You Can Vacation in the Land of Oz

Author: , July 21st, 2014

Land of Oz - Photography by Brett & JessicaIn 1970, a Wizard of Oz theme park called The Land of Oz opened its doors to the public in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. In 1980, it closed. Good run, guys.

And since it closed 34 years ago, the park hasn’t really been altered much. Which means that the abandoned park scores wonderfully high on the creepy meter.

And to make it even more eerie, the original designers were told not to watch the iconic film and instead base everything off the book. So all the elements are familiar — you can walk down the yellow brick road to Emerald City, visit the scarecrow and the tin man, and escape the Wicked Witch of the West, but everything looks slightly “off” from how you’d expect.

By Dan Tracer – Full Story at Queerty | North Carolina Gay Travel Resources

Photography by Brett & Jessica

Visiting Portland, Oregon on a Budget

Author: , July 20th, 2014

Portland, Oregon Skyline

Looking to plan your next vacation but don’t want to spend a fortune? For an enriching getaway that doesn’t break the bank, Portland’s utopia of sustainability, cycling, good eats, and natural beauty has you covered.

Getting Around

Renting a car or taking taxis is unnecessary in Portland, thanks to the excellent public transportation system and bike infrastructure. As far as public transit goes, widely used is the TriMet light rail, which encompasses four lines and 84 stations — connecting commuters to attractions like Washington Park, Lloyd Center, Oregon Convention Center, and the Portland Expo Center. Tickets are $2.50 for a 2-hour ticket, $5 for a day pass, or $25 for 10 tickets. Other options include TriMet bus service, street cars, and commuter rail.

Cycling is also a great option for getting around Portland, considering the city’s 319 miles of bikeways, 15 intersections with bicycle-specific traffic signals, and 5,000 bike racks. If you’re not bringing your own wheels, Cycle Portland Bike Tours offers rentals starting at $5 per day, $20 per day, or $80 per week.

By Jessica Festa – Full Story at Shermans Travel | Portland, Oregon Gay Travel Resources

July in Provincetown

Author: , July 6th, 2014

RENTJuly in Provincetown

School’s out for summer ! Summer is here and it’s hopping in Provincetown. Last night we had the fireworks in town, delayed one night by Arthur. Arthur was pretty mild for Provincetown, but we did get a lot of rain.

Joan Rivers did two shows on July 5th at town hall, one of them while the fireworks were blasting over the bay. It’s a big summer for entertainment with the following acts all visiting Provincetown:

  • Kate Clinton, Miss Richfield and Dina Martina all summer at the Crown and Anchor
  • Varla Jean Merman and Well Strung all summer at the Ptown Art House
  • ‘Snow White and the Seven Bottoms’ all summer at the Provincetown Theater
  • ‘Rent’ all summer at the Provincetown Theater (Mon, Tue & Wed)
  • An evening with Armistead Maupin on July 13th & 18that the Crown and Anchor
  • Helen Reddy on July 21st and 22nd at the Crown and Anchor
  • David Sedaris on August 1st at Town Hall
  • Kristen Chenowith on August 10th at the Town Hall

For more information visit:

Dan and his partner Bob own The Somerset House Inn.  We think it’s one of the best locations in Provincetown, right on Commercial Street across from Cape Cod Bay where you are walking distance to everything.  Good rooms are still available at The Somerset House Inn, we’d love to have you stay with us. Click here to make your reservations. We have limited availability for July and great availability for August.

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai

Author: , May 31st, 2014

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai - Adam GroffmanHave you ever had a deja vu while traveling? A moment where you think, I’ve been here! It’s a strange moment — standing in a foreign country, thinking you’ve been here before. Of course, sometimes that’s because, in fact, you have been there before. That was my case when I showed up at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai last month.

