Prince Edward Island Should Market to Gay Travelers

Author: , November 29th, 2010

Gay Prince Edward IslandYesterday’s Charlottetown Guardian carried a story about the Tourism Association of PEI’s annual meeting. The keynote speaker was Jeff Guaracino of The Greater Philadelphia Marketing and Tourism Association.

It’s great to read so much in the Guardian these past weeks about PEI’s reaction to the firebomb attack against a gay couple in Little Pond. Islanders truly seem horrified.

According to the Guardian, Guaracino told the room PEI would do well to research and develop a long-term marketing plan to help attract gay tourists to the province. He pointed to a survey in which 77 percent of gay travellers to PEI said they would recommend the province to others, but 51 percent reported feeling uncomfortable there.

Full Story from Xtra

Click here for gay travel resources on Prince Edward Island.

Gay Travel in the United Kingdom: January in Bath

Author: , November 28th, 2010

by Giovanni & Mary, The Kennard, Bath, England, UK

Email Giovanni & Mary | Visit the Kennard Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Somerset Page

Pulteney Bridge, Bath, England

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath is well known as a romantic city with a winning combination of beautiful Georgian architecture, stunning scenery, luxurious accommodation and superb restaurants.

Bath Aerial ViewBath – with its intimate size, laid back atmosphere and countryside right on the doorstep – is the perfect destination for a very special break.

Roman Hot Springs, Bath, EnglandBath has the only natural thermal spring in Britain. You can visit the Roman Baths, some of the finest examples of remaining Roman architecture in the world, and its museum takes you on a journey of discovery through the history of Bath and its spa, or you can relax in the naturally warm waters of the new Thermae Bath Spa.

Thermae Spa, Bath, EnglandOpened in 2006, this modern spa complex, utilising pre-existing Georgian buildings is the only place in Britain to use naturally warm waters: bathe in the pools, relax in scented steam rooms and experience the thrill of looking out over the city from the roof-top pool. In the cold winter it’s even more exiting!

The water rises from a depth of 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) at over 1,000,000 litres (220,000 gallons) a day and remains at a constant temperature of 46 degrees C, reaching the surface in three places in the City centre.

Bath, England

Legend says that Bath was founded by the Celtic Prince Bladud – father of King Lear – in 863 BC after being cured from leprosy by the hot marshy springs in Swainswick, where Bath now stands.

But it is with the Romans that the hot waters were used for their own purposes: in the first century they built a temple and baths around it, the remains of which can be still seen today. The City became a religious shrine and bathing spa, with many people who would travel miles to enjoy the waters: exactly as today!

Bath Theatere RoyalIn winter Bath is also very special: fewer people in the streets allow you to fully enjoy the magical architecture; in shops, restaurants, bars, people have more time to talk to you and to share their knowledge of the Town with you, maybe suggesting a show at the Theatre Royal, recently re-furbished and reopened by the Duchess of Cornwall, its patron, where national companies often come to perform a new piece before taking it to London’s West-end.

Or a new exhibition in one of the many galleries, to buy an antique painting or a modern sculpture, or visit The Jane Austen Centre, celebrating the life of Jane Austen, perhaps the best known and best loved of Bath’s many famous residents and visitors. She paid two long visits here towards the end of the eighteenth century, and from 1801 to 1806 Bath was her home. Her intimate knowledge of the city is reflected in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, which are largely set in Bath.

Pump Room, Bath, UKOr we can suggest you the right place to have afternoon tea – for us there is only one place in Bath: The Pump Room, a spectacular building with a spectacular room where the word “Grand” has a palpable meaning. Built in 1789 by the famous architect Thomas Baldwin, this is where Georgian aristocracy would meet for lunch and drink the recommended three glasses of water a day as a health cure.

It contains 43 minerals, and some people still believe that it has curative properties, but we certainly prefer a nice cup of English tea. Maybe with a scone and cream and strawberry jam…

Fashion Museum, BathThere is also the Fashion Museum, home to real examples of contemporary and historic fashion pieces, from the 18th century to the present day, which is currently displaying dresses that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, on loan from a number of private collectors.

