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Travel Thursday Round Up. Where Did We Go In 2018? (Part 2)

I started off our previous 2018 travel summation piece, Travel Thursday: 2018 Trips That Were The Tops (Part I), with stating that we love our travel. When I published that piece on December 21st, it was at the beginning of a 19-day trip to the Pacific Northwest.  I'll share my travels to Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, and our continuing love affair with Fairmont Hotels over the next couple of months, but let's finish the recap our 2018 year of travel with Part 2 of our Travel Thursday Round Up.  

In no special order, here is the second half or our list with some pics and some text from the original posts. Click on the Travel Thursday to get the full content.


London, England

Taking the leap to travel overseas is a big accomplishment for some, but for others, you are pulled by some force to get on that plane and go for it.  Our writer from Philadelphia took the plunge to skip across the pond.  It was magical.

Travel Thursday: London, England - From Cursed Children to Gay Heavens

A year ago, I decided to buy tickets to see the Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This was both because of my being a major Harry Potter fan and also because right before that I had just had my first trip abroad. After realizing just how accessible the rest of the world really was, I was ready to explore it again.

And finally, earlier this month, the time to see the United Kingdom had come.



Smaller US Cities That Grabbed Us And Never Let Go.

My luggage has put on many miles, traveling somewhere new just about once every month, I get to see a lot of the country, but some of my favorite places this year were not the largest cities in the nation, but the still good sized cities that may not be on people's first choice to visit.  I have very fond memories from these four cities mentioned below, making new friends, eating great food, indulging in the arts, and thinking about moving to each and every one of them. I am not sure if I could hold one above the other.  In some cities I experienced some of the gay scene, met some great fellow rainbow family members, but others I did no ROYGBIV activities, even though they had things to offer, but instead soaked up what the city truly had to offer any human being.

Travel Thursday: It Isn't Just The Chicken That's Hot In Nashville, Tennessee

Travel Thursday: Did We Say Boise, Idaho? Why Yes We Did!

Travel Thursday: Portland, Oregon - Supreme Food Scene, Premier Brewing, & A Gay Night Life That Bares It All

Travel Thursday: Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Festival Stimulates All Our Senses



Key West

It's not the end of the earth, but it is the end of the road.  Key West, Florida is a place for anyone and everyone, people looking for something, and those looking for nothing.  I've been visiting Key West at least twice every year for the past 5 year as it is an amazing ride from Miami to the end of Route 1. One of my trips coincided with another one of our writers being down at the end of Florida.  This was the first time I would meet Devin in person. We shared a breakfast and some drinks during the trip, but if you read both posts, you will see we had very different experiences, and that's a great thing.

Travel Thursday: Explore The Water Sports, Gay Spaces, And Local Atmosphere Of Key West

At the southernmost point of the United States of America, there lies an island full of culture, fun, and small town atmosphere.

The island of Key West originated as a close-knit community and artistic hub before revamping into a vacation destination in the mid-twentieth century. On top of that, the island has a strong gay community and appeal for vacationers. So, if you’re looking for the best spot to plan your next vacation, here’s some info about why you should pick Key West.

Travel Thursday: When Key West Calls, The Ocean Key Resort & Spa Has The Answer.

In all my travels to Key West, I’ve always stayed with a very good friend.  Now that she has moved back to New Hampshire, It was time for me to find a different place to stay than a guest room. Since I had been to Key West many times, walked around, knew where all the hot spots were, I knew where I desired to be and at which resort I wanted to stay.

Ocean Key Resort & Spa at 0, yes, zero Duval Street was to be my home for the next three days and two nights.  Arriving at the resort, I was greeted by the handsome hockey knowledgeable valet, Jeremy. He was the first and last face I would see staying there and all others at the resort would follow his lead of having a pleasurable and helpful personality. Cara Johnson, Director of Sales & Catering, would later give me a tour of the picturesque resort, educating me on everything from the spa to the hand-painted ceiling tiles in the Hot Tin Roof Restaurant to the soon to be reconstructed Sunset pier.



San Francisco

We were fortunate to have two different writers experience San Francisco this year, one was "unexpected" and the other was hungry for the chance. 