I first visited Chiang Mai in 2011 on my one month trip through Thailand. I spent five full days in the city then and came away with a less-than-stellar impression. Despite its relative affordability (an appeal at the time), I just couldn’t find much to enjoy the city. Massages and street food were (and still are) cheaper than in Bangkok, but there’s only so much affordable luxury you can enjoy before you lose that special oomph.

However, of the handful of positive memories I left Chiang Mai with, the cultural standout was a visit to one of the many temples in the Old City. I went on a particularly hot afternoon and remember walking through the Buddhist temples at the time. But it was in the nearby garden where my fondest memories come from. To hide from the sun I sat down at a somewhat shady bench where I was soon joined by a young Buddhist monk.

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 Thailand.

Pensacola for Memorial Day Weekend

Author: , May 11th, 2014

Memorial Weekend PensacolaPensacola’s Memorial Day Weekend is considered the unofficial “start” of the summer circuit party season, and with over 50,000 people converging on the northern Gulf coast each year for the fun beach parties and revelry, the weekend definitely starts the season off right!

The weekend started in the 1970s when locals invited their friends from Atlanta and South Florida to come to town for the weekend. They were so impressed with Pensacola that word spread, and by the 1980s gay businesses were actively courting gay tourists and their dollars. In the 1990s, local nightclub owner Johnny Chisholm, partnering with New Orleans-based Ambush Magazine, started organizing large circuit parties both on Pensacola Beach and at the Civic Center in downtown, across from his nightclub Emerald City. The beach parties still go on today.

Here’s a rundown of the main circuit parties going on during Memorial Day Weekend, as well as a guide of the gay bars and clubs in Pensacola.

By Mike Halterman – Edge Boston | Florida Panhandle Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Relearning European History in Wittenburg, Germany

Author: , May 8th, 2014

Wittenberg, Germany - Adam GroffmanOh Berlin… sometimes I just don’t get you. This city has a way with people–often capturing them for far longer than expected (it happened to me), but every now and then I manage a quick escape. Recently I took a day trip to Wittenberg–a small city only 35 minutes away by train. Officially, the city is called Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, named after its most famous former citizen: Martin Luther. You might remember from him history…he pretty much single-handedly spilt the Catholic church and started the Protestant Reformation.

If you don’t remember your history, the Protestant Reformation began in Germany when Martin Luther–then just a small town priest–got fed up with the increasing amount of indulgences in the Catholic church. Luther penned 95 Theses and nailed it up on the Castle Church on October 31, 1517. That rebellious act led to a whole lot of trouble for the church, and for Luther, but it started a spiral reaction eventually changing the course of religion in European history. Luther got into a lot of trouble, briefly having to go into hiding, but in the end he had a pretty decent life.

And Wittenberg is where it all began.

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 Germany.

Planning Your Visit to Cuba

Author: , April 18th, 2014

Cuba FortressFor a minute, let’s remove those Cuban stereotypes – you know, Castro, communism, and Teddy Roosevelt riding through Santiago, Cuba like the mustached maven portrayed in Night at the Museum. For decades, while America upheld its embargo on Cuba, millions of tourists from Canada and western Europe have flocked to the white sandy beaches at Jardines del Ray, or strolled the cobblestone streets in colonial Trinidad.

But things are rapidly changing: already, in the first third of 2014, Cuba’s seen more American tourists than Germans, Brits, and French visitors from all of last year, accounting for the second highest tourism earnings behind Canada. But that doesn’t mean traveling to Cuba from the U.S. is suddenly easy: the U.S. still holds a fifty-year trade embargo on the communist nation, and, without the guise of a foreign passport (or perhaps a fake Canadian accent), navigating those 90 miles south of Florida requires careful planning. Here’s how to do it…

Recent enactments allow Americans more ways to legally travel to Cuba. According to the revamped restrictions, Cuban-Americans can travel back to their home-country as long as they have proof of familial residency. But what if you’re not Cuban-American? Technically speaking, it’s illegal to travel to Cuba for “tourism” purposes, so tourists must travel through a permissible “People-to-People” program, which holds an official license from the U.S. State Department.

Authored By Tommy Burson – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Cuba.

Miami Beach Gay Pride in Review

Author: , April 16th, 2014

Miami Beach Gay Pride - Towleroad.comSome photos in from Miami Beach Gay Pride.

First from Towleroad.com:

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help us celebrate and have their photo taken, and special thanks to Paul Hunter and Ernesto Espejo for helping us man our photo booth (in exchange for an AIDS Lifecycle Ride donation (help him out here). Check out some of our favorite shots.

The Advocate also has some photos:

Miami Beach Gay Pride is an extraordinary two-day event that features a beach party and a festival and parade with more than 125 LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, exciting celebrities, musical performances, refreshments, and a family-friendly play area. With grand marshals Gloria Estefan and choreographer Kenny Ortega, the fun volume nob was turned all the way up.

Joe.My.God has a video for us:

Miami Beach’s sixth annual LGBT Pride parade took place yesterday on South Beach’s Ocean Drive with Grand Marshal Gloria Estefan, who appears at 2:30 in this clip.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Miami Beach.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Miami.

Rest Easy

Author: , April 14th, 2014

We all know those iconic Vermont images like covered bridges, maple syrup and world-class skiing, but what about sophisticated resorts for primping, pampering and eating your way to complete relaxation? I bet that isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, is it? You’ll be happy to know that you can find just what you’re looking for at the fantastic Essex Resort and Spa.

Photo courtesy of Essex Resort and Spa

Snuggled between the Green Mountains and stunning Lake Champlain is Vermont’s only AAA 4 Diamond Culinary Resort. The 18-acre campus has everything you need to unwind, relax, enjoy nature and indulge in delectable cuisine, no matter what time of the year.

My partner and I decided to take a little stay-cation to the Resort – a get away in the middle of February to warm up our Winter-weary bones—saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and massage tables—it sounded glorious. With the winter we had in the Northeast, we felt we deserved it!

The Essex Resort is as progressive as the State it resides in. At the main entrance, we were showered with welcome greetings in many different languages. We couldn’t help but notice the rainbow flag and Human Rights Campaign logo proudly displayed, as well. The staff was just as welcoming.

Like many gay and lesbian couples, our dog is like a child to us. Whenever possible, we try to bring him along on trips. With a little extra charge, the Essex Resort had no problem with our canine companion. They even supplied a little welcome gift for him with a travel bowl, a rope toy Frisbee, and house-made dog treats. That was only the tip of the iceberg of the level of service you can expect at the Resort.

Our room was large, with huge windows overlooking a tree that had been wrapped in white lights, bringing a soft glow to our room in the evening. The bed was just right – soft but not too soft – with more pillows than we knew what to do with. Truth be told, it made thoughts of anything but long, luxurious naps difficult… We rallied, though, because there was no way we were going to miss out on everything the resort had to offer.

There is so much to do at the Essex Resort that with our two-day stay we felt we had to concentrate on one aspect of the services offered. While there are cooking classes that sounded fantastic–they offered a Paella class during our stay – we decided that on this particular trip we would concentrate on the indulgence of the incredible in-house spa.

There are tons of choices for treatments at the spa. Just by staying at the resort you have access to the 25-yard indoor pool (with an additional outdoor pool for the warmer months), an oversized outdoor hot tub, sauna, steam room and fitness center. The first night that we got there, we decided to take a swim in the pool. Though it was bone chilling outside, we braved the cold to sample the outdoor hot tub. We lounged comfortably, not even realizing our wet hair was freezing up! Once we were ready to go back inside our warmed bodies couldn’t even feel the frosty air against them.

The Essex Resort has two onsite restaurants. We chose to eat at the Tavern (a traditional pub-style restaurant with a vibrant bar scene), rather than the more sophisticated dining experience of Amuse. Both restaurants are part of the Vermont Fresh Network, so you can expect amazing locally sourced meals. The Tavern was so delicious that we went back for breakfast the next morning. It was just what we needed: low key, great food and wonderful service.

The next morning, before breakfast, we got up early to walk our dog and enjoy the crystal blue skies and white landscape that makes February so special. We couldn’t wait for 10:30am to arrive, so we could begin our spa treatments. I chose an 80-minute massage that began with a steam, a sauna, and a shower (with a rain shower head – my new obsession, by the way). An indulgence, indeed… but austerity has never been my cup of tea… Comfortable with a copy of US Magazine and a cozy terry cloth robe, I had a short wait in front of a roaring fire before my massage therapist brought me upstairs for the treatment. It was a delightful experience; we chatted just enough, she used just the right amount of pressure, and the requisite world music was sufficient to wash away my cares.

My partner, coming off of months of his busy work season, decided to really splurge with a package deal. His choice was the two-hour Pure Relaxation: a 30-minute deep soak; a 30-minute muscle melt, consisting of a warm body wrap to relieve sore, tired muscles and joints with a healing blend of herbs, mints, and grains mixed with aloe vera and a stimulating application of Sport Massage Cream. It was finished off with a 60-minute aromatherapy massage.

As I was finishing my massage and being escorted to the lounge, my massage therapist pointed out the aroma in the hallway: “Can you smell that?” she said. It was an invigorating perfume of eucalyptus and other products. “That’s your partner’s muscle melt.” If I hadn’t been completely relaxed from my wonderful massage, I probably would have felt some envy. As it was, I was too blissed out to be anything but happy that he was getting his much needed pampering.

I relaxed in the lounge for a few minutes until he was done with his spa treatments. Then, we were served a delicious, light lunch, which we’d ordered earlier. It was the perfect ending to our spa day.

After a lazy stroll with the dog on the bike path across from the resort, we decided that we need a little retail therapy. Not even a half-mile down the road from the resort is the Essex Outlets. While it may not have the largest assortment of stores, it has some great ones like Polo Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, and Orvis. We spent our hard-earned money in a few stores and thought about a movie at the adjacent Essex Cinemas, with stadium seating and the largest screen in Vermont. Instead, we decided to go back to our room for that much needed afternoon nap… in our king sized, insanely pillowed bed. Pure heaven.

By the time we were ready to check out, all three of us were perfectly relaxed, thoroughly warmed and comfortably satiated. The Essex Resort provided a charming experience. While far from inexpensive, it was certainly worth it. Vermont truly offers so much more than what you may imagine.

Blossoms in the Hood River Valley, Oregon

Author: , April 6th, 2014

09may23-2-300x225We get this question a lot in the spring.  Because who wouldn’t want to celebrate spring in one of the largest fruit growing regions in our Nation?  Over 15,000 acres of fruit trees, that’s over 2 million trees, putting on a show over a three or four week span with Mt Hood dressed in its spring best as a backdrop.

You see, the Hood River Valley is about 20 miles long, spanning from majestic Mt Hood and the Upper Hood River Valley where Parkdale and the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast is located, north to the town of Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge. The three tiered Hood River Valley rises from 90 feet above sea level in Hood River to over 2500′ in the Upper Hood River valley, so we can have upwards of a three, sometimes 4 week span of bloom, Hood River Blooming first and those in the Upper Valley later.

So to answer your question:  When planning your spring visit to the Old Parkdale Inn I advise our guests to visit around the first of May when the Inn, which sits at an elevation of 1750′, is surrounded by acres and acres of awesomeness.   You’ll find answers to your questions on our AskOPI FAQ page on Facebook.

Our Sensual Spring Mid Week Special runs through May and we still have rooms available for Blossom Fest, a three week celebration in the Hood River Valley.  Family fruit stands reopen.  Wineries feature new wines.  First annual Hard Pressed Cider Fest and of course the main event: Blossoms

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.