The museum is in the lower floors of the Assembly rooms, a stunning example of Georgian architecture, in the 18th century centre of the elite society where they would go to dance, gamble, play cards, or exchange gossip. Completed in 1771 by John Wood the Younger, they are still at the centre of Bath life, with classical music concerts with internationally acclaimed musicians, spectacular parties or prestigious conferences.

Bath AbbeyOn Sunday you can listen to the boys’ Choir in Bath Abbey, the last of the great medieval churches of England. The West Front is unique as it depicts the dream that inspired the Abbey’s founder, Bishop Oliver King, to pull down the ruined Norman cathedral and raise the present building on its foundations.

Number 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, EnglandBut our very favourite museum is Number 1 Royal Crescent, the very first house to be built in John Wood’s masterpiece of Palladian design. The magnificent restored townhouse creates a wonderfully vital picture of fashionable life in 18th century Bath.

Bath, EnglandEach room is an exquisite example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, carpets and textiles. In each room a well-versed lady takes you back in time with stories of the past, anecdotes, and information.

But if all this history and culture is starting to be a little too much, fear not! We have one of the best shopping facilities of the Country with the brand new South Gate development, the refurbished Milson Place, the incredible number of independent shops and boutiques offering all the latest trends and fashions.

The Kennard, Bath, EnglandCome and enjoy Bath staying at The Kennard, a Georgian town house with its special charm and character, it is quietly situated within minutes of the city centre, Abbey and Roman baths, and is the ideal setting from which to enjoy the delights of this famous city. Built in 1794 for the Golden Age of Bath’s elegance and prosperity, the hotel has been thoughtfully restored to provide every modern comfort, including free Wi-Fi in every room.

In January only – Sunday to Thursday – you can take advantage of our Special Offer of 3 nights for the price of 2! Room rates from £98 per night for 2 persons, inclusive of our award winning full English breakfast, and parking. We are waiting for you! We are just around the corner from Pulteney Bridge (pictured below).

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Canal Inn B&B, Panama City

Author: , November 28th, 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 Panama Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Canal Inn B&B - Panama CityAt Canal Inn Bed & Breakfast, we welcome everyone to come explore Panama City, and provide a safe, clean, peaceful place for you to stay diring your Panama adventure.

Our beautiful Panama City inn is centrally located and is very private. We’re connected to both roads: to the north (Gamboa – Colon) and to the west (Azuero – Chiriquí – Costa Rica).

Canal Inn offers very comfortable guest rooms, surrounded by lovely tropical gardens filled with colorful flowers, plants and birds.

It’s close to great local restaurants, our train station, the historic colonial area, shopping, the airport and of course, the famous Panama Canal and Bridge of the Americas.

Looking for a great, gay friendly place to stay here in Panama City? Come stay with us at the Canal Inn!

See the Canal Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Key West Lesbian Resort Opening Doors to Everyone

Author: , November 27th, 2010

Heather Carruthers, Pearl's RainbowGuests lounge around the pool at Pearl’s Rainbow, soaking up the sunshine and tropical vibes typical of a Southernmost guesthouse. Not a man is in sight – and that’s the way these vacationers like it. But over this Thanksgiving weekend, Key West’s only lesbian-exclusive resort is going “all welcome.”

The decision was made public about the same time Pearl’s Rainbow was honored in October by Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine, as the guesthouse that had the greatest impact on lesbian culture over the past 20 years.

Pearl’s Rainbow’s lesbian owner, Heather Carruthers, said it was a business decision based on tough economic realities, the request of some lesbian guests who would like to bring male family members or friends — and on some good news. Lesbians are being more accepted and feel more comfortable in the mainstream these days.

Full Story from The Miami Herald

Click here for gay travel resources in Key West.

Gay Brighton: Anything You Want it To Be

Author: , November 27th, 2010

Royal Pavilion - BrightonPeople come to Brighton for any number of reasons. The Prince of Wales (later to be Prince Regent and then George IV) came to Brighton to get away from his parents. He stayed on for many years. Today, visitors come to see his Royal Pavilion, the seaside palace that secured the city’s prestige. Others come for the sea, or for the famous pier.

