Travel, Hope, and the Virus

globe - deposit photos

As fear spreads around the globe faster than the Corona virus itself, we are all being forced to re-evaluate almost everything about our daily lives. How often do we go out? What do we avoid? How do we change our routines to keep ourselves healthy?

We must not give into fear. Fear disables us and blinds us, when we need to be clear-eyed and level-headed. But at the same time, we must also be realistic about the challenge we now face.

At Purple Roofs, we are all about travel and connection between different kinds of people. The LGBTQ+ travel community has often served as ambassadors to many parts of the world where being gay (or lesbian or trans or bi or gender fluid etc) is still stigmatized, or even illegal.

We live in every country, we follow every way of life, and none of us are untouched by what’s happening in the world today.

That’s why we’ve decided to take the unusual step of addressing this issue directly here on the blog and in our newsletter and social media accounts. After all, we regularly post articles about wonderful places to visit and things to see, and that’s felt increasingly out of step as the world locks itself down and quarantines many of us in order to to slow the advance of the virus.

The next few months are going to be a test for all of us, including the queer travel community. A test of our societies as we struggle with new restrictions. A test for our economies as we wait this thing out. And a test for each of us individually, as we deal with our own lives and reach out to support one-another in whatever ways we can.

There’s an old war quote:

“There are no atheists in foxholes.”

I’d update that for today:

There is no us and them during a crisis..

I know that this too shall pass. We will get though this and come out the other side, and then things will start to return to normal. I am hopeful that new seeds will sprout in the aftermath of this crisis, and that this experience will bring us closer together.

That change will begin to blow across the world.

In the meantime, Purple Roofs is still about travel. Travel is a fundamentally hopeful exercise – we fling ourselves off to far-away destinations in metal canisters that we trust to reach those places. We take a leap of faith and engage with other cultures, in the hope that we can learn something valuable about ourselves in the process. And we knit the world together into a global community, one trip at a time.

We must not lose that hope.

And so we’re going to continue to post travel articles during this crisis. While many of you may not be traveling now by choice or by necessity, it won’t always be so. Our travel businesses are going to need us all, through this time and beyond.

When you travel, take all the recommended precautions to keep yourself and your hosts safe. And when you can’t, send messages of support to the rest of our community.

In the meantime we can all work to keep the dream alive. Gay or straight, black or white, Canadian, Latino, Chinese or Italian, we all belong to the same species, to the same planet. We’ll all get though this, together,

Gay Malta – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Malta - The Nomadic Boys

“You want to go to a gay bar in Malta? Pick any one you come across and you’ll be just fine!”
So said our Maltese gay friends when we asked them about the gay scene. But we get their point. When it comes to gay friendliness, Malta is killing it! This tiny island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is frequently named as one of the most gay friendly countries in the world and we can totally see why!

What used to be one of the most religious places in Europe (for example, up until 2013, divorce was illegal in Malta!) the country did a 180-degree turn to pass some of the most LGBTQ progressive laws in the world, quickly becoming THE gay haven in the Mediterranean region.

We visited Malta as part of a trip with Teletext Holidays to discover the gay scene and what makes it so appealing to LGBTQ travellers. We left with a strong thirst to return and see more. The people are open-minded, super friendly (Maltese guys – heLLO!), the queer community is very visible and even though it’s such a small nation of just 400,000 people, it still has a vibrant gay scene to check out.

We’ve put together all our findings in this gay guide to Malta as we explored the country from Valletta to Mdina, Gozo to Camino and Dingli to Xlendi.

Gay Rights in Malta

They are extremely progressive!

…or to quote the United Nation’s Equality and Non-Discrimination team:

“Malta has become the gold standard of LGBTQI reforms – a beacon of human rights for LGBTIQ issues!”

This says a lot for a country where up until 2013, divorce was illegal. This gives you an idea of just how Catholic and religious Malta used to be. It all began in 2013 when the progressive centre-left Labour Party came to power and prioritised gay-friendly policies led by the proactive Minister for Equality, Helena Dalli. They began by passing a full range of anti-discrimination laws, recognised civil unions and also passed adoption laws within their first year in power.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Malta Gay Travel Resources

SPOTLIGHT: Penang Insights, Gay Tour Operator in Batu Ferringhi, Malaysia

Cooking Class - Penang Insights

PRIVATE, CUSTOM TOURS IN PENANG, MELAYSIA

There’s so much to see and do in Penang it can be difficult to know where to start. This is where we can help. Penang Insights is a private tour company with a wealth of local knowledge about Penang’s rich culture, heritage, sightseeing attractions and its world famous street food.

We offer a friendly, professional service for visitors who want to experience all that Penang has to offer but with the flexibility and freedom to explore Penang at your leisure with your own dedicated private travel host.

We specialise in creating tailor-made itineraries to suit your particular interests or you may choose from one of our carefully crafted half or full day standard programs designed to give you a unique insight into the Pearl of the Orient – Penang.

See the Penang Insights Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Malaysia Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

5 Best Gay Friendly Ski Resorts In USA

gay friendly ski resorts - deposit photos

It’s a big, queer world we live in, and the LGBTQ+ community, like most ski enthusiasts, wants to ski in places where they feel safe and comfortable. If you are eyeing USA as the destination for your next ski trip, then the list of LGBTQ-friendly resorts you could explore is endless.

To make your work easier, we have compiled the best ski resorts in US for gay snow hobbyists.

These spots offer a great deal of winter activities, vibrant après ski, flavorful cuisine, and cozy accommodation for you and your partner.
So, pack your ski boots, call in sick, and explore as many as you can!

Gore Mountain, New York

New York is something of a LGBT mecca, which makes it an excellent destination for couples looking for tickling gay experiences. It also happens to host Gore Mountain, one of the spots that offer the best skiing in the US. 

With a vertical drop of 2430 feet, the resort spans four mountains – the Gore, Little Gore Mountain, Burnt Ridge Mountain, and Bear Mountain. 

There are over 120 trails, which include 108 alpine trails, 7 freestyle areas, and 10 snowshoe and cross-country trails. 14 lifts transport guests to the winter sports area located between an elevation of 302 and 1095 meters. 

If you an expert, there are about 20 gladed trails you can ski on. In the East of Gore hides The Rumor, the steepest trail in the resort. Its craggy double black diamond runs, in particular, will give you the adrenaline rush you seek. 

Intermediates can explore the magnificent, long blue trails in the Northwoods area. There are limited options for beginners but they too can find something to do at Pete Gay (the North Side). 

When not skiing, take a walk to the North Creek village. This place has a rich history as a ski and snowboarding town, an abundance of eateries, and lively nightlife.

Catamount, Massachusetts

The Catamount Ski Area lies southeast of Albany, on the Massachusetts and New York boarder. Both Massachusetts and New York are known for their acceptance of the gay community, which is why Catamount should a safe destination for LGBTQ couples. 

The ski area boasts a vertical drop of 1100 feet and 120 acres of skiable terrain. There are 35 runs for both beginner and intermediate skiers, serviced by 7 sophisticated lifts. For expert skiers, there is a separate terrain park with 3 km of ski slope, offering a mix of rails, jibs, jumps, and bumps.

Though family owned, Catamount ski area is one of the largest in the Taconic/Berkshire Mountains. It is has less crowds, hence, it provides the best skiing in the US for couples looking to have a quiet, romantic getaway. 

There are fine dining and lodging areas and fun activities to indulge in. In the evening, grab a beer at the Tavern or a cup of coffee at the Café Line.

Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania

In the northern section of Lehigh Valley sits Blue Mountain Resort, a spot that provides an exhilarating skiing and snowboarding experience for snow fans in Pennsylvania. PA hosts plenty of Pride events and that means there is a thriving queer community in the region. That said, a place like Blue Mountain Resort should be on top of the list of any LGBTQ traveller planning a ski trip to the US. 

Located 89 miles from Philly, Blue Mountain ski area offers 40 groomed trails, perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels. There are 14 lifts to service the area, with a capacity of about 13500 skiers/riders per hour. The resort also houses 5 terrain parks and 35 snow-tubing lanes. 

But winter sports are not the only activities you will enjoy here. Blue Mountain hosts a number of summer events and activities too including mountain biking, archery, disc golf, scenic lift rides, and more. Equipment rental is available ranging from ski helmets and all mountain skis to mountain bikes and hiking poles.

After a long day on the slopes, relax at Slopeside Pub & Grill or in one of the hotels or vacation homes available in the area. 

Mad River Mountain, Ohio

Ohio may not be the largest state in the US, but this deficiency in size is truly compensated in pride. Ohio’s community centers, restaurants, and bars host gay events like Pride festivals, fundraisers and dance competitions throughout the year. So if you are looking for the best ski resorts in US where you can show off your sexual orientation without being judged, those in Ohio should be in your bucket list. 

Mad River Mountain, in particular, would be a great place to start. Located in Valley Hi, the ski area has an elevation of 1455 feet and offers 23 remarkable trails for skiers of different ability levels, 3 terrain parks, and an avalanche tubing park. There are 12 lifts comprising of 1 fixed quad lift, 6 chair lifts, and 5 surface lifts. 

Enjoy some après ski at The Loft and flavorful meals at The Eatery or relax in one of the many hotels, holiday apartments, or guesthouses and order out.

Telluride, Colorado

We can’t wrap up without mentioning Telluride, another great destination for rainbow couples. The fact that this spot sits in Colorado, one of the states with a vibrant gay community says it all – it is a safe haven for queer individuals.

Telluride ranks among the top ski areas in North America, with a base elevation of 8750 feet. Located in the magnificent San Juan Mountains, Telluride offers something for everyone – exciting steeps, cliffs, moguls, glades, chutes – name it and you will get it!

Though the mountains are quite steep, the ski resort has done a pretty good job in maintaining groomed, wide trails even at the highest points so that beginners and intermediates can also enjoy the picturesque views. 

Expert skiers looking for something more exhilarating can head over to the Spiral Stairs or Plunge trails and enjoy the thrilling vertical drops. 

There are plenty of slopeside hotels, townhomes, condos, and private vacation homes in the Mountain Village to lodge, and numerous options for fine dining. To enjoy some nightlife scene, head to Downtown Telluride.

Note: This post was provided to Purple Roofs by Globo Surf, but is not a paid post.

Provincetown Summer marches on. . .

Carnival is this week in Provincetown.  The annual ‘end-of-summer’ celebration has a theme of Enchanted Forest. Highlights include Sunday’s sunset cruise, Monday’s pool party, Trixie Mattel live in the Town Hall auditorium on Wednesday and the Carnival parade on Thursday.

If you know Ptown, you know the fund extends into the fall, the season we call our ‘2nd Summer’.  Warm days and cooler evenings may Ptown a great place to visit in the fall with many events on the calendar including:

 

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2nd - Labor Day Weekend
Sept. 9 - 15 - Afterglow Festival
Sept. 12 - 15 - Gay Pilots Association
Sept. 20 -22 - Women's Flag Football Tournament
Sept. 26 - 28 - Tennessee Williams Festival
Oct. 3 - 7 - Mates Leather Weekend
Oct. 11 - 14 - Columbus Day Weekend
Oct. 14 - 20 - Women's Week
Oct. 20 - 27 - Fantasia Fair
Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 - Halloween Weekend

Ptown Dan and his partner Bob own the Somerset House Inn, an award winning Provincetown Bed and Breakfast.  Named the Best Bed and Breakfast on Cape Cod for 2018 by Cape Cod Magazine the Somerset House Inn is in the perfect Commercial Street location across the street from the water and walking distance to everything.  Check our visit our web site to make your reservations.  We look forward to welcoming you to Provincetown.


			

Loralei B&B – Booklyn Gay Bed & Breakfast

Loralei B&B - Brooklyn, New York

Loralei Bed & Breakfast is a 3 story Victorian home in Brooklyn, originally built in 1904, an amazing era when the NY subway was new, and electric lights lit up Brooklyn’s Luna Park in Coney Island.

The Loralei B&B sits among hundreds of beautiful, historic homes along wide, tree-lined avenues in Ditmas Park, a historic district with one of the biggest groups of Victorian homes in the USA.

When guests arrive, they are always surprised at this historic Victorian enclave in the heart of New York City. Lance & Rob have owned the home for many years, and they have carefully restored the interior of this lovely home.

As you enter the Loralei B&B, you step into the past – from the wrap-around porch with its stately columns to the parlor, sitting room and dining room, which are decorated with restored antique furniture and accented with beveled glass French doors.

See the Loralei B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Brooklyn Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Albion Manor B&B – Victoria Gay Owned Bed & Breakfast

Albion Manor B&B

Welcome to Albion Manor B&B – Victoria’s Victorian Jewel. We want your stay at Albion Manor to be the crowning touch to your stay in charming Victoria.

Albion Manor Bed & Breakfast is ideally located just 5 minutes from the Clipper, Victoria Express and Port Angeles Ferries, the ocean, downtown and Victoria’s major attractions and shopping.

Albion Manor B&B is surrounded by a beautiful, private garden, and features spectacular architectural details both inside and out.

See the Albion Manor B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Victoria Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Ten Things to Do in Gay Tampa – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Tampa - The Nomadic Boys

Tampa is a city packed with so many things to do for couples of all ages. We spent 4 days here and never once got bored.

There is always something happening in Tampa, with a festival to celebrate almost everything, like a Greek Festival, Italian, festivals for Margarita cocktails, cigars, cupcake and even a Mac & Cheese festival! The most famous is the Gasparilla pirate festival in January, which celebrates José Gaspar, a Spanish pirate who used to roam and plunder across the Gulf of Mexico.

For the latest events taking place in Tampa, check Visit Tampa Bay’s website, as well as the Visit Florida website. For romantic inspiration, continue reading below for our 10 coolest things to do in Tampa for couples, based on our first hand experience.

1. A stroll through history in Ybor City

Ybor City is Tampa’s historic neighbourhood, once home to a prominent cigar industry. It is named after Vicente Martinez-Ybor who in 1880 selected this spot as the base for his industry. Back then, this was a tiny isolated village. Mr Ybor attracted thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Italy and Spain, who came here to work and subsequently developed a strong Latino culture here. At one point, Ybor City become a prominent base for Cuban revolutionaries like Jose Marti and Paulina Pedroso.

After Mr Ybor’s death in 1896, his cigar industry thrived, reaching a peak in the 1920s, when there were more cigar factories in Ybor City than in Cuba. Sadly it started to decline after the Great Depression hit in 1929, and also due to the growth of the cigarette industry. This led to a mass exodus of people between the 1930s-1980s from Ybor City. However since the 1980s, Ybor City has had a huge renaissance, becoming not only a hotspot for tourism, but a popular nightlife area with an excellent gay scene on Seventh Avenue.

We highly recommend taking a walking tour with a company like Ybor Walking Tours to learn more about Ybor City’s fascinating past.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Tampa Travel Resources

Gay Melbourne – Keep Calm and Wander

Gay Melbourne

Located on the southern coast of Australia, where it’s the capital of the region of Victoria, Melbourne is a beautiful and adventurous city to visit. It’s known to those who have traveled there for a great many things, but the all-encompassing way to put it is that it’s simply a very fun city. It’s not all about sights or museums, pub-hopping or a national park – it’s simply a multi-faceted destination in one of the most fascinating places on Earth.

Still, it helps to have some specific motivation to go to a place, so here are a few particular reasons why you might want to visit Melbourne one day.

The Coffee Is World Class

Coffee might not seem like the most logical place to start, but this isn’t just any coffee. Back in 2014, Melbourne was actually voted the world’s best place for coffee, beating out more traditional hot spots like Rome and Vienna, not to mention some popular production places such as Colombia. As you might imagine, coffee that good isn’t just tucked away in a few little shops. Rather, it’s spawned a lovely café culture that exists throughout the city, such that one of the most charmed experiences you can have is simply finding a cheerful, trendy venue and sitting down for a hot mug.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Gay Melbourne Travel Resources

Where to Go for Your Gay Honeymoon – Pink News

Honeymoon - 123rf

A travel agency has compiled a ranking of best countries for couples on their gay honeymoon. The Latin America Travel Company evaluated global destinations according to six LGBT-focused criteria, each graded out of five points, to determine a country’s LGBT Honeymoon Ranking.

No country scored the top mark of 30 points, but two came very close. Canada and New Zealand top the ranking, each of them scoring top marks for the criteria honeymoon popularity, LGBT travel friendly, marriage equality, forward thinking and romantic setting.

The ranking only included countries that have decriminalised homosexuality, which remains illegal in more than 70 countries or territories around the world.

No Asian country was included in the ranking, despite the recent decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, and only one country in the African continent, South Africa, made the list of best countries for gay couples on honeymoon.

Argentina topped the list for destinations in South America. “We were thrilled to see Argentina rank in the top 20,” commented the travel agency responsible for the ranking, which specialises in travels to Latin America.

By Sofia Lotto Persio – Full Story at Pink News