Purple Roofs December 2011 Gay Travel Newsletter

Author: , December 5th, 2011

Welcome to the Purple Roofs Newsletter for December, 2011 – our last newsletter of the year!

We’ve got lots of great stuff for you this month – from featured articles on Springfield, Illinois; Wheeler, Oregon; Porto, Portugal; and San Francisco to other gay travel articles from around the world!

You’ll also find some great accommodation specials and discounts, tons of upcoming gay travel events, and much more.

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Our Featured Articles This Month:

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Springfield, Illinois, Home of President Abraham Lincoln
by Don and Ray, Gay Travelers

Springfield is the Capital of the State of Illinois and also the resting place of our 16th President. It is located 100 miles North of St. Louis on Interstate 55. The Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library opened in downtown Springfield 6 years ago to huge crowds everyday. On weekends, tourists come from all over to visit and on weekdays, school children are bussed in so it is busy all the time. The Museum is in one building and the Library is directly across the street. We have visited several Presidential Museums and this is the finest one. While downtown, visit Lincoln’s Springfield home as well as the old State House. Springfield is full of history and among the many things to see are the Vachel Lindsay Home which is the 1879 birthplace of the native Springfield poet/artist.

Wheeler: The Gem of the North Oregon Coast
by Raine, Old Wheeler Hotel

Situated in the protective shelter of Nehalem Bay, with the stunning backdrop of Neahkahnie Mountain, Wheeler is the gem of the North Oregon Coast. It has been referred to as ‘the town with the million dollar view’, and many would agree. The Natives called it ‘hole in the sky’ because it tends to have better weather than surrounding areas A prime location for outdoor enthusiasts, this area offers world class bay and river kayaking. Wildlife abounds; be it a herd of elk, majestic eagles, or statuesque herons.

Porto for Americans
by Yvonne, Gaia Apartment

Porto is a city in Portugal. Portugal is a country in Europe. Europe is a continent across the Atlantic Ocean from the USA. The Atlantic Ocean is a big wet thing you fall into if you go to Atlantic City and keep walking East. America has never been in a war with Portugal. Portugal doesn’t have any oil.
Porto is not pronounced “poor-dough”, it is pronounced “port-oh”, with a T sound in the middle, like the sound a clock makes when it’s ticking.

San Francisco Shopping for the Holidays
by Scott and Mark, Purple Roofs

San Francisco is always a great place to visit, but it’s especially magical during the Holiday Season. While there’s no snow, the Christmas decorations come out, it seems like there’s music on every corner, and holiday cheer abounds. We decided to take a short holiday ourselves the week after Thanksgiving, to head down to The City to see what this holiday season had to offer. The weather was fantastic – high 60s and even up into the low seventies – record high for the date – on our last day, and the fog, after making a brief appearance on our first full day, never returned.

The Harvey Milk Tour with Cruisin’ the Castro
by Scott and Mark, Purple Roofs

One of our favorite things to do when we visit The City is to take a walking tour. San Francisco has to be one of the most walkable of the major cities in the United States – hills notwithstanding – so why not soak up a little history while you walk? Trevor Haley initiated the Crusin’ the Castro tour many years ago, and a couple years back, she handed the reins over to Kathy Amandola, who now offers a general Castro walking tour most days of the week and a special Harvey Milk tour from 10 am-1 pm on Wednesdays.

Caffe Baonecci: Our Favorite Gay Friendly Italian Restaurant in San Francisco
by Scott and Mark, Purple Roofs

We wanted to bring up one of our favorite SF eats again – Caffe Baonecci in the heart of North Beach. We’ve been here several times before, but it was the first time we had a regular meal here. More on that later. Caffe Baonecci is a cute little Italian ristorante on Green Street, just one block east of Columbus, on the bottom floor of a converted Victorian. Run by the Gambaccini family who bought the old Danilo Bakery about five years ago, this is a place where you can come to talk with real Italians and hear real Italian spoken – a rarity these days in North Beach.

More Gay Travel News

We also scour the web to bring you all the gay travel news we can find. You can see these posts on a daily basis at http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog, or sign up for our RSS feed. Here are some of our favorites from the last month:

Gay Travel Events The Next Two Months:

Check out our new events calendar, where we list gay events around the world – http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-events.html. Here are the events for the next two months:

  • Australia, NSW, Byron Bay: 12/29/11-12/30/11, Queer Fruits Film Festival 2011. http://bit.ly/iKCIej
  • Canada, QC, Montreat: 12/31/11-01/02/11, Le Bal des Boys 2011-12. http://bit.ly/b5PuyZ
  • Italy, Campania, Naples: 12/15/11-12/19/11, OMOVIES – Festival Di Cinema Gay, Lesbica e Questioning Napoli 2011. http://bit.ly/m63IzS
  • Italy, Emilia Romagna, Bologna: 12/03/11-12/05/11, Some Prefer Cake – Bologna Lesbian Film Festival 2011. http://bit.ly/lvXE5H
  • New Zealand, Golden Bay, Takaka: 12/21/11-01/03/12, Gay Summer Camp: Week-Long Event in New Zealand., Autumn Farm, 37 Central Takaka R. http://bit.ly/dHaMti
  • Switzerland, Arosa: 01/08/12-01/15/12, Arosa Gay Ski Week 2012. http://bit.ly/mZwrET
  • USA, AZ, Phoenix: 01/27/12-01/29/12, Desperado Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2012. http://bit.ly/5UcA6p
  • USA, CA, Los Angeles: 12/31/11-01/01/12, Masterbeat New Years 2011-12, Mayan Theater. http://bit.ly/uXPI16
  • USA, CO, Aspen: 01/15/12-01/22/12, Aspen Gay Ski Week 2012. http://bit.ly/r0UHTB
  • USA, IN, Bloomington: 01/11/12-01/29/12, Pride: Bloomington’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2012. http://bit.ly/l9kMA9
  • USA, MA, Provincetown: 12/02/11-12/04/11, Holly Folly Provincetown 2011. http://bit.ly/7gaeBc
  • USA, NY, New York: 12/08/11, Empire State Pride Agenda’s Holiday Party, Private Home, 7-9 PM. http://bit.ly/sGPO0l
  • USA, VT, Stowe: 01/18/12-01/22/12, Stowe Vermont Gay Ski Week 2012 – Winter Rendezvous 2012. http://bit.ly/8vWTxB

Sign Up for Our Gay Travel Sweepstakes

Boston, Massachusetts Sweepstakes: We’re teaming up with the beautiful Bulfinch Hotel in Boston (http://www.bulfinchhotel.com/) to give away 5 nights in Massachusetts.

Check Out Our Special Offer Section

Our innkeepers and travel agents offer exclusive specials to travelers who find them on Purple Roofs. This month, we have 158 Accommodation/Tour offers listed in 18 countries! No membership required.

Visit Our Other Websites:

Gayapolis: Personals, daily news, and a great gay and lesbian directory.

Mi Casa Su Casa: Our home trade network, with over 310 members around the world, for just $75 for 5 years.

Gay Realty Network: Real estate professionals around the world.

Purple Unions: Gay friendly wedding vendors around the world.

Find Us On Twitter:

We now have a twitter account – follow us at http://twitter.com/purpleroofs.

Find Us On Facebook:

We now have a facebook page too – like us at http://www.facebook.com/purpleroofs.

Find Us On Google+:

We now have a Google+ page as well – follow us at

Marriage Equality News:

Also check out Gay Marriage Watch, our daily news blog about gay marriage: We bring you all the news on the fight for gay marriage daily. Join our blog email list by sending a subscription request to info@purpleunions.com. Find the full blog at http://www.purpleunions.com/blog/index.html. You can now also find us on Twitter with regular updates every day at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

That’s it for this month – enjoy the newsletter!

Mark & Scott
PurpleRoofs – http://www.purpleroofs.com, PO Box 4666, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

PS: Wanna sponsor this newsletter and reach over 25,000 people? Email us at wheretostay@purpleroofs.com for details

The Harvey Milk Tour with Cruisin’ the Castro

Author: , December 3rd, 2011

Cruisin' the Castro

One of our favorite things to do when we visit The City is to take a walking tour. San Francisco has to be one of the most walkable of the major cities in the United States – hills notwithstanding – so why not soak up a little history while you walk?

Trevor Haley initiated the Crusin’ the Castro tour many years ago, and a couple years back, she handed the reins over to Kathy Amandola, who now offers a general Castro walking tour most days of the week and a special Harvey Milk tour from 10 am-1 pm on Wednesdays.

Castro Rainbow FlagThe tour kicks off at (of course) Harvey Milk Plaza, beneath the rainbow flag at Market and Castro.

Kathy’s a walking encyclopedia about Milk and the Castro, but she loves to hear her guests’ stories as well – especially from folks who loved part of the amazing events during Milk’s era.

Castro Muni StationThe tour includes a MUNI trip down to the Civic center, and a great guided tour of City Hall. For those who may not know, Milk was San Francisco’s first gay supervisor, and he worked with Mayor George Moscone (who the convention center is named for) to pass some of the city’s first gay rights legislation.

SF City HallMilk and Moscone were tragically shot and killed by the homophobic Dan White, a former supervisor who resigned and then begged for his job back, with a gun. The killings sent shock waves throughout SF and the gay community at the time, and paradoxically propelled Dianne Feinstein’s career into the spotlight.

City Hall at NightThe City Hall portion of the tour retraces White’s passage on that fateful day, and also showcases some of the building’s great architecture, art, and hidden treasures.

At night on December 1st, city hall was lit in red for World AIDS Day (photo at right).

After City Hall, the tour returns to the Castro, taking in the Harvey Milk School, where kids are taught to celebrate diversity, and then to the HRC store, the site of Harvey Milk’s old camera shop and home.

Rainbow Honor Walk - The CastroShe’ll also tell you about the planned Rainbow Honor Walk – a walk of fame for LGBT folks throughout history, modeled on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

The tour ends up at the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender History Museum, where you can find some amazing pieces of gay history – the price of admission is included in the tour.

Kathy’s passion for LGBT history is infectious – you’ll have a great time on her tours, and will probably learn something new too!

San Francisco’s Castro District: Walking Through Gay History

Author: , July 3rd, 2010

Gay Friendly Castro District Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Harvey Milk Mural - Castro

For our last article about our Pride Weekend in San Francisco, we thought we’d share our adventures in the Castro. We booked a Castro History Tour with Cruisin’ the Castro – the company started by Trevor Hailey some twenty or more years ago.

We’d taken one of her tours before, back in the Summer of 2002, but she’s since sold the company to a new owner, Kathy, who has taken up the tours and added a spin all her own.

We started on a bright, sunny Saturday morning at Harvey Milk Plaza, where the rainbow flag flies above the corner of Market and Castro. It was a good group – about ten of us in all, including the sweetest straight couple down from Marin and a group of friends from Fresno.

After a brief introduction, Kathy took us down to the entrance to the muni station, where several plaques show scenes from Harvey Milk’s life.

Kathy - Cruisin' the CastroShe gave us a brief history of Milk’s life, and then we made our way under Market Street to Pink Triangle Park, a small memorial park for people who have died from AIDS.

Pink Triangle ParkThe heart of the park overlooks Harvey Milk Plaza and the corner of Market and Castro Streets, and features a triangle made of rose quartz.

Visitors are encouraged to take a piece with them as a reminder, and the triangle is refreshed each year with new pieces.  There are also a series of triangle pillars here arranged in a larger triangle and lit up at night.

Castro, San FranciscoTo the left of Pink Triangle Park, there’s a really cool Victorian with a round turret – if you look carefully at the building next to Harvey Milk plaza, you’ll see a mural painted on one of the windows that’s an imagined reflection of this building.  It’s really kinda cool – we took a photo of each to compare the two (picture at left)

After a brief stop by the bathrooms at Café de Fleur, a well-known Castro restaurant, we stopped to admire the view up the hill of the giant pink triangle that’s set up on Twin Peaks every pride weekend.

Made of giant pink pieces of cloth, it’s put together the day before pride by volunteers, and is taken down late Sunday afternoon.

HIV Mural, Castro DistrictWe also looked at the mural along the back side of the Baghdad Cafe that commemorates the fight agains HIV, and includes a man proudly carrying a rainbow flag, two dykes on bikes, and a depiction of the virus itself, along with much more.

A short walk brought us back up to Castro Street and the Castro Theater. The same family owns this now as when it opened – and it almost closed for good, but the neighborhood came together to show support, and convinced the owners to renovate and keep this beautiful, historic theater open. It’s now the site of the annual Frameline LGBT Film Festival.

Hand Job - CastroA little farther up the street, you’ll find the aptly named salon – Hand Job – and this happy circumstance of store names, all in a row on one side of Castro Street:

Hand Jobs

Another one of those Things That Mske You Go Hmmmm… 🙂

Also here, you’ll find Harvey Milk’s original camera shop – and apparently, they actually filmed some of the movie here. It’s empty now, but the face of Harvey Milk stares down over the Castro from the second story window, captured in a beautiful mural. We were lucky enough to catch the sun at just the right angle to surround Harvey in a natural rainbow, above.

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy MuralOur next stop was the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, where kids are taught to be accepting of all kinds of people. The front of the school is covered with beautiful murals, some with parts made by the students themselves.

Finally, we wound things up at the HRC store at the top of the Castro (Castro and 19th) where everyone got a free equality sticker.

Not to be missed while you’re here:

Under One Roof: Sales from this store benefit people living with HIV – they have a great selection of merchandise, much of it donated, including some really cool shorts featuring the Castro and the Rainbow Flag – we bought two. We stop here every time we visit The City.

Quickly - Bubble TeaQuickly: The place in the Castro for Bubble Tea… if you’re a regular reader of our travel blogs, you’ll know how much I like this stuff, having first tried it up in Vancouver… and here, you can get these tapoica “bubbles” in almost any drink the serve, even the slushy ones.

A Different Light Bookstore: The pre-eminent gay and lesbian bookstore on the west coast. When I was first coming out, the Different Light store in West Hollywood saved my life and made me feel normal.

Although the Castro isn’t the same as it once was in the 70’s and early 80’s, it’s still the heart of gay history, and Cruisin’ the Castro is a great way to bring that history back to life.