Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay: Villa Gasparini is a fully renovated historic building has 15 exquisitely finished rooms, furnished following 6 different themes, from classic Venetian to ethno-chic style, that represent the masculine / feminine duality and the juxtaposition of opposites. We are close to the art cities of Veneto, thefamous Venetian Villas, Padua, Treviso and countless large and smallgems that we will be pleased to suggest. All of our rooms are equipped with free wi-fi, LCD tv, safe, minibar and air-conditioning.
The best part of the “eat local” trend is discovering a city with incredible regional ingredients. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, diners enjoy an embarrassment of riches, thanks to the region’s especially fertile and productive growing season, and the bold restaurateurs who take full advantage of Atlantic Canada’s best. In this island province, seafood is of course the star attraction. It’s often so fresh that your fish, lobster, oyster, or other marine delicacy may have been pulled from the bay just hours before. Local chefs complement their prized seafood with well-suited herbs, vegetables, grains, as well as wines and craft brews unique to Nova Scotia. They also excel at making old-favorite dishes their own. Who knew there could be so many delicious versions of poutine or chowder? Gay-friendly Halifax enthusiastically celebrates its Pride every July, but the rest of the year this midsize city is awash in its pride of food sourced from farms, fisheries, foragers, and small-batch producers. While you’re here, you’ll happily devour some of the tastiest food and creatively prepared dishes that we had the pleasure of experiencing during a recent visit.
I spent the first few days of the month in New York before flying to Germany, where I feel like I haven’t stopped moving since arriving. I spent most of my time in Berlin since getting here, but I left in between and also visited family and friends in Leipzig and Erfurt. I feel like I’ve done so many things this month that it’s hard to believe I fit them all into only 30 days. I started with hitting up some of my favorite places in New York City, where I enjoyed the beautiful summer weather with runs in prospect park and Central Park, bike rides through Brooklyn, a street art tour of Bushwick, and all my favorite foods. In Berlin, I welcomed my first visitor from NYC (the second one is due to arrive tomorrow morning!), which was of course the perfect opportunity to show off all the spots that I think make Berlin special, like the remaining part of the Berlin Wall, now filled with street art and murals, Tempelhof, previously an airport, now a massive urban park, the Turkish Market in Maybachufer, Mauerpark for the Sunday flea market and karaoke, Sonnenallee with its many cheap middle eastern eateries, Kreuzberg with its street art and quirky cafes. While this first visit was focused on seeing as much of Berlin as possible, I think my second time showing friends around will be more about going out, exploring Berlin’s nightlife and craft brew scene. In between my trips to Berlin, I spent time with my nephew, I surprised friends in my hometown (this was an unplanned visit after all – two months ago I was still expecting to spend the whole summer in New York), I took my nieces to the lake, took my beloved Odie (my sister’s dog) on runs through the fields, enjoyed cooking and wine sessions with my sister-in-law and spoiled my family by cooking and baking for them.
I spent nearly a month in Austin and I’ve already mentioned in my monthly round-up that I’ve got a huge crush on Texas’ quirky capital – who knew that a city in Texas of all places could sweep me off my feet the way that Austin did. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling in the U.S. during the past 6 years, including numerous road trips that brought me to dozens of U.S. cities – but I don’t think I’ve ever declared that I am so enamored with a place that I could see myself live there – that has always been NYC’s prerogative. But I think I might want to make an exception for Austin. Why? Well, let me share 33 of the things that I love about Austin…
1 THE FOOD TRUCKSOf course, for me as a foodie, a city with dozens of food trucks is a culinary paradise. Even if I had tried to eat at a different food truck every day during my month long visit, I wouldn’t have been able to cover them all. Which means I’ll have to come back to continue my quest to try all of them. My favorite so far? Gourdough’s Big.Fat.Doughnuts. Yes, I have a sweet tooth, and I don’t eat BBQ (or any kind of meat), so it’s a dessert food truck that takes the crown (for now). If you’re visiting Austin and are wondering which food trucks are the best, here are 10 food trucks you need to visit in Austinand if you still have room for more, 17 essential food trucks in Austin.
2 THE WEATHERI don’t think any city could ever come close to how much I love New York, but Austin did impress me a lot – and one point where it wins over NYC is without a doubt the weather. While my friends in New York were still wearing scarfs and winter jackets at the beginning of May, I was sweating by the pool. And months of ice and snow? Not in Austin! It’s not rare to have temperatures in the 80s here during the winter months. Perfect.
When the temperatures rise to 100 and even more, it is time to travel to somewhere that is much cooler. We have friends in Palm Springs and Phoenix that really cannot take that kind of heat everyday. Even in the Midwest the temperatures are brutal. On the west coast, many travel up to Oregon and Washington for the summer months or even for one month. In the Midwest, travelers drive up to northern Michigan and Minnesota where it is much cooler. The nighttime temperatures are wonderful and you can sleep with no air-conditioning. On the east coast travelers go to New England where the temperatures are good. Both Oregon and Washington on the west coast offers a large selection of areas to stay. Whether you prefer staying in a city or if a rural area is what you enjoy, there are plenty of options for you. Northern Minnesota and Michigan is more rural. They have hundreds of fruit gardens in both states and the blueberries and other berries are the most delicious that we have ever had. New England offers a great deal as you can either stay on the coast and enjoy the ocean or stay inland and take advantage of the rural area. Naturally different travelers enjoy different things when they travel and all of the places we mentioned offers so much. Some LGBT travelers prefer to be in an area that is predominately for the LGBT travelers while others prefer to be able to assimilate with straight people more. All of the areas that we mentioned above have options for both. Things have certainly changed (and for the better of course) in the past few years where businesses like hotels, motels and Bed and Breakfasts are actually begging for the LGBT business travelers to stay with them. We have been to Palm Springs and Phoenix as well as Las Vegas in the summertime when the temperatures were near 115 degrees and all we can say about that experience is ‘been there, done that, and NO MORE! A lot of places where the temperatures can be brutal do offer special prices to stay and if you are looking for a bargain and do not mind the high temperatures, then by all means, check into their websites for the offers that they have. The best way to find an area where you might want to travel would be to go to www.purpleroofs.com and click on the state that interests you. They will give in full details about the places where you would be interested in staying. If you are driving and have pets with you, be sure and remember never to leave them in your car with the windows up even if you plan to make a quick run into a shop or something. The temperatures in a car can rise dramatically in just a few minutes. Our next trip is to Cleveland, Ohio where we will visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the museum and house where they filmed the movie, A Christmas Story and then drive on to Atlantic City, New Jersey for a few days and then on to the Hamptons where we will be guests of Sir Ivan at his Castle. You can check out his Castle by going to this link: http://www.hamptons.com/Real-Estate/Main-Articles/17888/King-Of-His-Castle-Sir-Ivans-Hamptons-Estate-A.html#.V5LjHxGHthz Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone. TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-Winning, Celebrity Travel Columnists. Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/]]>
Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay: Windwardside Guest Cottage is an adorable little cottage from which you can savor the views of the east end of St. John, the Caribbean sea and the nearby British islands. The cottage can be rented along with the neighboring Main House or as your own piece of paradise. The buildings are secluded from one another by their orientation and lush tropical plantings that provide natural screening. and plenty of privacy. The guest cottage is very appealingly furnished, has a private hot tub, an airy enclosed shower garden and a comfortable front porch overlooking the sea. We constructed this cottage with the goal of providing a romantic getaway at an affordable price that is packed with amenities. It is a compact budget cottage with numerous storage areas that won’t make you feel like you have made any compromises. At Windwardside Cottage you will wake up in a four poster bed to a gorgeous view of the Caribbean sea framed by palm trees. You could easily create a post card from the view of this charming cottage. The furnishings of Windwardside Guest Cottage are both cheerful and tasteful. There is a small seating area, a kitchenette and breakfast bar but our guests tend to quickly gravitate to the porch. The covered porch has a dining area and two lounging chairs where you can enjoy the trade winds or a good book while watching the sailboats pass by. If you prefer to prepare your meals overlooking the sea there is a small gas grill. A shower garden opens onto an uncovered deck. There you can have a relaxing evening soak in the hot tub under a starry Caribbean sky. The hot tub has a wide view of the sea and total privacy. Windwardside is a lovely honeymoon spot. We are also happy to provide advice for on island weddings. Location: Coral Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Windwardside Guest Cottage is located in quiet seclusion with mesmerizing views of Coral Bay, nearby islands and the Caribbean Sea. The house is situated two thirds of a mile up a little used road in Coral Bay. Surrounded by tropical plantings and marvelous vistas, you are still just a short drive to a cool splash in Salt Pond Bay or other equally inviting white sand beaches. Restaurants, shops and watersports are all available within two miles in Coral Bay. The main town on the island, Cruz Bay, is located 8 miles away. The airport is in St. Thomas which is reached via a twenty minute ferry ride. (Ferries leave every hour on the hour and cost $7 each way) Amenities:
- hot tub
- snorkel gear
- beach chairs
- beach umbrella
- fresh flowers
- safe for valuables
- all linens and towels
Photo by Sydney Coatsworth[/caption] For more than 5 decades, Cuba has been the much lusted after – but unattainable – American vacation. Oh the torture to be so close to those glorious beaches, to a plucky, passionate nation that remains rooted in the 50’s with antique cars and slicked back hairdos. Despite being ruled by a dictator and ostracized by their closest neighbor, they opened their arms to the world and thrived. Although Americans have been allowed access to Cuba since 2011 through licensed tour operators, the recent lift of the embargo has hearts aflutter. But let’s be honest, it’s going to be a while yet before the average American can jet down for an inexpensive, quickie vacation, though things look good for more open American Cuba travel by the end of 2016. Some travel experts predict it will be 2-4 years before the tourism infrastructure in Cuba matures enough to support American vacationers en mass. While you’re waiting for Cuba to ready herself for you, take a few moments to look – really look – at Cuba as a vacation destination. Cuba is home to a smorgasbord of unspoiled beaches, warm climate and passionate, hot-blooded culture, remember – but it’s still a very poor country and it’s had no exposure to American tourists for more than 50 years. Be prepared for some old-world practices.
The sun is setting…I think. I’ve arrived in Shanghai after a 15-hour flight, and I’m not sure what day it is, let alone what time of day: the permanent haze that hovers over much of China’s 3.7 million square miles masks any clues. Shanghai Pudong International Airport offers a harsh juxtaposition of the familiar and the unknown, a theme that will reappear throughout my journey to two of China’s major east coast cities. I hop on a shuttle bus that takes me southwest from Shanghai’s city center to Hangzhou. The cities blur together along the two-hour journey (or 45 minutes by bullet train), where endless clusters of high-rise complexes blend into one another. Imagine the Vegas Strip held up to a mirror, an endless stream of towering residential buildings, outlined in neon and saturated floodlights. But as I peer out the window amid the slowly chugging traffic, closer inspection reveals a kind of post-apocalyptic urban planning to accommodate the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants. Construction cranes pierce the skyline and it’s hard to tell whether certain projects are underway or have been abandoned midstream. China, I am soon to find out, is a country and a people of contradiction.
HANGZHOU – RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGHFor most Westerners (including myself prior to this trip), Hangzhou may not be on your China bucket list, but consider adding a few days to your itinerary to explore a city that, at least by the standards of ear- lier centuries, was one of the most powerful ports in the world. The Sui Empire finished the Grand Canal in 609 CE, a 1,100-mile engineering feat that finally connected Hangzhou to Beijing in the north and positioned it as a vital trading post. Hangzhou’s port eventually filled with silt in the 15th century, but skip ahead 600 years or so, and you’ll find a thriving metropolis for the new millennium. It’s now a major technology hub with Alibaba Group at its epicenter, a multi-faceted e-commerce company that holds the record for the largest IPO of all time on the New York Stock Exchange, totaling $25 billion. Put that mind-boggling figure momentarily aside, along with worries that China could conceivably crash the global economy. Hangzhou’s wonders lie in its natural beauty and deep traditions of culture and cuisine. Transcend political agendas and appreciate the region for its hidden gems that remain some of China’s greatest gifts.
Kyoto was the old capital of Japan from the 8th century until 1869 when it was moved to Tokyo. It’s a beautiful city packed with temples, markets, very friendly people and some great food. And lots of mochi based treaties everywhere! We stayed at B&B Keiko, owned by Keiko, who is a young Japanese girl, very passionate about her job. We paid 5,000 yen (around £30) a night for a room. There are two rooms, and this includes breakfast in the local French cafe. Keiko was a great source of all information about gay Kyoto, be it bus schedules, temple opening hours and most importantly, where to find the best ramen and noodle bars.
After our amazing first weekend in Berlin, we continued our adventures with more street art, more German breakfasts, my visitor’s (and my!) first ever curry wurst (this was the first time I found a vegetarian curry wurst), sunsets over Tempelhof airport (one of my favorite places in the city), and an epic 20 mile bike ride through Berlin. The city is so enormously big that is impossible to explore it on foot, and since it is a really bike-friendly city with plenty of bike lanes, bikes are a great way too see Berlin. Tiergarten alone (Berlin’s version of Central Park) is big enough to spend half a day there (or longer) walking along the trails. We were blessed with beautiful summer weather, cycled from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburg Gate to Victory Column on one of Berlin’s main boulevards, along the canals, and all over Tempelhof which is another one of those places that is too big to be explored on foot. We did get our fair share of walking in this week, however, with the free history walking tour (I mention this tour in my quick guide to Berlin with a few other must-do activities) during which our guide brought us to the iconic Berlin landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe, the Berlin Wall(again!) and the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt Square.