A recent addition to the Provincetown scene is sunset music at the beach on Wednesday nights with food provided by Far Land Provisions. You’ve got to do this at least once! Herring Cove beach is a spectacular spot for sunset. Far Land now offers nightly dinner, beer and wine for a relaxing dinner by the beach. It’s a great escape from the crowds of downtown. After 5pm, parking at Herring Cove is free – but remember – Far Land on the Beach is cash only. It’s a really inexpensive magical way to watch a Provincetown sunset.
Dan and his partner Bob own The Somerset House Inn, a wonderful B&B in the perfect Provincetown location. It’s on Commercial Street across the street from the water. The Somerset House Inn still has some limited availability in August, we’d love to have you stay with us. We have a five night and a seven night stay available for Carnival and a couple of rooms for Labor Day weekend. Due to other bookings we sometimes have some great shorter stays. A two night stay on Friday and Saturday night is available August 7th and 8th in guestroom 1. Another two night weekend stay is available August 14th and 15th in guestroom 2. Check out the availability calendar on our web site.
Rob is a college professor and inclusion training facilitator. Beyond academic publications and articles, Saldarini’s fiction work includes the novel, For the Least of My Brothers, “Leader of the Pack” within the Queer Wolf anthology, and “The Truth That We’ll Miss” published in Mob Men on the Make.
As with iPhone versions, many Americans are ‘chomping at the bit’ to be the first in line to visit Cuba. And like iPhones, those who get the devices first, deal with initial roll-out problems as an intrinsic cost of their bragging rights. Relative to rights, the LGBT community remains marginalized in Cuba due to its male machismo culture writing the law. Through the 1960s and ‘70s homosexuality was met with brutal treatment and a possibility of being sent to the labor camps. In 2007, Mariela Castro (daughter of President Raul Castro) began pressing for civil rights. Tensions eased over the last eight-years with a landmark move of Cuba voting in favor of UN resolutions supporting gay rights. Nevertheless, one cannot say that there is an embracing and accepting climate, specifically, outside of the urban areas.
An American traveler cannot simply book a flight to Cuba. The U.S. Government has strict regulations regarding allowable travel between the two nations. As requirements are under revision, check the Department of State’s Website concerning travel law and visas. Still, Cuba is not really a summer destination. In Cuba, July and August offer incredible heat and generally poor weather. The Island is in the hurricane track and can experience heavy downpours during this rainy season. Therefore, August through October has the highest potential of giving you nothing but a ‘bar tan’ for your money.
Speaking of money, although there are new regulations that allow Americans to pay by credit cards, the banking industry has not yet implemented financial relationships with Cuba. Also, there are no American bank branches on the Island, there are few ATMs, and many businesses do not have the facilities to process credit card transactions. So, American currency and credit cards become problematic during your stay. Therefore, I recommend that you convert dollars to Euros or Pounds before you travel. Unfortunately, using this strategy means double-conversion fees may apply. Yet, at the moment, the 10% penalty fee for converting U.S. dollars to Cuban currency is still in effect. The Cuban convertible peso (CUC) is a closed currency, i.e., can only be purchased within the Country. You may do conversions at the airport’s Cadeca, at a bank, or wait until you arrive at your hotel. A bank offers the best rate-of-return; however, all establishments examine the currency meticulously accepting only clean, crisp and unwritten upon notes. Also, an original passport is necessary when exchanging money. Cuba has a second currency for its people that is known as the Cuban Peso (CUP); one that is not convertible and most tourists do not have access to CUPs. This currency is used by Cubans to pay for items such as their rations or utilities. U.S. law allows you to return with up to $400 in goods that includes a $100 maximum on Cuban cigars; but, don’t expect many cigars with that cap on spending.
An average vacation in Cuba should cost you about $100 per day. Remember, that Cuba is an image of its glory-days and hot Havana nights. With the fall of the USSR, Soviet subsidies of $4 to $5 billion ended. Today, this communist state offers a lot of poverty and there are few five-star hotels or formal restaurants. Your best bet is to stay in a B&B. The B&Bs only take cash payments and are difficult to book because our international friends have been staying at these places for years. There are a few gay owned B&Bs on the Island, e.g., La Casa de Carlos & Julio (East Street 609, Havana) and La Villa Sonada (Calle Santa Teresa, Esquina). Concerning dining, one of the superior restaurants, Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso (Vinales), which is a wonderful place to dine after a day exploring the Valle de Vinales, has few chairs that match and serves on whatever plate the chef can find.