Valerie Arkell-Smith (nee Barker), daughter of a much-respected British gentleman, came to Brighton dressed as a man. She caught a cab from Brighton railway station and headed for the Grand Hotel, where Valerie vanished forever and Colonel Victor Barker emerged.

And when the colonel married Elfrida Emma Haward at St Peter’s Church, Brighton, on November 14, 1923, the bride believed she was marrying the man of her dreams, or so she always claimed. Wherever the truth lies, Valerie/Victor remains Brighton’s most famous bridegroom.

Full Story from Sydney Morning Herald

Click here for gay travel resources in Sussex.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Lotus Cottages, San Diego

Author: , November 26th, 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 San Diego Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Lotus Cottahes - San Diego, CAAt San Diego’s Lotus Cottages, we offer two cottages just two doors apart, close to the Pacific Ocean. If you’d like to rent one or both cottages together, we’d love to have you stay with us.

Our craftsman cottage, built in 1932 and restored in 2010, includes fantastic details in every room, including dramatic open beam ceilings in the living room, a wonderful “Greene and Greene” detailed ceiling in the bedroom, and beautiful post and beam construction, private yards and decks, and a barbeque. Best of all, you’ll be right at the beach!

Visit the warm, friendly city of San Diego and stay in a beautiful, romantic craftsman cottage close to the Pacific Ocean. During the daytime, relax under our wonderful pine tree – read a great book – and just enjoy yourself. Or surf the waves and come home in time for lunch!

During the evening, relax on the back deck, have a little wine and listen to the sounds of the surf and to the palm trees blowing in the sea breezes.

See the Lotus Cottages Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Miami Seaquarium Offers Special Rate for White Party Visitors

Author: , November 26th, 2010

If you are attending the White Party this year, and were a fan of the popular TV show “Flipper” – whether in syndication or when it was new – and always wanted a chance to get up close and personal with a dolphin the Miami Seaquarium has an offer you’ll love!

Judging by the beautiful photographs provided by the Miami Seaquarium the opportunity will be one you and your loved ones will cherish for a lifetime. It’s not everyone that can claim such an experience.

“Miami Seaquarium is proud to welcome all the White Party Week guests to South Florida with this special offer to get in the water with dolphins for a truly memorable experience,” said Eric Eimstad, Vice President of Marketing at the Miami Seaquarium.

Full Story from SFGN

Click here for Miami gay travel resources.

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Goes Gay Tomorrow

Author: , November 26th, 2010

The Queensland town of Coolum Beach will host its first ever gay pride event this Saturday as the location of the third annual Sunshine Coast Pride Fair Day. The event, which is hosted by drag sensation Vanessa Wagner, will run from 11am to 5pm and is billed as family friendly.

Organisers say everyone is welcome to attend regardless of age or sexuality. Around a thousand people are expected to attend with a range of entertainment on offer including bands, games and stalls.

Musical acts on the day will include De Greer-Yindimincarlie and The Yindi Band, Sarah Booker, Pixel and The Great Shame.

Full Story from the Star Observer

Click here for gay travel resources on the Sunshine Coast.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Neil Avenue B&B, Columbus, Ohio

Author: , November 24th, 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 Ohio Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Neil Avenue B&B - Columbus, OhioWelcome to the Neil Avenue Bed & Breakfast, one of the jewels of Columbus’s Historic Victorian Village.

Our historic Columbus mansion, originally built in 1893 for furniture mogul Alfred Leroy Conklin, is located at 1237 Neil Avenue between 4th and 5th Avenues.

We’re just a few blocks from the Short North Arts District, only a mile from Ohio State University, and the same distance from the Arena District.

We serve a great breakfast in our dining room every morning, using organic, locally sourced produce whenever possible. Our coffee is fair trade organic, and our water is reverse osmosis filtered.

All of our guestrooms offer queen beds, with hypoallergenic (no feather) mattresses and pillows. We’re also eco friendly, using green cleaning products and no harsh chemicals. We take allergies seriously – if you hae any special requests, please let us know specifics when you make your reservation.

See the Neil Avenue B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Spicy Islands: Zanzibar and Pemba

Author: , November 24th, 2010

by Ernie Alderete

Email Ernie

Visit the Purple Roofs Gay/Lesbian Travel Directory

Gay Spice Islands

Spice Islands MapIf someone asked you to find the Spice Islands on a map, I’ll bet you would point to the Caribbean. But the Spice Islands are actually off the east coast of Africa. Two separate archipelagos: the world-renowned isles of Zanzibar, and a virtually unknown island group with the menacing name of the Mafia Archipelago.

Zanzibar is composed of the main island of Zanzibar, and it’s smaller partner Pemba, as well as small change totaling fifty isles off the north coast of Tanzania. The Mafia Archipelago, composed of the larger island of Mafia, its junior partner Chole, and several smaller isles, is located off the south coast of Tanzania.

Zanzibar boasts a magnificent physical setting in the pristine Indian Ocean, studded with dazzling beaches, as well as historic, cultural and architectural gems.

Zanzibar City WaterfrontYou would be hard-pressed to find a more exotic destination than Zanzibar. The coral reef fringed island is the birthplace of Swahili, the native African Bantu based, Portuguese, Persian and Arabic infused lingua-franca of a huge chunk of East Africa, and official language of Tanzania including the Spice Islands.

But more, or less familiar English is also an official language, and widely spoken. So you feel fully immersed in a completely foreign culture, yet you are able to order your dinner, go shopping, and explore the islands with ease.

Zanzibar Island is compact enough to able to explore in a few days. You will most likely land at Stone Town on the west coast, which is the center of all the developed activities, where you can enjoy a Spice Tour, or perhaps swim with the friendly wild dolphins at Kizimkazi. This isn’t a Sea World-type staged event, but rather a spontaneous interaction between people with humpback, and bottlenose dolphins in the open sea, not a manmade enclosure.

Zanzibar Slaves MonumentSavvy travelers combine a visit to Zanzibar with a mainland animal safari at one of the many legendary national parks.

Saadani National Park is the most convenient, being directly west of Zanzibar on the Tanzanian mainland. Saadani isn’t the largest, or oldest park in Tanzania, but it is the only coastal national park anywhere in East Africa. You can swim in the ocean there, or take a boat cruise among many other options.

Of course, the fabulous Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s parks, and should not be missed, if possible. Nearby Ngorongoro Crater is beyond spectacular. An enormous collapsed caldera of an extinct volcano, where you descend to the bottom in your Land Rover and eyeball the wildlife virtually face-to-face. My heart nearly stopped as we approached a pride of lions, and a female lion stretched her paws to the roof of our vehicle as her mate, as if on cue, came from behind, and mated with her. If your Land Rover’s rocking, don’t come knocking!

Tanzania lacks nothing in the realm of animal life, the entire so-called Big Five: lions, elephants, rhinoceros, leopard and buffalo are found in abundance. I would amend the equation to add the hippopotamus and giraffe, two magnificent animals that inspire awe with their very presence. To see the silhouette of a herd of giraffe bowing deeply to sip water, or reaching high into the canopy to nibble on leaves is a vision that will stay with you the rest of your life.

Only paces in distance, but countless millennia in time from Ngorongoro Crater, down a single lane gravel road is Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind where a descendant of George and Mary Leakey showed me where the famed anthropologists discovered the fossil remains of Zinjanthropus. It was actually Mrs. Leakey who made the find, but her legacy is mostly overshadowed by that of her more famous husband.

Choice accommodations include the breathtaking Crater Lodge at Ngorongoro. Even if you don’t stay at the lodge, have lunch there to enjoy the view from the rim of the crater.

Swahili cuisine, like the language, culture and people themselves, is a fusion of mainland African, Arab, Persian, Yemeni, Indian and other influences from around the Indian Ocean Basin.

Perhaps the most fundamental ingredients in Swahili cuisine are freshly grated coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut oil, utilized in deserts as well as in main courses, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coconut milk has virtually replaced vegetable oil in imported dishes as they became adapted to local ingredients, and culinary traditions.

Meat is not as widely consumed in Tanzania, as in other African countries. Seafood, fruit such as bananas, and vegetables such as eggplant, cassava leaves and mchicha, a type of spinach take the place of meat in many main courses. The bread of preference is Indian-style flat chapatti. Tea is the national drink, and a social custom.

Popular dining choices include Swahili prawns in a coconut masala sauce, coconut rice, catch-of-the-day simmered in coconut milk, coconut bean soup, pilau, a pungent rice dish spiced with curry, cinnamon, cumin, hot peppers and cloves, banana soup, banana salad, Comorian beef and spinach stew, chicken ndogo ndogo, the local incarnation (or should that be reinacarnation?) of a curry dish, sweet and sour goat meat casserole, condiments include Swahili sauce, and piri piri marinade, piri piri being the pan-African term for chili sauce, and cashew nut cake, date nut bread, and Camorian Black Forest cake for desert.

Zanzibar is a relatively peaceful state in a notoriously unstable continent. Zanzibar hasn’t erupted in violence since January 1964, a month after achieving independence from the United Kingdom as a monarchy, a sultanate to be precise. Within weeks the turbaned sultan was sent packing along with hundreds of thousands of others of South Asian birth, or descent.

A republic was created which lasted little longer than the newly independent sultanate, before it voted for union with the adjacent mainland fellow British Commonwealth nation of Tanganyika, forming the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was itself reinvented within weeks once again as the United Republic of Tanzania, forming its newest name by combing parts of the names of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with Azania, an ancient name for Eastern Africa.

Zanzibar is a 99% Muslim state, much more lopsidedly leaning one way than Tanzania as a whole, which is roughly equal parts Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), Muslim and followers of indigenous beliefs creating a more tolerant society. So don’t expect gay pride events, LGBT discos, or nude beaches. Most hotels, and restaurants don’t serve alcohol.

Male same gender sex is outlawed in both the mainland, and Zanzibar. Female same gender sex is prohibited only in Zanzibar, but I would hardly describe the mainland as a Lesbian haven of peace!

There are unofficial gay and lesbian events, or nights at clubs and bars that on most days are heterosexual. But you obviously shouldn’t attempt, or expect sexual contact with a Tanzanian. Simply keep it zipped and content yourself to enjoy the natural beauty, the ancient culture, the unique blended cuisine, swimming with the dolphins, choice diving opportunities, the sea and sand, shopping and a delightful climate.

You can travel between the former national capital of Dar es Salaam on mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar and Pemba by modern ferry, or charter flights. International flights land in Dar es Salaam, “Haven of Peace,” in Swahili. There are no direct flights from the United States to Tanzania, but you can easily connect via London.

Air Tanzania service joins Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Mwzanza, the second largest city in Tanzania, located on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Tanzania near Serengeti, Moroni, capital of the Comoros Islands an independent country southeast of the Mafia Archipelago, Dodoma, new capital of Tanzania in the center of the mainland, and Arusha, in northern Tanzania, capital of the East Africa Union.

Alternate Travel Agency of South Africa sponsors a recurring Rainbow Beach Party at the super deluxe Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski Resort on the northeast coast of Zanzibar. The package includes roundtrip air transportation from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Stone Town, Zanzibar, and all ground transfers to the resort on the opposite coast of the island.

Alternate Travel also offers gay and Lesbian Rainbow sea cruises from Durban, South Africa up the coast of East Africa to Portuguese Island, Mozambique, and several other Indian Ocean destinations including Zanzibar.

The author, Ernie Alderete is a Los Angeles-based adventure travel writer. His work has appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, the Gay & Lesbian Times, Update Newspaper, Frontiers and Adelante Magazine, among many other LGBT publications across North America. His travels have taken him from the saline depths of the Dead Sea to the frosted heights of the Andes, from the steaming heart of the Amazon to the spectacular wide-open natural grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef. Your comments are always welcome: