Queer Ashland and Southern Oregon

Author: , November 4th, 2019

Central Point Sunset

In September, we drove up to Southern Oregon to visit some dear friends who live in Central Point – a little town just north of Medford. We spent a few days up there, and visited their town, a little bit of Medford, and the towns of Jacksonville and Ashland.

So we thought we’d share some of our favorite things about queer Ashland and Southern Oregon!

We’ll break it down below by food, shopping, and entertainment.

Eat It!

There are some great food choices here in the Ashland/Medford area. We only tried a few, but had a few stand-outs:

Lillie Belle Farms
Central Point
Best Chocolate

Lillie Belle Farms - Central Point

We liked this place as soon as we saw the purple building that hosues it. It’s filled with delectable chocolate offerings, including the chocolate covered mint oreos (I took home a small bag) and the hot pepper chocolate (take a bite and wait for it!). Everything we tried here was good, and they stack up favorably against chocolatiers in the big cities we’ve visited.

Lillie Belle Farms - Central Point

Rogue Creamery
Central Point
Cheese Curds!

Rogue Creamery - Central Point

Located right next to Lillie Belle is a fantastic creamery that sells one opf my favorite things in the whole world – cheese curds! These are the randomly-shaped pieces of cheese that are then pressed into bars or cheese, and they are fricking delicious! Pro-tip – pop one (or half a dozen) into your microwave for about seven seconts, then eat them quickly for a squeaky-melty treat. Best when eaten fresh.

 

Rogue Creamery - Central Point

Bella Union
Jacksonville
Best All-Around Restaurant

Bella Union - Jacksonville

The stand-out restaurant of our trip – we went there twice. The food was fantastic – my bread pudding dessert the second visit was one of the best I’ve had in ages. I wanted to lick the plate (actually, I might have LOL). But the star here is the absolutely gorgeous courtyard at the back of this place. Don’t come to Bella Union and sit inside.

Bella Union - Jacksonville

Buttercloud Bakery and Cafe
Medford
Best Breakfast (tie)

Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe - Medford

Oh my god, the decadence. This is one of our friends Nick and Kolby’s favorite breakfast places, and it’s easy to see why. The biscuits are world-famous, and so full of butter you might have a heart attack just breathing the wonderful buttery air.

Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe - Medford

Morning Glory
Ashland
Best Breakfast (tie)

Morning Glory Cafe

Another great breakfast option, this one on the south side of Ashland. It’s a bit out of town, but the food is great, and they have some of the biggest coffee cups we’ve ever seen.They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, made with fresh, organic ingredients. And those muffins… Hey Kolby!

Morning Glory Cafe

Morning Glory Cafe

Kaleidescope Pizza
Medford
Best Pizza

Kaleidoscope Pizza

If anyone asks you what the secret to a great pizza is, it’s the cheese. And this pizza place has the best cheese we’ve had since Pizzeria Aurora in Sorrento, Italy – tasty, stretch cheese that you just want to rub all over your body and… but I digress. No one should stop in Medford without a visit to this place, and the cheesy bread is absolutely divine, too, as Kolby (below) will attest to. Sorry I ate half the Hawaiian pizza…

Kaleidoscope Pizza

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop
Ashland
Best Tapas

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop

We only ate at one place in Ashland, and it was good but not fantastic. The tapas were tasty, but expensive for the portions offered. Then again, it’s in the hard of Ashland, right across from the square. And it’s really cool inside…

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop - Ashland

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop - Ashland

Buy It!

We found a few great shopping opportunities in the area, and we’ll share them with you below:

Carefree Buffalo
Jacksonville
Really cool knick-knacks

Carefree Buffalo

I love this store – so many cool little things, and such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Carefree Buffalo

The Miners Bazaar
Jacksonville
Eclectic Cafe

The Miners' Bazaar - Jacksonville

We stopped into this eclectic cafe for a quick drink and found a strange mix of museum, cafe and shop, perfect for Jacksonville’s quirky spirit. Plus it’s the perfect place to sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the passersby. And check out this awesome fashion panel. Who says high fashion is only in Milan, London, Paris and new York City?

The Miners' Bazaar - Jacksonville

Lithia Artisan’s Market
Ashland
Great collection of local artists

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Along the edge of the Lithia Creek in downtown Ashland, there’s a great outdoor market on the weekends. We found all kinds of cool things here, from paintings to decorative outlet covers to animals made out of wool – the artist was creating a giraffe right before our eyes. It’s a fun outdoor market, and the perfect place to snag something cool to take back home. And while you’re there, check out the colorful mural that runs along part of the market.

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Manzanita Home & Flowers
Ashland
Really cool kitchen stuff and the sexiest bunnies I’ve ever seen

Manzanita Home & Flowers

This is an awesome home store on Main Street with two of the sexiest bunnies you’ll find in Ashland.. and some really clever kitchen ware, among other things. I haven;t seen that good a “come hither” look since Elsa in the Lion King.

Manzanita Home & Flowers

Manzanita Home & Flowers

Renaissance Rose
Ashland
Great costume shop

Renaissance Rose

This is a simply awesome costume shop in the heart of Ashland that gets extra points for the pink fuzzy monster slippers, the steampunk helmet and goggles, and the rainbow stairs we found inside.

Renaissance Rose Renaissance Rose

Treehouse Secret World Vault
Ashland
My new favorite bookstore…

Treehouse Secret World Vault

This cute little bookstore/toy store reminded me of the favorite bookstore of my youth – te Haunted Book Shop – in Tucson Arizona. Like that one, this little store is full of fascinating things for kids, from the toadstool stool to the little doorways that reward the curious who dare to open them. A really cool shop for the kid in all of us.

 

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

See It!

There’s also a lot to see… we just scratched the surface in the few days we were there.

Bum Around Jacksonville

Jacksonville is just east of Medford, nestled against the hills of the Rogue Valley. It’s a cute, quirky town that reminded us of Nevada City, California. There’s lots of antique shopping and a number of galleries.

Plus it’s full of history:

Jacksonville

Jacksonville

Jacksonville

There’s even a ghost tour some evenings.

Walk up to Britt Gardens – it was once the home of one of the founding fathers of the city, and is now a beautiful outdoor concert venue. We were wandering around up there and ran into a family of deer. One of them as less than ten feet from me, and stood really still as if she hoped I wouldn’t see her.

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Picnic in Lithia Park

Ashland’s Lithia Park is a gorgeous creekside park with charming bridges and walkways and wide open grassy areas perfect for a picnic. So grab some cheese and crackers at the Rogue Creamery and some chocolates at Lillie Belle, and head down to the park in Ashland. We spent an hour laying on the grass, munching and talking about life and the universe. One of my favorite parts of the trip.

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

See a Shakespeare Play

Did you know that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers fifty percent discounts on same day play purchases? We saw a play – Alice in Wonderland – in the gorgeous outdoor Elizabethan Theatre. And while I can honestly say it was one of the worst plays I have seen in a long time, the experience itself was great.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

 

There are so many things to do in the Ashland area, and we’ve only shared a few. We’ll be back again to find more the next time we visit Nick and Kolby. But we’ll leave you with this little gem from Jacksonville. Have fun exploring!

Jacksonville sign

Visiting Vegas’s Valley of Fire (With Kids) – 2TravelDads

Author: , October 20th, 2019

Visiting Vegas's Valley of Fire (With Kids) - 2TravelDads

Before we visited the Valley of Fire with kids it just looked like an Instagram heaven. That’s all that we knew about it, all from photos that people had taken and posted to Instagram. And then we visited and hiked and had up close wildlife encounters and fell in love. Valley of Fire State Park is the best Las Vegas day trip you didn’t know you need to do.

We’re going to help you plan and have the best visit possible, seeing some of the most amazing geology Nevada has to offer. And you can do it all on a trip to Las Vegas or as part of a southwest road trip. Watch our video guide to Valley of Fire State Park below!

LOCALE OF VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK

Located less than an hour Northeast of Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is an easy drive to take you into another world off the Vegas strip. In the Moapa Valley (park area), you will find all kinds of unique sites. You might not find pyramids or waterfalls flowing off the tops of hotels, but there our windswept hoodoos, carved out caves and passages, and petroglyphs that predate any sort of pirate display in Las Vegas.

The geology and formations of Valley of Fire State Park are very different from what you might find in Utah, and if you are on a trip to Las Vegas and want to do a day trip into some of the most incredible nature around, this is an easier option than driving the two and a half hours up to Zion. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love Zion National Park but for business travelers or people without enough time to go that far north, Valley of Fire State Park will wow you and fill the need to connect with the earth.

Full Story at 2TravelDads

Nevada Gay Travel Resources

 

Joshua Tree Day Trip – 2TravelDads

Author: , July 11th, 2019

Joshua Tree Day Trip - 2TravelDads

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is a great addition to a vacation to Palm Springs or Southern California in general. It’s a very unique National Park and visiting is a very different experience compared with Yellowstone or Yosemite. I’d sooner relate it to visiting the Everglades than any other Park. There are tons of things to do on a Joshua Tree day trip, but you need to know what to do before you just show up.

Before arriving at Joshua Tree we’d done some research around hiking and unique features of the park. We didn’t fully understand the layout though and had to adjust our plans to be able to experience the best of a Joshua Tree day trip. The following guide should help you plan, prep and have an awesome time exploring this fascinating place.

WHAT IS A JOSHUA TREE?

So glad you asked. A Joshua Tree is a member of the yucca or lily tree family. It’s like a giant succulent that grows only in hot, arid climates. They are very rare outside of the deserts of the American Southwest (there’s a small grove in Mexico), but their yucca cousins can be found in deserts all around the world.

The Joshua tree is a rough, pokey plant. It doesn’t get very big, unlike the Sequoias or Redwoods, and it’s rarely grows straight up. Joshua Trees are shaped like Dr. Seuss trees and look a lot like the silhouette of a person jumping out to scare you. They really cool. They don’t bloom every year, but when they do it is amazing and since it’s so rare, if you get the chance to visit when they’re blooming, you’ll be one of the few people on Earth that experience it.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

California’s Southerm Deserts Gay Travel Resources

 

Exploring the Dutch Tulip Fields in a VW Bus – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , July 8th, 2019

Exploring the Tulip Fields in a VW Bus - Once Upon a JourneyM

Can you believe we never visited the tulip fields in the Netherlands?! As a Dutchie, that’s pretty weird since the tulip fields are becoming increasingly popular every year, especially because of Instagram. We decide to go on a little trip in style: with an old VW bus named Miss Peach. Miss Peach can be rented from Oldtimer huren for a fun day trip or for a special event: a wedding for example! Talking about weddings, during our little trip to the tulip fields we do a special shoot with some gorgeous dresses…

Tulips are for old people?!

When we were younger our moms and grandmas visited the tulip fields. So in our minds, it was something old people did (equals boring). Instagram has definitely changed our minds, because wow, these fields are far from boring: colours everywhere! Last year we were sad to miss tulip season so we promised each other 2019 would be the year. And we’re sharing the fun: my sister Denise joins us on our day trip. Denise is a beautician so she can help us look extra pretty. Usually, we never wear any make-up, but this is a special occasion…

Hit the Road with a Volkswagen Bus!

We pick-up Miss Peach in Nieuwegein at the garage. Before we hit the road I need to get the hang of driving an oldtimer. VW buses are old and therefore drive very differently than modern cars. Luckily it doesn’t take too long before I can enjoy riding this beautiful bus. So funny to see so many people looking at you while driving such a beauty!

By Maartje and Roxanne – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Netherlands Gay Travel Resources

 

Go Girlfriend’s Arizona Getaway List – Lesbian Sedona

Author: , July 5th, 2019

Lesbian Sedona - Scott

Thinking on the destination of lesbian Sedona, Az, my mind floats to a small-town, new-age artsy community nestled as a cross-roads between the dry flats of the hot desert and the stunning red rock mountainsides that surround it. It is a charming long-weekend getaway destination to get you out of the city and surrounded by an unprecedented natural beauty – think girls getaway relaxing with wine on the patio as the sun sets on the mountainsides that just pop deep shades of reds and greys, or a more adventurous let’s-get-out-and-hike-these-mountains-and-see-the-views kinda weekend. Either way, Sedona has got to be on your getaway list!!

Whether you arrive in from Phoenix in the south (2 hours) and drive through the Sonoran desert into the Tonto National Forest area before encountering the rim of red rocks around Oak Creek, or you arrive to Sedona from Flagstaff (1 hour) in the north via the canyonous Highway 89, the drive will make you “ooo and aaah” at the spectacular sights.

Whether you arrive in from Phoenix in the south (2 hours) and drive through the Sonoran desert into the Tonto National Forest area before encountering the rim of red rocks around Oak Creek, or you arrive to Sedona from Flagstaff (1 hour) in the north via the canyonous Highway 89, the drive will make you “ooo and aaah” at the spectacular sights.

What makes the red rocks of Sedona so unique?

The Sedona area was the bottom of an ocean 300+ million years ago. Natural iron oxide infused the limestone base that was created as the waters receded. The picturesque sandstone formations were created from the layering of ancient dunes in such amazing geology and landscape the area that with continued water and wind erosion over the millennia sculpted the harder formations into some of the most fascinating and locally iconic landmarks we know today – Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Arizona Gay Travel Resources

California Agritourism in the Santa Maria Valley – 2TravelDads

Author: , May 27th, 2019

CALIFORNIA AGRITOURISM IN THE SANTA MARIA VALLEY

We’ve loved visiting the Santa Maria Valley of California for years, ever since our first visit in 2017. We wanted to take a different approach to visiting on our most recent trip, so went with the theme of agritourism. Of course we still enjoyed the beach and nature of the Central Coast, but California agritourism with kids was a hit in more ways than just a fun vacation.

Why the Santa Maria Valley for California agritourism? For three reasons: diversity of farm experiences; wonderful, welcoming people; and it’s gorgeous. Just keep reading…

WHAT IS AGRITOURISM?

We love agritourism because it’s a very different way to explore and learn. If you’re not familiar, agritourism is the approach of tourism through the lens of farming and agriculture. It’s visiting and interacting with farmers and experiencing both the work and the joy of farming. One of the biggest benefits of agritourism with kids is helping them see and understand where their food comes from.

Tip: a good conversation to have with kids is regarding sustainability and organic farming and labeling. When you start visiting farms and vineyards, you’ll see signs and you’ll hear farmers talking about what they do to ensure they’re growing the best produce possible, so it’s nice to lay some groundwork.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Central Coast of California Gay Travel Resources

Views From Vancouver’s Quarry Rock Trail – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , May 27th, 2019

Views From Vancouver's Quarry Rock Trail - Keep Calm and Wander

I did the Quarry Rock Hiking Trail yesterday for the first time. It was a beautiful day – and it’s a weekend, too! That means that hiking trails near Vancouver (reachable via public transport) were, as expected, crowded.

And I survived. Halelu!

Directions: Vancouver to Deep Cove by Bus

Start from the Waterfront Metro Station. Find the way to the water taxi / ferry that will take you to Lonsdale Quay. There’s a ferry every less than fifteen minutes, so you don’t have to wait long. When you get off at Lonsdale Quay, take the 239 bus that goes to Phibbs Exchange bus loop or Capilano University. Get off at Phibbs Exchange bus loop and transfer to bus 211 or 212. The last stop is at Deep Cove. Once you arrive, follow most of the crowd or find a sign that points you to the Quarry Rock trail. This trip should take around 40-50 minutes.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Vancouver Gay Travel Resources

 

Hiking With Kids at Zion National Park – 2TravelDads

Author: , May 23rd, 2019

Hiking With Kids at Zion National Park - 2TravelDads

Zion National Park is known for its epic hikes and canyoning routes, but it’s also full of fun hiking trails that are great with kids too! By now you’ve seen that we really love Zion; we found that the scenery paired with the activities make for a perfect family vacation destination. And that’s what we’re talking about here: best kid friendly hiking in Zion National Park.

If you are looking for epic views or easy strolls, there are plenty of kid friendly hiking options in Zion. You truly don’t have to over-exert yourself (or your kids) to experience and appreciate the best of what Zion has to offer. These are our top picks for families and safety tips for some kid friendly hiking in Zion National Park.

HIKING SAFETY IN ZION

We always start here because it’s easy to get right into the hike info. Here’s what you need to know to be prepared for hiking in Zion National Park:

  • Know the details of your hike – distance, elevation gain, estimated time
  • Bring more water than you think you’ll need – we do 1.5 refillable bottles per person
  • Bring enough snacks to equate to a meal
  • Don’t rush kids on rocky trails

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Utah Gay Travel Resources

 

Bryce Canyon National Park in the Off Season – 2TravelDads

Author: , May 13th, 2019

Bryce Canyon National Park in the Off Season - 2TravelDads

Bryce Canyon National Park is exceptional when it comes to unique geology and sights. It’s a place for hiking and appreciating nature’s fascinating processes and diversity. It also gets tons of snow in the winter and spring, so visiting Bryce Canyon in the off season is tricky but totally doable and beautiful. We paired it with a trip to Zion National Park and loved the combo and its varied experiences.

This is our guide for sights, hiking and accommodations at Bryce Canyon National Park, good for any time if year, but especially the off season. That’s actually the best time to go! Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in the off season ensures smaller crowds and lower costs, so it’s a great budget friendly option.

The most popular time for visiting Bryce Canyon is for sure the summer, and why not? It’s gorgeous and sunny; thunderstorms show up out of nowhere; hiking trails are sure to be open; it’s great! Here’s a huge tip though: visitors taper off in early fall and the weather is still awesome. In winter and early spring you’re guaranteed minimal crowds and perfectly snow-capped hoodoos. Spring brings the snow melt and prairie dogs. You’ll love it, no doubt.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2traveldads

Utah Gay Travel Resources

 

Complete Family Guide to Zion National Park – 2TravelDads

Author: , May 9th, 2019

Zion National Park - 2TravelDads

Yes, you can totally get a good sense of Zion National Park in just one day, but believe me when I say that you’ll leave wanting more. Between the unique, red and yellow and white canyon walls to the waterfalls that appear out of nowhere, it’s remarkable. This is our complete family guide to Zion National Park, basically giving a high level overview and drilling down into our more detailed posts. We’ve written a ton about Zion because it’s awesome and we love it, so get all the goods.

The first time I planned a trip to Zion National Park as an adult I didn’t even know where to begin. I had visited as a kid and remembered everything we did… including hikes that I’d never take my four year old on. I ended up spending hours Googling hiking guides, travel blogs about Zion with kids, the National Park website itself and couldn’t find all of the information I needed in one place, so I decided then and there that following our trip I would make something super easy that was exactly what I needed. And that’s what this is: your one stop shop resource for all things family-friendly at Zion National Park.

When to visit Zion National Park

If you’re in Southern Utah, you should visit Zion National Park, no matter the time of year, but just know that it won’t all be accessible. The absolute best time to visit Zion is early to mid Spring or early Fall. Being such a popular National Park, Zion is very busy and trails can be exceptionally crowded in the summer. Whatever season you choose to visit, you always need to be prepared. The weather can change in a heartbeat, although the summer months are pretty consistent with hot days and random cloud bursts.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Utah Gay Travel Resources