” at least until homosexual men were transported to concentration camps. Throughout the decades, artists and alternative types flocked to the area for the free-and-easy atmosphere and low rents.

More recently, the quarter has become hetero-trendy, a hipster party place and a fancy address for people who want to buy, not rent. An ugly sixties high-rise rental building is now being transformed into a swank condo project where flats go for millions of euros apiece.

Full Story from The Globe & Mail

From Athens to Singapore 9 of 12: Dubai

Author: , October 22nd, 2010

by Mike Shaughnessy, Traveler

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Purple Roofs is happy to welcome back an old friend. Last time, Mike regaled us with tales of his trip through South America. This time, he brings us details from his two month trip from Greece to Singapore. Enjoy!

Dubai, UAE

Dubai, UAEOur next stop in the United Arab Emirates was the amazing but crazy new city of Dubai. Not sure how to describe this place, I am sure they would not appreciate it if I were to say it is like Las Vegas on steroids or Las Vegas times 100.

Dubai, UAE

This is where they built from sand the huge manmade Palm Islands that can be seen from space by the naked eye, built the world’s tallest building from the top of which you are so high you can actually see the curvature of the earth.

Dubai, UAEIn fact something like 30% of all the tallest buildings in the world are here in Dubai. The icon of Dubai is the huge Burj Hotel on a manmade island that looks like a large sail boat, another self-proclaimed seven star hotel (ratings actually only go up to five stars).

The world’s largest theme park, called Dubai World, is/was under construction but also because of the world economic crash it is currently $60 billion in debt default and causing a nervous banking situation here in the Middle East.

With the world economic slowdown, some of the underway huge construction projects not yet completed in Dubai have been put on hold and construction workers sent back to their home country. The advantage is that now it is much easier to find a taxi, there is less traffic in Dubai and you can buy a local apartment or property at half the inflated price before the economic slowdown.

However, it seems much of the city is still under construction as everywhere you look there is metro stations or buildings or malls still being worked on and edging more toward completion.

Dubai is known to be a great place for shopping, with low prices on all kinds of electronics and gold items. Again, there are no import duties levied on any of the goods and no taxes to pay on purchase.

Skiing in Dubai

The world’s largest malls are located in Dubai; one of the malls even has an indoor snow skiing mountain, another mall has an indoor ice skating rink.

They have built some world class golf courses here on the sands in Dubai. Since this is really a desert originally consisting of nothing but sand there is constant irrigation going on everywhere to keep the grass, flowers and trees all green.

When my friend Jerry visited here a few months ago he enjoyed the air conditioned huge malls as a place to go to be cool and get out of the desert heat.

Across from the Dubai Mall are the huge dancing fountains. They are very much like the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, only bigger.

ubai, UAEDubai has clean, large well functioning city bus system. All of the bus shelters are enclosed and fully air conditioned so you can stay cool and comfortable while you are waiting for the air conditioned bus to arrive.

The new metro is space age looking and fully computer controlled. I was told it was driverless too but I saw a man sitting in the front car of the train.

One portion of Dubai is being developed as “Internet City” a place where all of the high tech companies are concentrating.

Dubai, UAEDubai city is divided by what is called Dubai Creek which is really a huge salt water inlet. There are three ways to cross from one side of Dubai Creek (old Dubai) over to the other side; modern highway bridges, road tunnels and the old fashioned abra (boat taxis) that cost one Dirham or about 25 cents to cross.

The traditional way of life in Dubai has disappeared in the shiny reflection of glass and glitz of high rise buildings and modern highways. Some parts of old Dubai still retain the souk (market) and Arab feelings as they go about their business in this mix of old and new. In the many huge modern malls every brand name product can be found. There are even the ever present MacDonald’s and KFC in the food courts.

Dubai MosqueThe largest mosque in Dubai “only” holds 1,000 worshippers which is tiny compared to the 20,000 in Muscat or 40,000 capacity in Abu Dhabi. However, mosques in Dubai are like Starbucks in the US, one on every corner.

I went out to that man-made Palm Islands development. The sheer size of it is hard to comprehend, it was sea prior to dredging up all that sand, no wonder you can see it from space with the naked eye. There are a total of 17 fronds on the palm, each lined with condos, apartments, houses and marinas for the wealthy. Many of the buildings are still being completed and much of the completed ones are still not occupied. I cannot imagine where enough people will come from to occupy all the living units put up in this massive development!

IKEA DubaiTraveling along the center of the ‘palm’ is both a major highway and a monorail system. The entire palm development is separated from the mainland so you cross over a bridge to reach the beginning of the palm.

There are breakwater developments circling the entire palm. All the way out at the very end, furthest out in the ocean, is a huge new glitzy Las Vegas style five star hotel called the Atlantis, named after the lost city under the sea.

Dubai AquariumOne of the newest fun things to do in Dubai now is to go out to Atlantis and spend the day playing in their huge water park, swimming with dolphins, or taking a gigantic water slide down into their lagoon. They also have a big aquarium called The Lost City.

Dubai has the world’s tallest building, scheduled to open in January 2010 so just in two months.

Dubai a few months ago opened its first metro line to assist people getting to and from work and to lessen the traffic during the commute hours. There is a second metro line under construction to open next year. This makes it the only Emirate in the UAE to have a major public transportation system. This comes none too soon because with all the cars there is growing air pollution.

Vancouver, The Little Portland in Washington State

Author: , October 22nd, 2010
by Scott & Mark, Purple Roofs

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Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Just got back from a short trip to Vancouver, Washington – not the big one up in Canada, but the cute little town across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, in southwestern Washington State. You get here from Portland via the 5 Freeway, or from the Portland Airport via the 205 to the 14.

Vancouver, Washington

The easiest way to describe Vancouver is sort of a small Portland – same climate, similar architecture – but a lot smaller. Although Vancouver proper extends quite a ways east, Downtown Vancouver consists of just a few small districts – Uptown, where you’ll find Main Street and shorter, historic buildings, and Esther Park, centered on a cute one block park with a beautiful brick tower, water features, mature trees, and a much newer vibe.
Esther Park, Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, unlike Portland, has no skyscrapers – the tallest building is maybe 15 stories.

Musicians in Esther Park - Vancouver, WashingtonWe stayed close to Esther Park (at left), and were surrounded by the sounds of the city, from the train tracks that run along the riverside to the bells from the tower in the park. When we got down to ground level, we were delighted to hear other sounds, these from the street musicians inthe park on a lovely Saturday morning.

Farmer's Market, Vancouver, WashingtonMost of the buildings in this area are newer, and run from 3-10 stories.

In Esther Park, you’ll also find a weekly farmer’s market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sping into Fall. This one’s about twice the size of ours back home, fillade with fresh produce and flowers, and with a great prepared food section. The smells wafting from the food carts are enticing, and there was live music to enhance the mood.

Vancouver, WashingtonThere’s a Starbucks on the north side of Esther Park, great for a quick coffee and danish with park views. On the south side of the park, you’ll find Grey’s on the Park at the Hilton Hotel, which offers a good, hot breakfast, also with park views.

On the first Friday of the month there’s also an evening art walk throughout the downtown area.

North Bank Gay Bar - Vancouver, WashingtonOn Sixth Street, about two blocks east of the park, you’ll find North Bank (pictured at left),  a gay bar complete with Drag Shows.

Vancouver, WashingtonWalking north a few blocks on Main Street to Mill Plain Rd, you’ll find the Uptown District, Vancouver’s historic downtown. This is an up-and-coming District, with a lot of historic flair – and a lot of consignment and antique shops.

Vancouver, Washington MuralThe Vancouver city government has recently taken a crash course in urban revitilization, and has a number of small projects planned for the urban core of the city, including a beautiful new main library branch, conversion of a vacant lot to a city park, and restoration of some of Main Street’s historic storefronts.

Downtown seems to have a dearth of fine dining options, but of course, you’re just ten minutes by car from Downtown Portland and all the great restaurante there.

Vancouver is also home to the area’s alternative newspaper, the Vancouver Voice.

For a city of its small stature, Vancouver has a surprisingly quaint downtown and lots to offer the gay and lesbian traveler.

Featured Property: Kemble Inn, Lenox, Massachusetts

Author: , October 22nd, 2010

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

Gay Friendly Berkshires, Massachusetts Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Kemble Inn - Lenox, MassachusettsOriginally built in 1881 by President Chester Arthur’s Secretary of State, Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, the Kemble Inn has since graced the town of Lenox, MA with its stately grandeur. A welcoming foyer and sweeping staircase with its Palladian window are the testament to the elegance and opulence of a bygone era – but for you to enjoy!

At the turn of the 19th century Berkshires was a haven for the wealthiest of Americans. Here, they built their splendid mansions, “The Berkshire Cottages”, in the richness of styles that reflected the taste and aspirations of their owners. An example of this wealth of expression is Ventfort Hall and just across the street The Kemble Inn. Both were designed by renowned architects of the time, Arthur Rotch and George Tilden, but in styles so vastly different – that the two do not seem of the same era.

Located on the hill top of two elevated acres; Kemble Inn offers open views of the splendid Berkshire Mountains. This oasis of green space in the center of Lenox is equally suited for your next personal getaway, as it is for weddings, anniversaries, reunions, corporate meetings and special events.

See the Kemble Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

Author: , October 20th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

Gay Friendly Rome Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is at the end of her extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs – this is the last one. Enjoy!

Rome, Italy

Monday, 11 October

Orvieto, ItalyWe got our train to Orvieto, and from the train station we took the funicular up to the ancient city of Orvieto. It was drizzling rain but by the time we got to our hotel and checked in, the rain had stopped. We hurriedly threw the bags into our room, then set out to explore the city. Of course, when we got to the cathedral, Frank was just as entranced with this beautiful structure as I had been, back in June, when I first saw it.

Orvieto, ItalyWe went inside, and spent some time looking at the Romanesque pillars, the frescoes, the statues, then into the Branzini chapel, which is covered with paintings by Luca Singnorelli, who completed the paintings that had been started by Fra Angelico in the 1400’s.

It is still difficult to imagine that what I am seeing is over 600 years old. This church is just an amazing piece of art.

Orvieto, ItalyWe the took a stroll down some of the little streets, finishing with a glass of wine at one of the many enotece in this city, which is famous for its white wine, as well as the wild boar salami and now, in October, porcini mushrooms and black truffles! Yum!

Tuesday, 12 October

On our second day in Orvieto, we went to another ancient church, took a walk along the ramparts, where we could look over the Umbrian valley. This is really a small city, but each nook and cranny holds another interesting surprise.

Wednesday, 13 October

Today, we took the train to Rome. From the chilly, rainy Orvieto, we arrived in a warm and humid Rome in just a bit over an hour train trip. When we checked into our hotel, we changed clothes, as we were dressed way too warm for Rome.

Rome, ItalyThe first thing we did is go to the top of the Vittorio Emmanuel monument, so that we could look over the entire city. The elevators to the very top of the monument were placed there in 2007, so Frank had never had the opportunity to see Rome from this vantage point. The view was fantastic! There are posters all around, telling what you are seeing, a 180 degree panorama.

From there we went down to the Piazza Venezia, sat at a sidewalk cafe, had a drink and watched the traffic/pedestrian dance, and wondered how long it would be before someone got nailed by a bus, a taxi or a scooter!

Rome, ItalyEventually we ended up going to our favorite Rome restaurant, Abruzzi, and had a wonderful meal. Frank told me that he had first come to this restaurant in 1962. The young manager is the son of the original owner. Pretty amazing. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, the sky opened up and poured rain down on us. We had to buy an umbrella from one of the street vendors, but we were still pretty wet when we got back to our hotel, and as I am writing this note, I can still see flashes of lightning and I can hear the thunder.,

Thursday, 14 October

We went on the Metro out to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Frank had been there before, but I had not. The church is huge, and beautiful, constructed in A.D. 380, it is the second largest church in Christendom, right after St. Peters. I was really glad we made the trip out to see it.

Rome, ItalyOn the way back into the main city, we stopped at Circus Maximus, and walked up to another church, where we were able to see la Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth) and we were brave enough to put our hands into the mouth. The legend is that if you put your hand in the Bocca and you are not a truthful person, you will lose your hand. (You must see “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and Eddie Albert.)

We walked some more, had a great lunch, then happened to be at Quirinale for the changing of the guard, complete with marching band, and soldiers marching. Impressive. I want to remember that this occurs every day at 3:15 p.m.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, ItalyWe were trying to do things today that were not on the usual tourist tour, and I think we succeeded. We came back to the hotel, rested awhile, then walked to Piazza Navona this evening. This piazza is one of my favorites, and we were rewarded with a gorgeous evening to enjoy it.

I even took a picture of the church, St. Agnese, for one of my “ducklings” who was not able to join the 2010 tour group, but had joined us last year. Hi, Agnes!! We did get our walking in today, that is certain.

Tomorrow, St. Peters, Vatican and Borghese Galleria..I may be a blithering idiot by this time tomorrow! But I have to get my Bernini fix.

Friday, 15 October

Well, we made it to St. Peter’s Basilica, which is such a marvelous church. After seeing all that we could take in, we walked around to the Vatican Museum, but the line was so long, we knew we would never get in and out again in time to make our appointment at the Borghese.

So we took the Metro to the Spanish Steps. I showed Frank the neighborhood where my “ducklings” and I had rented an apartment last year. We had lunch at our neighborhood restaurant, then we went to the Borghese Gardens, taking the longest possible route… not intentional, but nevertheless, by the time we got to the Borghese Galleria, we were happy to have a half hour to rest before touring my favorite art gallery.

After finishing our visit to the Borghese, we took a bus to Via Nazionale, the street our hotel is on, stopped at an Irish pub for a snack and a drink, then to the hotel for a nap! After a short rest, we then found a very good little trattoria in our neighborhood for dinner.

Now we have to leave Rome in the morning. We have had a great time, but we are looking forward to spending tomorrow with the Carli’s in Viareggio.

This will be my last post from Italy. We pack tomorrow, leave Tuesday. I hope everyone has enjoyed following my travels in Europe for the past almost-six months. What a wonderful adventure I have had. Stay tuned to the web site for further news, but Arrivederci now, to Italia.

Ciao for now…

Dolly

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Featured Property: Discovery Grove Eco Retreat, St. Criox, US Virgin Islands

Author: , October 20th, 2010

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

Gay Friendly US Virgin Islands Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Located in the US Virgin Islands, Discovery Grove is an Eco Retreat center that offers charming West Indies-style accommodations set on the grounds of a former 18th century sugar cane plantation.

At the base of Blue Mountain, Discovery Grove is a magical destination where one has freedom to explore towering bamboo stands, inviting mango and guavaberry trees and winding nature trails.

Since 2007, guests have come to Discovery Grove seeking a special vacation experience that integrates on-site team building and outdoor adventure activities as well as on island community service, ecology and marine biology immersion programs, and boat trips to nearby dive and snorkeling sights.

Whatever your interests, Discovery Grove offers a rich environment that embraces St. Croix’s unique and diverse culture, history and natural resources. All accommodtion packages are tailor-made to your specific needs.

See the Discovery Grove Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

India’s Gay/Lesbian Industry Growing

Author: , October 14th, 2010

Gay Friendly India Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

New Delhi, Oct 12 (Calcutta Tube) A niche market spanning clothing and fashion accessories, tourism and media targeted at the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community is fast growing in India, with entrepreneurs wanting to cash in on its purchasing power.

“The pink industry over here is growing as fast as in the West. With economic growth and huge amounts of dispensable incomes with young Queer people, you see new customized products,” said Robert Wintemute, professor at King’s College, London, who has studied sexual minorities across the world.

According to Wintemute, this Indian niche market of customized goods is likely to see the same trend witnessed in the West. And India is soon likely to be a hub for gay tourists and other commercial activities.

Full Story from Calcutta Tube