If history and old-world atmosphere is your preference, you can find both in Cuba. Many fear that once America gains foothold, the Island may look like Miami’s twin with mega hotels and chain restaurants. I suggest you place Cuba three-to-five years out on an April travel itinerary; let the travel kinks get worked out and go before the State becomes a little Miami. Should you desire to vacation in Cuba sooner, I recommend you consider a licensed cruise line package.
If you have any comments, suggestions or recommendations, please feel free to email me at RSnj@aol.com.
Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has done an outstanding job attracting the family to the destination, Huge all-inclusive resorts with large pools, family friendly activities, family beaches, and kid’s clubs abound. But, what about the LGBT family? This is a relatively new niche in LGBT tourism that presents a great opportunity for Puerto Vallarta. Olivia Travel and R Family Vacations, two of the largest players in LGBT travel, recently announced a partnership to produce an LGBT family vacation at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Puerto Vallarta has everything to attract the LGBT family. Let’s see what and why!
LGBT parents state they are more interested in choosing a family friendly vacation destination than an LGBT friendly destination. Puerto Vallarta is a very family friendly destination. Large, all-inclusive resorts exist throughout the city. Large gay friendly chains like Costa Sur, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt are reaching out to the LGBT market, and eventually to the LGBT family. Gay properties in the romantic zone like Hacienda Escondida attract the LGBT Family also.
LGBT parents are looking for destinations that are safe and have laws that do not discriminate. Overall, Mexico is considered a very safe travel destination and the country supports LGBT rights. The Mexican Supreme court has taken some very strong stances supporting the LGBT community. On August 18, 2014 The Mexican Supreme Court (SCJ) issued a landmark protocol to guarantee the rights of the LGBT community and their access to justice in Mexico. The”Protocolo de Actuación” released by Chief Justice Ministro Presidente Juan N Silva Meza is a guide for judges and all those who administer justice in cases involving sexual orientation or gender identity. See http://bit.ly/gaypv079. This is a very important when LGBT are planning their destinations for living and touring. In 2014, Mexico was the 4th most popular international destination visited by LGBT from the US, with Puerto Vallarta the #1 specific destination.
Targeting an LGBT traveler only by his or her sexuality is not enough. Just like the heterosexual market, many factors determine LGBT travel interests including age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, personal taste, and now children. Some LGBT crave adventure; others travel for Vallarta Pride 2016. Some are seeking a quiet relaxing vacation on the beach. Puerto Vallarta has it all. Adventure: our destination has the most number of LGBT art and culture activities in all of Mexico! Vallarta Adventures, Art Walk and Restaurant Week! The Gay Friendly Beach: in front of Mantamar Beach Club and Blue Chairs. See for yourself how Beyond Gay Friendly Puerto Vallarta can be!
Images are Rafael, Jeremy and Rafael Jeremiah (RJ) Encarnacion-Morrison frequent visitors to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Used with permission.
Calling all Northeastern thrill-seekers: the Poconos region is adding two more gargantuan destination resorts to its roster this summer. Newcomers Camelback Resort and Kalahari Resort both boast massive indoor waterparks that push the boundaries of wet-and-wild fun — joining the Poconos’ two existing indoor waterpark resorts that have been serving up excitement come rain or shine for years. The next time you’re looking for massive slides and epic wave pools, these are your options:
Aquatopia at Camelback Resort (Mt. Pocono)
Opened in early May, Aquatopia is the crown jewel of the Camelback’s new hotel and spa complex. Follow the adventures of fictional character Kartrite Van Der Berris on his world adventures, as you meander through 13 slides in the 125,000-square-foot park. One of its claims to fame is the Venus SlydeTrap, which relies on state-of-the-art technology to send the brave swerving and plummeting into the mouth of a mega Venus flytrap. And don’t miss the Storm Chaser, North America’s longest indoor uphill water coaster.
Kalahari Resort (Pocono Manor)
Set to be unveiled on July 1, Kalahari’s Poconos outpost is the brand’s third location (just after Sandusky and Wisconsin Dells) and brings the brand’s trademark safari motif to Pennsylvania. Upon opening, the indoor facility will measure in at an impressive 100,000 square feet — and a second phase that’s just begun will eventually double the size. For now, kick back on an inner tube and float down the lazy river, put your skills to the test on the FlowRider surf simulator, or crash against the waves in the wave pool.
It’s not often that we have time to stop and think about the life we are living. Nor do we sit down and think about our current blessings and future legacy. But travel can make us do all of this and more. Travel can open our eyes and help us find beauty in the NOW.
On a recent trip to Kauai, I met a woman named Puna Kalama Dawson, Hawaiian Cultural Guide to Wellness at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. She reminded me of a few very important things:
How important it is to take the time to appreciate what is directly in front of me
To be kind to others but also myself And most importantly, to live in the moment – not to count the tomorrows – for they may not come.
The word “Aloha” means a shared space, a special moment. As I was greeted with this word during the rest of my stay in Kauai, I remembered and breathed in her words. It wasn’t hard – after all, I was in Hawaii.
In addition to our regular travel articles, we’re starting a regular travel round-up, for those stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. Enjoy!
GENERAL: How to Find a Great Hotel in a City You’ve Never Visited (Go Girlfriend) If you only had 48 hours to explore Rome, what would you do? From the Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, Vatican, grand churches, museums, ancient history galore – there’s so much to see in Rome. Where do you stay? What do you focus on? full story
BRAZIL: Carnival in Rio: Plan 2016 now (Windy City Times) When you picture Rio de Janeiro, do you think of sexy people partying? You’d be right. Brazil’s Carnival is known worldwide as the “world’s biggest festival”—full of culture, dance, food, samba, parades and music. Tourism officials estimated that almost 1 million tourists joined local revelers at this year’s at Rio de Janeiro’s 2015 Carnival. It’s best to plan early. full story
LAOS: A Gay Laotian Man Talks About Life in Luang Prabang, Laos (Towleroad) Laos has a mixed attitude toward gay people. It appears to be another Asian country struggling hard to accept and protect its LGBT population. There are no anti discrimination laws in place and marriage equality is nowhere near being implemented. full story
USA, CALIFORNIA: Celebrate LA Pride and Stay Awhile In WeHo (Towleroad) Every year, nearly 400,000 people come to West Hollywood for LA PRIDE and take in the city’s epic three day celebration of the LGBT community. The first permitted Pride Parade in the world, LA PRIDE marks its 45th anniversary in 2015 as the PRIDE comes to Weho June 12-14. full story
USA, FLORIDA: Disney Gay Days to Add a Dash or Rainbow to the Most Magical Place on Earth (Passport) Dress up as your favorite childhood character or just enjoy the show and activities at Disney Gay Days where anyone can be a princess. Happening June 3-9, this weeklong extravaganza features many events, so you can pick and choose your favorites. With options like the Main Lagoon Pool Parties that happen day and night at the Doubletree SeaWorld, great packages for special days at all Disney parks, and the Taste of Gay Days wine, beer, and spirits tasting, you’ll have a hard time choosing. full story
USA, NEW JERSEY: Assemblyman Introduces Bill to Ban State-Sponsored Travel to States with ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws (Bergen Dispatch) Assemblyman Tim Eustace has introduced legislation to prohibit the state from using taxpayer dollars to fund travel to states with laws that permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. full story
Hey all… I planned to keep up the blogging thing while we moved from El Dorado Hills to California, but I was overwhelmed by the move. We’re in the new place and picking up the pieces on the other side, so we’ll be posting again on a regular basis. Sorry for the lapse!
Many, including The MEWS, Fanizzi’s, Napi’s, Far Land and The Somerset House Inn, are open year-round, but many consider April the official start of the season in Provincetown. Those businesses that aren’t open year-round begin to open in April. Restaurant openings include
• The Lobster Pot on April 10th
• Ross Grill on April 3rd
• Victor’s on April 3rd
• Coffee Pot opens April 3rd (the best Cuban sandwich!)
The Pilgrim Monument and Museum has opened for the season and whale watch tours start on April 11th and we have a new trolley, The Mayflower Trolley in town. When you walk through town you see the Harbor Lounge open and shops like Wildflower, The Penny Patch, Botanica, Utilities and Timscapes open and you can feel spring in the air. It doesn’t matter how long you have lived in or been coming to Provincetown it is a rejuvenating time of the year. Come be a part of it!
April 1 – The Pilgrim Monument and Museum opens for the season. April 11 – Whale watching begins. Check out whalewatch.com for more information. April 17-20 – Patriot’s Day Weekend April 24-May 3 – Appearances Eco Arts Festival April 24-26 – Gays for Patsy Annual Spring Stomp May 14 – Fast ferry service from Boston begins May 14-17 – Single Women’s Weekend May 22-25 – Memorial Day Weekend.
Bob and his partner Dan own The Somerset House Inn, a wonderful B&B in the perfect Provincetown location. It’s on Commercial Street across the street from the water. Good rooms are still available at The Somerset House Inn, we’d love to have you stay with us. The upcoming weekend forecast is sunny with temps in the 50s, come on down! Click here to make your reservations. We also have availability for Memorial Day Weekend, the week of July 4th and very limited availability for Bear Week.