Jasper, Alberta – Small Town for the Queer Visitor

Author: , August 28th, 2015

Jasper, Alberta - Keph Senett

Of the many ways that Jasper, Alberta, is unique, two particulars stand out and shape this small town’s appeal for the queer visitor. First, Jasper is located inside a national park, which means that every one of its approximately 5,000 inhabitants must meet eligible residency guidelines. Whether through work, school or family, the life of every Jasperite is connected to Jasper National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and this plays out in a packed calendar that celebrates the natural diversity of the region, the community and the people. Second, the town mascot — though admittedly, an unintentional icon of gay culture — is a bear.

Located just four hours west of Edmonton by car, the town comprises a small cluster of streets alongside the Athabasca River in the shadow of Marmot Basin. In the winter, daily shuttles make the trip from town to the ski hill, which has recently enjoyed terrain expansions and infrastructure upgrades — developments that only enhance its existing appeal. Marmot’s base elevation of 1,697 metres is the highest of any ski area in North America.

Initiated in 2009, the inaugural Jasper Pride weekend attracted just a few dozen people, but the event has grown steadily to include more of the local population and visitors from farther-flung places.

By Keph Senett – Full Story at Xtra | Alberta Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia – My Latest Restaurant Experiences in Buenos Aires

Author: , August 28th, 2015

Carlos Melia - Buenos Aires

After my week in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to take four days off and head to my native city of Buenos Aires, to visit my family, before heading back to, my new home, New York. One of my favorite activities, as you may know by now, is eating and checking out restaurants of all kinds, and that is what I did. I went to some of my classic ones like the Rodi Bar in Recoleta. I tried a new one in San Telmo and was invited by the Park Hyatt Hotel Buenos Aires, to enjoy their winter Fondue Nights at the Duhau Restaurant. See my comments and photos below.

First stop was Rodi Bar, along with my father. This is a classic of each of my visits to Buenos Aires. It is the typical Buenos Aires dining experience, which some my think it looks very much like a restaurant in Spain, but well, our cultures and costumes are so interconnected that this is very much so. The food is AMAZING, I love the local vibe, see the Portenos and enjoy a nice chilled bottle of San Felipe Torrentes over a nice conversation. Rod Bar is located at the residential neighborhood of Recoleta.

Carlos Melia - Buenos AiresMy next stop was the bohemian neighborhood of San Telmo, very well known by locals and tourists for their flea market and the antique shops. I took a stroll by the local fruit and meat market, which remains as original. And after checking some antique shops – which is one of my huge passions, and visiting briefly my friend and world renown silversmith Marcelo Toledo – by the way you should stop by and see his collection, I went for lunch at CASEROS Restaurant.

It was quite a lovely afternoon, and was nice to be able to seat outside and enjoy a nice lunch. Great local food, featuring a menu with quite some local classics. Small restaurant, very relaxed. Dessert was the best, a flan with dulce de leche and whipped cream yummy. Prices are fair, and service, though a bit slow, was perfectly in sync with the relaxed afternoon outdoors I was looking forward, over a nice glass of Malbec.

As the night came by over the city, I along my brother and father, arrived to the very lovely – and one of my favorite hotels in Buenos Aires – the Park Hyatt Hotel Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Recoleta, along the fancy Alvear Av. I have stayed with them before, and I have tried their restaurant a few times – Duhau Restaurant. But being winter seasons, I was invited to enjoy their new addition to their offer, the Fondue Nights. I haven’t had fondue in quite a while so, I said yes right away.

Carlos Melia - Buenos AiresSince we arrived early – on purpose – we decided to seat at the OAK Room for half an hour to enjoy some drinks. The rooms is quite lovely, quite and very chic, just as I like it. Now I must say that the drinks were not as fantastic, as a matter of fact, they were quite terrible and overpriced. I mean I paid two times the price of what I would paid in New York or Paris. If you follow me you know of my addiction to Dirty Vodka Martinis, I have tried them all over the world “literally” at some of the best and worst places. And to have the barman come to me and try to explain – with an attitude – that this is how a Maritini should be…. it was wrong. Same situation with my father’s drink – a Margarita ( which we sent back twice ) To this I replied, CHECK PLEASE.

We came down to the lower floor to the Duhau Restaurant and had indeed a lovely evening. We went throuhg two different types of Cheese Fondues and one Chocolate one. Of course paired with some local wines. Great time spent with my brother and father, catching up on life. If you like Fondue, you should try it.

So these were my three restaurant experience of my brief visit to Buenos Aires. Of course as I always say, the best food in Buenos Aires is my Mom’s, so I quite enjoyed some of them at the privacy of their home.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | Argentina Gay Travel Resources

Globetrotter Girls – Charming Erfurt, Germany

Author: , August 28th, 2015

Erfurt Germany - Globetrotter Girls

I left Berlin for a quick visit home to my loved ones, and most importantly, to photograph the wedding of one of my oldest friends. Usually I dread visiting Erfurt, the town I grew up in, because if there is such a thing as growing apart from your hometown, then I have certainly experienced it. I doubt that I’d ever go back there if my sister and a few friends were still living there, and usually only spend a few days there to catch up with everyone.

This time it was different though. It had been a while that I’d visited Erfurt during the summer, and having a first-time visitor in town for a couple of days also helped me seeing my oh-so-boring town in a new light.

I spent hours wandering the cobble stone streets, marveling at the well-maintained and restored half-timbered houses, the imposing cathedral and the picturesque little squares, lined with coffee shops and restaurants. Al fresco dinners on warm summer evenings, picnics by the river, a wine festival and long runs with my favorite running buddy also helped making me appreciate my town again.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls | Germany Gay Travel Resources

Canterbury Artisan Festival

Author: , August 28th, 2015

Canterbury Artisan Festival!  http://glynnhouse.com/events/! The Canterbury Artisan Fair celebrates GH autumn exterior 411Traditional Arts with an Artisan Craft Fair & Farmers’ Market, music, artisan food, farm animals and demonstrations. A juried Craft Fair including artisans in fabric, hand knits and wolvens, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, painting, toys, and more! A traditional Arts demonstrations include coopering, blacksmithing, basketry, pottery, wood carving, historic building restoration, and herbal presentations including do-it-yourself teas. Finally agricultural demonstrations will include farm animals, permaculture, heirloom breeds, and seed saving. Tickets $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-17, children under 5 free.  Members are free. Learn about and purchase Shaker crafts at the Canterbury Shaker Village September 12.

The romantic Glynn House Inn – situated in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Lakes Region – offers guests and exceptional experience. A full gluten free breakfast menu is always available. Bring your four-footed canine pal on holiday too. Reserve one of five pet friendly rooms. Venture away from the Inn and enjoy antiquing, art galleries, boating, fine dining, fishing, golf, hiking, historic sites, skiing, snowmobiling, ‘tax free’ shopping and scenic drives along tranquil country roads. Visit the Glynn House website http://www.glynnhouse.com for additional information about the Inn and local activities.

Churchill

Author: , August 27th, 2015

Churchill! Churchill http://glynnhouse.com/events/ is a play about Sir Winston Churchill. The show is a special Glynn House Evening-cevent to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II It is April 1955. Churchill agonizes in his wartime bunker below London whether to resign as Prime Minister. As he tries to decide he reviews his uniquely eventful career, filled with history-changing events and people, glorious speeches, pithy comments, funny stories, and all the wit and wisdom that has made Churchill beyond greatness into an imperishable legend. Enjoy an unforgettable evening at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse September 9 – 12.

The romantic Glynn House Inn – situated in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Lakes Region – offers guests and exceptional experience. A full gluten free breakfast menu is always available. Bring your four-footed canine pal on holiday too. Reserve one of five pet friendly rooms. Venture away from the Inn and enjoy antiquing, art galleries, boating, fine dining, fishing, golf, hiking, historic sites, skiing, snowmobiling, ‘tax free’ shopping and scenic drives along tranquil country roads. Visit the Glynn House website http://www.glynnhouse.com for additional information about the Inn and local activities.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

Author: , August 27th, 2015

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story! http://glynnhouse.com/events/ Learn the true story behind the young, Glynn House Evening-cbespectacled kid from Texas that changed rock and roll forever. BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY takes you on the tumultuous journey of fame, love, and tragedy as Buddy Holly and the Crickets rack up hit singles like “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” all the while fighting for financial security and musical independence. Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical for the London production, this original juke box musical brings the golden age of rock and roll back to life. The music may have died on February 3, 1959, but you can relive its glory days with BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY in 2016. Experience this legendary musical at the Palace Theatre September 11 – 13.

Book your Palace Theatre accommodation at the historic Glynn House Inn. Guests enjoy gracious surroundings, delicious food, uncompromising service and genuine hospitality. A multi-course gourmet breakfast is served at separate tables in the Victorian dining room. A full gluten free breakfast menu is always available. Afternoon refreshments and early evening wine and cheese are offered daily. Bring your favorite four-footed canine pal. Reserve one of five pet friendly rooms. Pamper yourself and book an in-room massage – available in most guest rooms.

Are you looking for other fall activities during your visit to New Hampshire’s spectacular White Mountains and Lakes Regions? Venture away from the Inn and enjoy art galleries, boating, fine dining, fishing, golf, hiking, historic sites, tax free shopping or simply experience the delightful New Hampshire countryside. Inn guests enjoy savings on many local activity fees. View the Glynn House website http://www.glynnhouse.com for additional information about the Inn, special offers  and local activities.

Purple Roofs LGBT Travel Round-Up – August 27th

Author: , August 27th, 2015

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!

AUSTRALIA:
Australia’s Throwing a Drag Festival Inspired by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Gay Star News)
A drag extravaganza named Broken Heel Festival is taking place in Australia next month, from 11-13 September.
full story

Broken Heel Festival

BRAZIL:
Morning Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Guaratiba (Carlos Melia Blog)
One of the many experiences I’ve curated, during my recent trip to Rio de Janeiro, for my VIP clients coming next year for the 2016 Summer Olympics, is the Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
full story

Carlos Melia

CAMBODIA:
Is this the World’s Most Beautiful Open-Air Museum? (Keep Calm and Wander)
The National Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia might be the world’s most beautiful open-air museum where treasures of old Khmer civilization are displayed without the boring traps of most modern museum you’ve been in the past.
full story

Alain - Cambodia

CANADA:
5 Day Trips from Vancouver Worth Tripping For (Shermans Travel)
We love the cosmopolitan excursions in Vancouver as much as the next traveler, but we’re also huge fans of the fact that it’s a great gateway to surrounding outdoorsy adventures. After all, the city is flanked by mountains, forests, and the Pacific coast. Best of all, plenty of these escapes are accessible as day trips.
full story

Tourism Vancouver

Tourism Vancouver

CHINA:
The Largest Glazed Nine Dragon Screen in China (Keep Calm and Wander)
The largest glazed Nine Dragon Screen in China is found in Datong. It is the oldest one in China. It’s one of the four screens that are found in the country. Two are in Beijing (Beihai Park and Forbidden City) and one in Pingyao.
full story

Alain - China

ITALY:
Venice Mayor Refuses Permit for Gay Pride Parade (Passport)
Venice is enjoying a boom in gay tourism, thanks to the many cruise ships that dock in its iconic canals and its numerous cultural offerings, but Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, a business man who won the election on a center-right platform, draws the line at a gay pride parade.
full story

MALAYSIA:
Five Malaysian Recipes (Nomadic Boys)
Recipes for Otak Otak Fish Cakes, Sweet Pandan Pancakes, Chicken Rendang, Malaysian Curry, and Beef Rendang.

Nomadic Boys

USA, CALIFORNIA:
New Promotional Clip From Folsom Street Fair (Joe.My.God)
Last week organizers of the Folsom Street Fair won praise for their Fosse-inspired promotional clip. Today they released a less-raunchy but equally bizarre follow-up.
full story

USA, MASSACHUSETTS:
Video – At Provincetown’s Carnival Week (Joe.My.God)
“Candy Land” was this year’s theme at Provincetown’s Carnival Week and JMG reader Rob sends us his photo montage of the gay gay gay festivities. Seen above are the famed Hat Sisters riding in the parade as Life Savers.
full story

USA, NEW YORK:
20 Photos: New York Skyline from One World Tower Observatory (Keep Calm and Wander)
You know how I love heights, skylines and cityscapes from above. In every cities I’ve been to, I always make sure that going up there is one of the things I wouldn’t miss to do.
full story

New York - Alain

Shine at Pride in Burlington, Vermont’s Queen City

Author: , August 27th, 2015

Burlington PrideVermont has long held a special place in the hearts of the LGBT community as the first state to grant legal recognition of same-sex marriage following the 1999 Supreme Court decision. And as the largest city in Vermont, lakefront Burlington is the state’s “crown jewel,” hence her moniker, “Queen City.”

PRIDE Vermont, Northern New England’s premiere LGBT PRIDE celebration will be held Sept. 6-13 in Burlington. This year’s theme, “SHINE,” celebrates the personal and collective triumphs of the LGBT community. The week-long, family-friendly event includes a high heel race, transgender events, a food and travel expo, and a special appearance by the girl group The Glamz. (More information at www.PRIDEVermont.com, or by calling the PRIDE Center of VT, 802-860-7812.)

Highlights, Heels, and Drag On ‘Til You Boogie

Sunday, Sept. 6

2 p.m. on Church Street: The pedestrian-only Church Street Marketplace welcomes over 1 million visitors per year, and heels will meet paving stones here for the annual High Heel Race emceed by perennial favorites, the House of LeMay. (*If you happen to be in town the day before, visit the Farmers Market in City Hall Park, adjacent to Church Street; it’s awash in delectable everything from ethnic foods to maple-tinged gin.)

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Burlington Pride7 p.m., Burlington City Hall auditorium: Noted author and activist Julia Serano will be the keynote speaker on “Making Transgender Activism More Inclusive.” She’ll be joined by a young speaker from Outright Vermont and a question and answer session will follow. (Admission is free; $5-10 donation suggested.)

Thursday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.: Interfaith Service, First Congregational Church of Essex Junction. LGBT people and allies from all faith traditions, or none, are invited. (For more information: call the church, 802-878-5745, or email Rev. Stannard Baker, sbaker@stpaulcathedralvt.org.

Saturday, Sept. 12

Burlington Pride1-5 p.m. The Women’s Afternoon Dance at Red Square, Church Street, Burlingon, 18+ only, with DJ Craig Mitchell spinning the best of the 80s and 90s. Indoor and outdoor dancing (weather permitting), free admission, cash bar, food welcome. (For more information, see: www.facebook.com/events/509605345870853/ )

5:30 p.m.: Vermont premiere of the documentary film, “State of Marriage,” the inspirational story of how VT attorneys Beth Robinson and Susan Murray formed Vermont Freedom to Marry, partnered with legal pioneer Mary Bonauto of GLAD, and led a determined group of activists in a two-decade-long struggle for marriage equality in VT, that built the foundation for the national movement. Screening at the lakefront Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. Admission is $25 and includes a reception and panel discussion. Advance tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2061974

Sunday, Sept. 13

12 noon – 5 p.m.: Northern Decadence Food & Travel Expo, Battery Park, Burlington. Produced by the Vermont Gay Tourism Association, this “festival within a festival” showcases LGBT-friendly businesses from throughout VT, and includes food and drink samples, including IPA beers from internationally award-winning The Alchemist Brewery, and a silent auction. Tickets: $5 for adults, children 12 and under free. (Some alcoholic samples may have additional fees.) For more information: www.northerndecadence.com.

12:45 p.m. It gets bigger every year, the PRIDE PARADE, Church Street, Burlington. Follow all the participants, students, families, and early “leaf peepers,” all the way to Battery Park (with a stunning view of Lake Champlain), where the festival continues.

1-5 p.m.: PRIDE Festival, Battery Park, Burlington. Music and entertainment by local performers, the aerial performance group Fierce Circus, curvy girl group from NYC, The Glamz, make-your-own button fun, arts & crafts, “Lawn Gaymes,” reading nook with onsite library, a Gender Fun Test, exhibitors and resource displays.

So, Where Are the Gay Bars?

Surprisingly, The Queen City hasn’t had an exclusively gay bar in many years, but no worries, there are numerous gay-friendly establishments. Among the best:
Oak45, just down the hill from Burlington, on Main Street in Winooski. Sleek, candlelit wine bar with long communal tables, couches, elegant cocktails, and a reputation for cute bartenders. See: oak45.com.

Drink, 135 St. Paul St., Burlington. See: vtdrink.com
Halflounge Speakeasy, tiny and intimate, adjacent to its big sister, the popular Red Square, Church St., Burlington. See: redsquarevt.com.
Three Needs Brewery & Taproom, Pearl Street, Burlington. Check them out on Facebook.
Zen Lounge, Church Street, Burlington. See: zenloungevt.com.

What Do I Do if I’m Bored?

That’s not likely to happen in Burlington. From its music venues, to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, to ECHO Aquarium & Science Center, cruises on Lake Champlain, Shelburne Museum & Farms, there’s something going on around every corner. Our local, gay-founded, independent weekly Seven Days covers the entire scene with a thorough calendar of events:
http://tinyurl.com/pukcp9t

Welcome to “Foodie Paradise”

One of the many reasons Burlington is ranked on numerous Top Ten lists of America’s best small cities is the plethora of eats, and it is truly farm-to-table heaven. You’ll find the top-rated restaurants here: http://tinyurl.com/pkzcbwx

Now, for some insider tips: If you can’t book a table at #1 restaurant “Hen of the Wood” (named for a wild mushroom and located inside Hotel Vermont), sit at the bar, watch food being prepared, and order from their outstanding appetizers and craft cocktails. For imaginative vegetarian that impresses even carnivores, try “Revolution Kitchen.” And if you’re suffering late-night munchies, visit Kountry Kart Deli on Main Street, open until 3 a.m.

Dog-Darn It, I Can’t Find a Place to Stay!

Many of us can’t bear to travel without our “fur baby.” Burlington has major chain hotels, a few accept dogs, but if you’re looking for a Bed & Breakfast experience with your pooch, only one B&B in Burlington welcomes dogs, the totally eclectic, LGBT-friendly Made INN Vermont (www.madeinnvermont.com). Owner/designer Linda Wolf took a small mansion in the historic Hill District, restored and retro-fitted it into an urban chic work of art with just four guestrooms.

Whether you’re coming to Burlington for PRIDE week, or for Vermont’s spectacular fall foliage season, all lodgings in the Lake Champlain region fill-up quickly, so it’s important to book early.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica

Author: , August 27th, 2015

Hotel Banana Azul

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

If you’re looking to experience more culture and nature on your Costa Rican vacation then beachfront Hotel Banana Azul in Puerto Viejo might be just what you’re looking for. Your host Colin Brownlee (from Vancouver, Canada) welcomes you to a hotel built out of local hardwoods that has 14 beautiful guest rooms, all with private bath and free wireless internet to accommodate adventurous travelers looking for a comfortable, tranquil place to stay while visiting the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.

See the Hotel Banana Azul Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Costa Rica

Carlos Melia – Two Days in Hangzhou and the Beautiful West Lake District

Author: , August 24th, 2015

Carlos Melia

Our short visit to Hangzhou, also known as the West Lake, was rather short but marvelous. We came from Shanghai ( over an hour ride by speed train ). One of eastern China’s natural jewels, the 650-hectare (1,600-acre) lake is surrounded by a lush green shoreline, with views of majestic mountains, ancient temples, traditional pagodas and graceful bridges.

Our visit consisted on a lovely private tour of the West Lake Park + Visit to the Lingyin Temple – biggest Buddhist temple in China + Panoramic walk and views from atop the Peak Mountain – highest mountain in Hangzhou – and visit to the Lingshun Temple + Lunch and site inspection of the lovely Amanfayun by Aman Resorts + Some shopping at the main commercial center + A fantastic stay at my favorite Four Seasons property in China, the Fours Seasons West Lake.

First stop was, over a private tour, at the gorgeous West Lake. It is like visiting the world’s largest traditional Chinese garden, with ancient temples, pagodas and delicate bridges. Hangzhou and particularly the West Lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site, are considered one of China’s most famous and beautiful destinations. West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout Chinese history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has also been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers in China, Japan and Korea.

We came to visit the Fayun Village, invited by the Amanfayun Resort by Aman Resort – following our previous experience at the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing – where we spent half day touring around the many highlights, like the Lingyin Temple – biggest Buddhist temple in China. Panoramic walk – pretty long and steep by the way, atop the Peak Mountain – highest mountain in Hangzhou – and visit to the Lingshun Temple.

Carlos MeliaLiterally translated as Temple of the Soul’s Retreat, Lingyin Temple, located next to the Amanfayun Resort, is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China, and contains numerous pagodas and Budddhist grottoes.

Our panoramic walk, atop the Peak Mountain – Feilai Feng. Of course once on top, we realized we could have taken in full comfort, one of their cable cars… ha ha ha… but honestly our option was much more enjoyable.

Next stop was lunch at the Steam House Restaurant at the lovely Amanfayun resort. Nestled in a valley near West Lake on the west fringes of Hangzhou, Amanfayun is surrounded by ancient temples, bamboo forests and terraced tea fields, a world away from urban life. Discoveries await throughout the peaceful resort as well as the region beyond, whether it is a morning prayer session with Buddhist monks, a soothing nature walk or a visit to a neighbouring tea plantation. We tried some local small dishes and a fantastic steam fish dish. After that we followed the General Manager of the property on a full site inspection of the resort.

Carlos MeliaNext and last stop, before heading to our hotel for the night, was a walk along the main Chinese Market of the West Lake District. Lots of local shops, medicine houses, tea stores among many others. Was quite interesting to mingle with the locals, although I would have expect this to be more driven to tourists. Here we found our own Pixiu which we brought back to the United States with us. Pixiu is a Chinese mythical hybrid creature considered to be a very powerful protector to practitioners of Feng Shui. It resembles a mix of a dragon and a lion.

Final stop for the rest of our stay in the West Lake District, was the beautiful, peaceful and relaxing Four Seasons Hangzhou. A tranquil enclave woven with ponds, streams, swans and lagoons. Once we got to the resort, we never left till our time to head back to the train station, to head back to Shanghai. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner was outdoors at the many restaurants around the property. Infinity pond overlooking the West Lake. Imperial style indoor pool.

Off we went back to Hangzhou Railway Station, to take our train back to Shanghai, to continue our journey in China. And now that I am back, after visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, I must say that the West Lake, together with the Summer Palace in Beijing, both rank top on my choice to return.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources