Portland, Oregon Insider Tips

9 11 2017

Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineHere a few Portland, Oregon insider tips from a reader. We occasionally hear from our readers about their favorite spots in our favorite gay-friendly cities. This was submitted by loyal, long-time subscriber Deborah Wakefield.

If you’re heading to Portland and staying downtown, here are some nearby recommendations. On the MAX light rail system, you can ride over to the Lan Su Chinese Garden (the blue, red and yellow lines all stop at the Old Town Chinatown stop, which is the one you want to use for the garden). The garden is one block west (away from the river) of the MAX light rail station. The garden is beautiful and there is a nice tea house on-site that I recommend.

Powell’s City of Books is about a 10-12 minute walk from Pioneer Courthouse Square, which is is the center of downtown. If you love bookstores, I would definitely check this one out—it’s the world’s largest. It’s open until 11 p.m. every night, so you could go after dinner even. If you’re interested in rare books, take a peek into the Rare Book Room (it closes at 7 p.m.). I recommend using the entrance to the store that is located at the corner of Couch Street (pronounced “Kooch,” if you want to talk like a local) and N.W. 11th Avenue. There, you’ll see the Pillar of Books sculpture that includes the ashes of one very loyal Powell’s customer. He wanted to be buried at Powell’s, so his ashes were mixed into the concrete used to make the sculpture. That entrance also takes you directly into the Orange Room, where you can pick up a map of the store.
Two blocks from Powell’s is Cacao. If you like chocolate, it’s a great place to stop.  I highly recommend the drinking chocolate, but get the small-sized cup, as the chocolate is super-rich.
Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine
Further afield, I recommend seeing the Japanese Garden, located in Washington Park. They are close to downtown (about a 7-minute drive from downtown hotels). You can get there on public transportation too, but you’d have to ask your hotel concierge to sort out the route for you).
For shopping close to downtown, there’s the Pearl District, which you can get to on the Portland Streetcar (catch it going into the Pearl District on Southwest 10th Avenue; it comes back downtown on 11th). There are stops for the streetcar every few blocks on 10th and 11th and the cars run repeatedly, so you can show up at any stop and usually never wait more than 15 minutes. There is also a lot of great dining in the Pearl. If you want to try a good Portland microbrew, Portland’s oldest craft brewery—BridgePort Brewing—is in the Pearl.
Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine
A little farther out is Northwest Portland/Nob Hill. This is also reachable via the streetcar, which goes through the Pearl and then on to Northwest/Nob Hill. If you get off at the streetcar stop on Northwest 23rd Avenue and walk toward Burnside Street, you’ll pass dozens and dozens of great shops and restaurants. Jo Bar & Rotisserie is a good one for lunch, and its sister restaurant (and next door neighbor), Papa Haydn is the best for desserts. Another of my favorites on this shopping strip is Moonstruck Chocolate, a Portland-based chocolate company.

If you’ll have a car and can get to the east side of town, I recommend Biwa Izakaya (Japanese small plates; get the black cod, if they have it that night), 215 S.E. 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214; Toro Bravo (Spanish), 120 N.E. Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212; and Pok Pok (Thai street food; the chicken wings are fantastic), 3226 S.E. Division Street, Portland, OR 97202.

If you have tips to share, please let us know! And don’t forget to subscribe to ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine. And here are a few more Portland, Oregon-related pieces in our blog.
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What’s New in Key West by Dennis Hensley

8 11 2017

Dennis Hensley Key West update on a podcast and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley was recently in Key West, Florida. He had planned to post a collection of short interviews he did with the people he met. Then Hurricane Irma happened. He did manage to organize two interviews: One with an openly gay man who ran a small tour company. And another with a woman who’s been tirelessly working to promote Key West for years. Here’s Dennis’ report.

Cody White, Passionate Key West Resident

One of the people I met and interviewed while I was there was Cody White who until recently ran a small tour company with his husband RyanListen to the podcast here. In the wake of Irma, the pair decided to focus on other endeavors … but I spoke to Cody before the storm over blizzards at a Dairy Queen not far from the gay resort I was staying at, The Equator. We talked about how he ended up in Key West, what it’s like to have an Airstream trailer, Key West’s passion for costume parties, how tourists react when they learn he’s gay and why Key West is the place for him. Listen to the podcast here.

Dennis Hensley Key West update on a podcast and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineCarol Shaughnessy, Newman Public Relations, Key West

Met lots of awesome people on my trip to Key West, FL in August for Man About World magazine. One of them was local writer and publicist Carol Shaughnessy. Listen to the podcast here. Over breakfast with our small group of journalists, she regaled the table with the story of Mel Fisher, the legendary treasure hunter who spent 16 years combing the waters around Key West for treasure from a Spanish ship that sank in the 1600s.

It was such an amazing tale–complete with a $450 million ending–I asked Carol to tell it again on the podcast. We also talked about the giant rainbow flag that went from the Atlantic ocean to the Gulf of Mexico down Key West’s main boulevard and the spirit of Key West and how the community supports people in their dreams, no matter how out there they may be. I’ve heard from Carol since Irma and she said that Key West’s motto of “One Human Family” if in full display as everyone works together to get back to normal. Listen to the podcast here.

More from Dennis Hensley on ManAboutWorld here.





What’s Hot: Charleston, SC

6 11 2017

Middleton Place in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineWelcome to Charleston, South Carolina, y’all. Down South you’ll find an unexpectedly fun LGBT travel option, one where horse-drawn carriages wheel down cobblestoned streets lined by stately Antebellum mansions. This city has a storied past and a bright future, filled with thoughtful perspective of its deep history dating back to 1650 and a rich LGBT life. It boasts fine luxury accommodations, delicious Southern cuisine, lively nightlife and a wealth of activities that will give you the true Charleston experience. Here are our favorites from our visit to the heart of the Lowcountry.

BELMOND CHARLESTON PLACE

The Belmond Charleston Place located in Charleston’s downtown historic district combines top-of-the-Belmond Charleston Place Suite in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineline amenities with a decidedly Southern flare. Upon check in you will see the hotel lobby’s 17th-century Georgian open-arm staircase, 12-foot crystal chandelier and Italian marble throughout. Guests with a little extra budget should consider a room on the Club Level; here, along with a great city view from the hotel’s top two floors, you’ll get special perks like exclusive access to the lounge for complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon tea and an ideal spot for a nightcap. Visitors can look forward to the hotel’s full-service European-style spa and the hotel’s award-winning Charleston Grill. The knowledgeable staff will help you find your way around Charleston. You’re immersed in the city’s history as soon as you step outside the hotel’s doors.

CHARLESTON GRILL

Rated as the third best fine dining restaurant in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, Charleston Grill serves a menu of contemporary Southern and cosmopolitan cuisine created by Executive Chef Michelle Weaver, with seafood and local ingredients, paired with a list of more than 30 wines. Dishes such as the seared foie gras with blackberry preserves and signature crab cakes offer a unique take on traditional options. Dinner is accompanied by a live jazz band nightly. Oh, and don’t skip dessert—the Brown Butter Apple Cake alone is worth the trip South.

BULLDOG LGBT HISTORY TOUR

A new addition to the city’s offerings is a look at Charleston’s history from the LGBT perspective. The Bulldog LGBT private walking tour takes visitors on a walk through history—one that’s ripe with LGBTs who were instrumental in shaping the city, living and dead. You’ll hear stories from the scandalous account of Dawn Langley Simmons, a well-known transgender author who turned society on its head by transitioning and marrying an African American man, to the infamous backstory of a familiar name forever memorialized in the words of Edgar Allen Poe—the beautiful Annabel Lee.

BULLDOGS GHOST TOUR

Of course as one of the oldest cities in the country, you know there will be ghosts. The Bulldog Ghost Tour takes visitors into the city’s original jail. Going in at the dead of night—in pitch dark—is terrifying enough, but along with the guide’s true-to-life stories of the prisoners that found their way here (including common criminals and prisoners of war), you’ll learn all about executions that took place here and who is said to still be walking the halls.Belmond in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

DUDLEY’S

At Dudley’s, the city’s sole queer hangout, expect a night packed with high-energy drag performances and a dance floor with a diverse crowd of the city’s inhabitants and international visitors alike moving en masse to a live DJ spinning pop favorites. Enjoy nightly drink specials and a changing calendar of weekly events. (We recommend getting there early as it fills up fast and there will likely be a line to get in.)

MIDDLETON PLACE

At Middleton Place visitors can take a stroll through the nation’s oldest landscaped gardens, catching colorful azaleas and camellias in full bloom. But this National Historic Landmark also gives a peek into a four-generation span of American history. Once owned by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Arthur Middleton, the property was formerly a working rice plantation. Though the plantation’s main buildings were set ablaze after the Civil War, visitors can still see the house museum where antique furniture, porcelain dishes and portraits from the family’s collection were saved and put on display, along with a dedicated museum to the African American slaves who worked there.

LEWIS BARBECUE

A visit to the South wouldn’t be complete without some authentic barbecue and all the fixins at Lewis Barbecue. John Lewis, former pit master at award-winning Texas BBQ joint La Barbecue, brings his custom smokers to prepare the perfect BBQ’d beef brisket, pork spareribs and beefribs.

Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineHOMINY GRILL 

James Beard Award-winning Chef Robert Stehling sets the scene of a scrumptious Southern meal with his take on classic Southern dishes like shrimp n’ grits, Charleston Nasty Biscuit and signature cocktails. The Hominy Grill is housed in a charming single family home that only makes diners feel even more like they’re enjoying a home-cooked meal.

MAGNOLIA’S UPTOWN DOWN SOUTH

Also located downtown in Charleston’s historic district, Magnolia’s Uptown Down South‘s chef duo Kelly Franz and Don Drake created a delectable menu of true Lowcountry cuisine infused with contemporary elements and fresh ingredients. Try the Fried Green Tomatoes or boiled peanut hummus for starters.

DARLING OYSTER BAR

Take full advantage of Charleston’s close proximity to the Atlantic and enjoy fresh seafood—specifically Darling in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineoysters at Darling Oyster Bar. Executive Chef Jo DiMaio has it all covered for the picky eaters; you can order them fried, baked or raw. We highly recommend popping in for brunch and ordering The Captain. You may not even need to order oysters after that!

Aaron Drake, correspondent for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineStory by ManAboutWorld correspondent Aaron Drake.





CheckOut: Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

30 10 2017

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineTHE RITZ-CARLTON KEY BISCAYNE: TOP/BOTTOM LINE

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami is a luxurious escape that’s great for gay families, including those of us aiming to fulfill our guncle duties with a little extra help. Drop your kids off at Ritz Kids for a kickball game or an interactive marine biology lesson, and enjoy a cocktail by the adults-only pool. Or take your princ(ess) out for a mani-pedi, complete with complimentary shirley temples. Secluded on an exclusive barrier island, this Ritz-Carlton feels far removed from the other three Ritz-Carltons in Miami – it’s more private, peaceful, and family-focused. This is not your resort to have a crazy weekend to meet new guys. It’s a tropical getaway for you to share with your partner and family.

LOCATION

Convenient and private. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is just 20-minutes from the Miami International Airport, yet feels secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami. Key Biscayne is an exclusive barrier island, and this Ritz-Carlton is the island’s only hotel. Guests have front door access to hiking and biking trails of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It’s a 20-minute taxi or Lyft ride to the gay bars and clubs in South Beach.

RATES

Ocean view guest rooms start at $400. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is not an all-inclusive resort. For breakfast, snacks, cocktails, a private concierge, and a private kids room, add club lounge access. Offerings of snacks at the club lounge during our stay included raw oysters and sushi. Club level rooms with ocean views start around $700. If you’re bringing kids, Ritz Kids offers full-day activities for kids from 9AM to 3PM for $120. ESPA menu items include “THE Mens Facial” at $160 for 50 minutes and a deep muscle massage at $175 for 50 minutes. Our favorite, the 110-minute Tequesta Ritual is priced at $330. Prices for rooms and spa treatments lower during low-season (July to September). The Ritz Carlton Key-Biscayne spa also participates in Miami Spa Month (usually July and August) and even extends these discounted offerings to October.

ROOM/BATHROOM

Just renovated this past year, each of the 490 guest rooms now offer a lighter, more casual and open aesthetic. The new color-schemes more closely reflect the hues of blues and greens of the beach-front tropical landscape. We appreciated the convenience of bedside outlets during our stay. We also appreciated the efficiency of the layout for the marble bathrooms, though we wished there had been more space to place our champagne during our bubble bath. Rooms with oceanfront views include balconies that look over the resort’s two pools. Open the windows at night to be lulled to sleep by the waves. For the ultimate family escape, book the new Ritz-Carlton Suite, which includes 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, and 2 balconies offering panoramic views of the ocean.

AMENITIES

Testament to the quality of the hotel’s restaurants and spa treatments, guests return year after year, as do the local elite. The Tequesta Ritual, our favorite of the spa’s 3 signature location-specific treatments, is a 110-minute detoxifying ritual. The algae wrap, sticky at first, warmly envelopes you and awakes your skin even as your thoughts drift away. The aromatherapy massage and scalp massage bring you back into your body. Request Adrian. After getting re-centered at the spa, take a private class at the resort’s tennis center, or take a jog down the white sand beach to Florida’s third oldest active lighthouse.The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Enjoy a beachside cocktail in the St. Tropez style cabanas at DUNE, and if you’re feeling extra hungry and carnivorous, try their giant bison burger with foie gras. Keep an eye out for Gino, DUNE’s bartender who has been at the resort since the beginning, and ask him to make you his famous 3-rum mojito. The resort’s newest restaurant, Lightkeepers, offers coastal-inspired dishes, including a Sunday brunch with caviar and a full-room dedicated to desserts. Cantina Beach, the resort’s second oceanfront restaurant, offers Mexican food, South Florida’s largest tequila collection, and their own in-house “guacamologist.” Rumbar, their Cuban lobby lounge, offers rums, cigars, and live music Thursday through Saturday. Wrap-up your tropical escape with a complimentary photo shoot with staff photographers.

GAY FACTOR

This resort may not look like a typical gay getaway. Key Biscayne was Richard Nixon’s favorite vacation destination, no gay weddings have yet been hosted at the resort. But look closer, and you see that the resort has been made with a gay touch. Take a complimentary workout class with Mauricio, or ask Omar at the spa front-desk for some green-tea scrub he stashes away for family. Timothy Williams, the Spa Director, who is currently leading a re-imagination of the resort’s shops, tells us that part of why he has enjoyed working here is that the “Ritz Carlton has always focused on equality.” Tim adds that as our community starts to think more about where we want to take our children, nieces, and nephews on vacation, “nothing else compares to this property… nowhere else in Miami has a kids program like here.”

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

READY TO GO

For rates and reservations check out the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne,  Miami’s website.

ABOUT THE CHECKOUT

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please  let us know.  We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here. This hotel was reviewed by ManAboutWorld correspondent Allister Chang.





CheckOut: Chicago’s Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

21 08 2017

Chicago's Palmer house, A hilton Hotel in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThis year makes the 147th year the Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel is open and the rich history, distinguished service, with fine combed layers of subtle modern upgrades makes this property the place to stay in downtown Chicago. The current Palmer House is actually the third Palmer House. The first Palmer House opened in 1871 but burned down in the Great Chicago Fires. The second was completed in 1875 and the third (and current installment) was designed by Holabird & Roche and opened in 1925. One step into the decadent lobby is enough to make you gasp and grab your pearls. (Photo by David Cowan.)

Gay factor

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel is an extremely gay friendly hotel, situated in the heart of downtown and within close proximity to The Art Institute of Chicago, The PrivateBank Theatre (Where Hamilton is currently running), Symphony Center, and the scenic Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. The property is the ultimate launch pad into the artistic and cultural landscape of Chicago and also boasts it’s own unique History is Hott!!! Tour. Local historian Ken Price, named best historian of 2014 by Historic Hotels of America leads a sassy luncheon at Lockwood restaurant including a presentation of local curiosities and hotel museum relics followed by a tour of the storied art deco lobby, grand ballrooms and vintage artifacts throughout the hotel. Tours are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Rates

Rooms are quite affordable for downtown Chicago, starting out as low as $102 for their special “Escape to Romance” offer for couples (Upgrade to breakfast for two for $142/night). Prices go up seasonally, starting at up to the $285 during prime summer weeks. The key? Book early (but keep an eye out for specials and fun package deals.

Basics

We can recommend visiting the Palmer House Hilton year-round as the property offers something for everyone each season. Truly a city within a city, The Palmer House captures the essence and energy of Chicago. Check out the Magic Parlour to have your mind read, explore the History is Hott Tour, sip on a glass of specialty labeled bourbon, live it up over high tea at the Metz, or simply recharge at The Spa at Palmer House. The holidays are an especially magical time at the Palmer House when guests can sip on Yuletide tea service in the lobby, munch on a special brownie on National Brownie Day (the brownie was invented in the hotel in 1893), or take in the popular “Merry TubaChristmas – A Concert of Christmas Music” an evening of 400 tuba players in the Grand Ballroom orchestrated in honor of music professor and creator Harvey Phillips. The Lockwood team curates the farmhouse-style cuisine menu for their signature Lockwood Restaurant & Bar year round. Focusing on locally-grown ingredients from the hotel’s rooftop garden & apiary, Lockwood features new seasonal butters and Chef Mathew’s crave able Cheese Curds. Read the rest of this entry »





May Day is Lei Day in Kauai

25 04 2017

May Day is Lei Day in KauaiYep, you read that right! May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. But stop thinking what you’re thinking. Not that kind of lay. Sheesh. A lei is a Polynesian garland of flowers but it’s so much more than that. It symbolizes welcome, peace, love and much more (like the multifaceted word aloha).

Every May 1 the 50th state celebrates the lei with contests and events. The haku (a lei for the head) above sported by May Day is Lei Day in KauaiRaymond was created by Elvrine Chow, owner of Heavenly Hakus and the model’s mom.  Check out the many varieties of leis she produces on her Facebook page. She’s competing in the upcoming May Day Lei contest on Monday, May 1 at the Kauai Marriott Lihue (if you happen to be around!). If you visit Kauai, you can even book a lei-making lesson with the lovely Elvrine. Check out the Kauai Visitors Bureau for more trip-planning information about Kauai.

TTap here for more information about Lei Day in Kauai.  Lei day in the state of colorful history. Each island in Hawaii has a special flower that represents that specific island. The island of Hawaii, more commonly known as The Big Island, has the beautiful red blossom of the ohia tree, called the lehua blossom, for its flower. The island of Maui‘s flower is called the Lokelani and is pink. The island of Oahu‘s flower is called the Ilima. The Ilima’s color is golden and can be seen all across the island. Molokai uses a flower named the Kukui which has a green color to it. A smaller island named Lanai has a grassy flower called Kauna’o which is a yellow color. The island of Kahoolawe and its flower Hinahina has a silver-gray color across the top. The final two islands have unique sets of flowers.The color for Kauai is purple and the unique flower for Kauai is the Mokihana berry which is green.  The island of Niihau‘s “flower” is actually a shell called Pupu.

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Visit our Booth and Attend our Travel Panel at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show April 1-2

28 03 2017

Meet LGBT travel experts at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show, April 1-2Come meet the ManAboutWorld team at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show April 1-2 at the Dallas Market Hall.

ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato will moderate a fun, information-packed LGBT travel panel at the Show on Sunday, April 2 11:45 AM-12:30 PM.

Register here for a free ticket but hurry we only have a limited supply.

All are welcome! Our booth provides information (and free guides) for all travelers (gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and our straight ally friends). The panel is designed for LGBT travelers as well as travel professionals interested in learning about trends, destinations, tours, cruises and events. All you need is an open mind and the passion to travel. Join this interactive and informative panel with leading experts in gay, lesbian and LGBT family travel.

Our moderator, ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato leads a very well-traveled group in a lively discussion touching on new cruises and tours, not-to-miss events and up-and-coming hot spots around the world. Come with your travel questions. This is a session you won’t want to miss!

We’ll be covering the world of LGBT travel, which is big! But among the many takeaways, here are three:

  • Destinations to put on your must-go list in 2017 and beyond
  • Events around the globe that are popular with LGBT travelers
  • Travel opportunities for LGBT families
  • Cruises, tours and how best to work with a travel agent or tour operator
THE LGBT TRAVEL DREAM TEAM AT THE DALLAS TRAVEL SHOW!

Travel experts include:

Meet LGBT travel experts at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show, April 1-2








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