Travel Thursday: The Ultimate Guide to an Unexpected San Francisco

David is one of our writers from southern California, so having his California take on the northern part of his state. 

San Francisco, the biggest and baddest city on the West Coast, is a must-experience destination that has been one of the key players in California history. From its majestic Golden Gate and Bay bridges, to the richness found in Chinatown and around its diverse neighborhoods, San Francisco is the city that will make you feel like you are in a different place with each corner you turn.

It’s the place I go to when I’m sick of Southern California and want to feel like I am not in California. I know that sounds weird, but that’s totally the feeling SF gives you. The bay area, and Northern California in general, comes with different sensibilities. So if you go there, know you aren’t in typical California—and don’t you dare call it ‘San Fran’ or ‘Frisco’—they’ll make you into clam chowder!

 

Travel Thursday: Embark on a Delicious Foodie Journey in San Francisco

Ryan, our New York City resident was able to get his Yankee bum over to the west coast and see how the Californians did things.

As a lifelong New Yorker, I scoff at the idea that any other city can compare to ours in many facets, one of which being the types of food my The Big Apple has to offer.

Yes, every city has their claim that they are the best when it comes to the diverse culinary scene they have, but I wholeheartedly believe that the only part of the United States that rivals NYC when it comes to food has to be San Francisco.


Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This past week found me buying a home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  I had been renting for about 5 years, traveling quite frequently, and coming home to one of the more accepting, relaxing communities out there. It was time to set down roots for at least another 5 years if not more. Within the embrace of Fort Lauderdale is an island city known as Wilton Manors, one of the gayest places (per capita) in the nation, and basically where they boys are.  I often write about what I know and I know where I live. 

Travel Thursday: When Home Happens To Be One Of The Best LGBTQ+ Places To Live In The US

I often write a Travel Thursday posts about one of my wonderful trips, going to Tel Aviv Pride, Puerto Vallarta Pride, visiting Scottsdale, Arizona, spending time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, enjoying a weekend in Key West, and so on (I do love my job!), but I also write about my staycations here, where I live, in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, Florida.  My trips are amazing, but staying home and enjoying what I have here is just as great.  When friends visit me from out of state, they always ask, what is it like to live in a Gay Mecca?  I guess when you live here, you don’t think about it.

Besides being a place that has 15 gay bars within 5 blocks, quick access to one of the best beaches in the world, and a climate with about 2 days of winter and the rest of the year it’s all summer, Wilton Manors, Florida just knows how to embrace the gay as well as embrace life.

Travel Thursday: Fort Lauderdale Has Something for Everyone, Especially Water Lovers. From Beaches to Boats to Boys to Bon Voyage.

Besides partying it up on the drive, enjoying great cuisine, and soaking up all of the Florida rays, people move to and visit Fort Lauderdale because of its healthy relationship with the water.  Being from Maine and enjoying the lakes, rivers, and the coastline of New England, the interaction one can have with water in Fort Lauderdale has been a great perk while living here as well as a great draw for tourists. 

Visitors and residents can clearly see that the nickname Fort Lauderdale: Venice of America is quite appropriate, for the city offers easy access to The Salt Life, with its busy cruise ship port, affordable and accessible water taxi program, watercraft rentals, and its world-renowned beaches


Remembering where we've been and what made those places special will invigorate us for our travel this year. If you know of a place we need to visit, let me know at adupuis@instinctmagazine.com or you can send suggestions or other story ideas to the magazine at customerservice@instinctmagazine.com

Trolls Used Gay Bloggers' Picture To Promote Pedophilia And Bait Conservatives

A gay couple’s travel blog was hacked and used to promote hate against LGBTQ people.

Over this holiday season, travel bloggers Karl Krause and Daan Coljin started to receive emails from their fans. These emails shared that their picture was being used to promote pedophilia.

“They were outraged emails,” Krause said. “They were saying: ‘How can that be? You are not pro-pedophilia. I know that.’”

NBC News reports that a Twitter user, under the name “Alex” and the handle @vaceyi, stole a picture of the couple kissing in front of a rainbow flag. That account then used the image in tweets promoting pedophilia.

“It’s frustrating to see someone misusing our image for political purposes — basically supporting an argument against the LGBTQ community with our work,” Krause told NBC.

The twitter account @vaceyi pushed the statement that “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation,” which sparked outrage from conservative news sources and twitter users. Many right-winged internet users took the bait as a serious argument.

 

That twitter account was then linked back to the infamous website 4chan. This happened because conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec reacted to the @vaceyi account with the following post.

“They are actually trying to argue that pedophiles are an ‘oppressed minority. Many warned this day would come.”

Later, a 4chan account user posted a comment asking, “Does [Posobiec] know he's being trolled by you guys and just going with it to look good? Or does he think the person tweeting this is serious?"

Eventually, Krause and his followers reported the @vaceyi account enough to have the account change its picture. Sadly, it then changed its profile picture to a stock photo of two black men kissing.

Now this past Thursday, Twitter has permanently suspended the @vaceyi account. This is due to Twitter’s rules against promotion of child sexual exploitation and impersonation.

"This type of deliberate attempt to undermine and disrupt the health of the public conversation has absolutely no place on our service," a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Coordinated activity of this nature — including running multiple accounts and adopting fake personae — is a violation of the Twitter Rules. We are aggressively taking action pursuant with our policies."

h/t: NBC News

Travel Thursday Round Up. Where Have We Been In 2018? (Part 1)

What I really enjoy about our Travel Thursday pieces is that we have been to all of the locales we cover.  We look to write about what we experience and what we recommend when we visit these destinations.  

As a way to finish off the year, we wanted to remember where we have been and what made those places special.  We'll share some of our top stories this week and then the other half soon.

In no special order, here is the first half or our list.


Denver

Denver, Colorado - It's Called the Mile High City and the Queen City But It May Also Be Our Newest Favorite Destination.

From the food scene to the investment into its downtown area and the visible growth of the city, Denver has our hearts, our minds, and our stomachs.

There are few places in the United States where I feel I would want to possibly move and call home.  The capital of Colorado is one of them.  Right up there with Seattle, Philadelphia, Key West, and Providence, Denver has a great presence, a welcome home feel when you arrive.  During that first walk in the city up 16th Street, I felt and experienced the diversity of the city.  Within the first 10 minutes of walking, I heard 5 different languages, men talking about their boyfriends, and people commenting about loving the city.  I did not worry about walking around alone, I bought Gatorade from a church group, I talked with strangers, and saw many “family members” being out and open and very comfortable with themselves.


Alberta Canada

Calgary Draws Us In With Its Plentiful Food Scene, Buzzing Arts & Culture, And LGBTQ Acceptance.

and

Edmonton - A Great Mesh of City and Country Living with a Hip Young Artistic Twist

We were lucky enough to experience not one but two great cities in Alberta Canada.  Edmonton  and Calgary were our homes and playground for three nights each.  Check out both links above, but we'll include our summation of Calgary below.

Calgary has emerged as a must-visit culinary destination with a buzzing arts and culture scene. Restaurants with chef-driven cuisine, classic and quirky theatre, and lively music events and outdoor festivals, Calgary is a vibrant city that is centered around four UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park - making it the perfect complement to any Alberta adventure. WE only had time for one park, looks like we have to go back again to complete the rest .. as well as to find our cowboy.


Maui

Our Time At Maui's South Shore Paradise - Fairmont Kea Lani

I personally have not been to Hawaii as of yet, but we have others on our staff that have enjoyed many aspects of Hawaii, but they always seem to go back to Maui. 

Traveling to Hawaii has been one of our loves ever since my partner and I started vacationing as a couple.  The ease of getting to the islands and the costs have become easier and easier over the years.  What we personally have found is that the island of Maui is our home away from home.  Our last journey had us experience the lovely Fairmont Kea Lani.


Las Vegas

Turn Up the Heat on Your Summer Travel! What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!

I personally have been to Las Vegas many times, but when I read this review, I knew I needed to go back and have a boys weekend!

If you can get to Vegas any time of year, it’s great, but if you can stand the heat and find a great deal on hotels and travel during the summer you need to go. It’s what Las Vegas was made for!

I recently went on a boys trip to Las Vegas. Being from Southern California, it’s a quick 3.5-4 hour car ride (5 hours with stops if you’re recharging a Tesla like us) or a quick 45-minute flight that is over before it even started.

We’ve been to Vegas many times before. For California folks, it’s the perfect amount of debauchery away from home. But this trip was a little different. We wanted to try and do things we hadn’t experienced in Vegas before.


Mexico

Puerto Vallarta Pride and the City's 100th Birthday Celebration

As we took our maiden voyage to Puerto Vallarta, we found the Pacific Coast city celebrating not only Pride, but also its 100th birthday.  What better time to be in one of the most visited cities in all of Mexico.  We could not wait to find out why so many Americans and other international tourists vacation and move to PV.

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, All-Inclusive, All Friendly, All Fun

What I liked about this large resort was that it still had a small feel to it.  The video below shows the size of the property, but you still had intimacy and privacy as well as you were able to find where the parties were. With it's size, they can offer such great amenities, but still know who you are as an individual and help you keep that individual feel by giving you the chance to customize your escapes, your own personal sound track, to help you make your room truly your oasis, and everything else imaginable.

There's More To Mexico Than Beaches & Tequila. Here's Our Time In The Amazing State Of Guanajuato.

Many times when you hear people vacationing in Mexico, the cities of Puerto Vallarta and Cancun seem to be the ones named.  The Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Pacific Ocean do call travelers to Mexico, but there's another region of Mexico that was calling us to visit. 

We recently traveled to the state of Guanajuato in Mexico for a friend’s destination wedding. While many people may imagine of sandy beaches or redwood forests when they think of the ideal destination weddings, Guanajuato, one of the most historic regions in Mexico, was one trip we simply could not miss.


We will share more of our travel round up next week.  But in the mean time, tell us where should we visit in 2019?

Head South for the Winter--and Keep Going Until You Hit Palm Springs

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—we LOVE Palm Springs! Whether it is for a quick boys trip or a nice romantic getaway, Palm Springs has you covered. One of the great advantages of living so close to one of the best gay hubs in the U.S. is that if you decide last minute to get out of town the desert is less than two hours away! It’s the perfect holigay!

There is so much to do in Palm Springs that no matter the time of year, you will get a much needed escape and you’ll be planning your next trip before you even leave.

On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I was pleasantly surprised how much the destination had to offer even if you are only there for one night. We planned a quick trip to watch one of our favorite drag icons--the skinny legend—Trixie Mattel and we ended up getting much more than we expected out of our adventure to Palm Springs during the winter.

STAY – Riviera Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a great place to stay for a quick overnight trip to Palm Springs, the Riviera is where it’s at! This luxurious resort is located right in the heart of Palm Springs and has so much to offer. The pool is beautiful, but if you want to beat the winter cold—the spa will hit the spot. The rooms at the Riviera are large, comfortable, and will make it hard to want to leave the hotel. The chic midcentury modern motif makes the Riviera the perfect desert oasis.

If you want to splurge a little and get a nice place, I definitely recommend the Riviera. Otherwise, an Airbnb might be the way to go if you don’t mind staying a little further away from the action.

EXPERIENCE – Trixie Mattel | Outlandish Performance Events

The main reason for heading to Palm Springs on a whim was to catch one of Palm Springs’ Outlandish Performance Events featuring Trixie Mattel, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. The events take place at the historic Camelot Theatre at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and are part of a season of LGBTQ+ acts that are a perfect excuse to get to Palm Springs.

Trixie’s final show of her tour Now With Moving Parts was just short of 2 hours and featured a mix of her folk music, comedy, and an extended traditional drag routine that was giving the audience LIFE! With 3 costume changes, Trixie definitely showcased why she deserves to be in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.

 

 

Outlandish is a series produced by Matt Farber, the founder of Logo. This season’s performances included John Water, Miss Richfield, Pam Ann, Randy Rainbow, and Baloney! San Francisco’s All Male Revue.

For more information on Outlandish Performance Events, visit: outlandishps.com

EAT – Rick’s Restaurant and Bakery

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to wake up and find a great spot where I can sit down with a nice cup of coffee and a good breakfast soaking in the day. We stumbled upon Rick’s after some quick Yelp reviews and when we arrived we saw there were crowds of people arriving. That’s always a great sign!

Rick’s is your typical diner, but what sets it apart from any other joint is that it has the biggest cinnamon rolls in Palm Springs…and possibly California…and possibly the U.S. I don’t know, I’m not an expert on cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are gigantic! Bigger than my hand and towering with a thick layer of gooey frosting—and they still serve it with a side of butter. It’s definitely shareable, but if you love your carbs…don’t share.

Their breakfasts are traditional and come in large portions, but try finishing them after you’ve already wrecked that cinnamon roll.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy place to grab a bite before you head back on the road or head to the Palm Springs Museum—check out Rick’s—and take the cinnamon roll challenge!

Check out Rick’s Restaurant and Bakery if you’re in Palm Springs!

EXPERIENCE - ROBOLIGHTS

Something really special about Palm Springs that many people may not know is that the city is a major attraction during the holiday season. Not only is the main strip on Palm Canyon Drive lit up in holiday spirit, but there is a major attraction that welcomes thousands of visitors per year to a residential area of Palm Springs. If you haven’t experienced Robolights, you HAVE to. Obviously it only happens during the holiday season, so if you’re planning a trip to the desert, why not forego your usual summer escapade and make the trip in December to check out one of the best holiday light displays you will ever see.

 

 

Since 1986, Palm Springs resident and installation artist Kenny Irwin has been transforming his 4-acre property into a surreal winter wonderland. The light display features larger-than-life robots that welcome you into their dreamlike holiday world with eccentricities and surprises around every corner. The light display is available every night during the holiday season from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., including holidays and rainy days. You are immediately transported into a foreign planet where mannequins, werewolves, repurposed materials, toilets, and over 8.4 million lights make your visit unforgettable.

 

 

Artist Kenny Irwin says:

Though ROBOLIGHTS is an extraordinary experience for people of all ages and back grounds to inspire imagination and creativity in people it also to encourage respect for the limited resources of our world in the form of sustainability that you see in the art made out of recycled items. At ROBOLIGHTS, You are taken into a parallel universe walking through immensely long zig zagging pathways that leads up to hundreds of giant robots, aliens & huge displays everywhere, space ships, rocket sleds and art created out of apx thousand tons of stuff including donated junk from over the last few decades that has come from family, neighbors, friends etc. Junk that would have otherwise ended up in a land fill but has been transformed into art everyone can enjoy.

If you go:

The house is located at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte, Palm Springs, California

There is a $5 suggested donation

Park at Ruth Hardy Park just 2 blocks from the house and take the 7-10 minute walk. Bundle up ‘cuz it gets cold and possibly bring a flashlight since there are very few street lights in this area.

Give yourself a good 2 hours to walk around and explore as much as you can. There are so many awesome visuals and interactive installations that your curiosity will make want to stay all night!

You can TEXT 1-760-774-0318 to make an appointment to see art inside year round in case you can’t make it during the holidays—lights probably won’t be on, but there is SO MUCH TO LOOK AT!

DRINK/DANCE – Toucans Tiki Lounge

One of the best spots to party in Palm Springs is Toucans Tiki Lounge where you will find crowds of locals mixed with out-of-towners drinking and dancing the night away. Toucans is at the beginning of the Palm Canyon Drive strip as if welcoming you to the heart of the gay Southern California desert. Toucans is every bit a tiki lounge with its giant tiki torches and tropical aesthetic. People dance under the cabana dance floor surrounded by go-go boys or hang out in the outside patio with their famous tiki hurricanes. Some nights a week Toucans hosts drag performances while other nights they host bear night, Latin night, and other dance parties. If you’re in Palm Springs, Toucans is a great stop on your night out while on gay holiday.

So if you’re looking for something to do during the winter months, don’t hesitate to head to the desert and make your holiday a Palm Springs holiday.


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Travel Thursday: Portland, Oregon - Supreme Food Scene, Premier Brewing, & A Gay Night Life That Bares It All

Living in Portland, Maine for fifteen years, I’ve always had the desire to go to the side of the country to see the other Portland - Portland, Oregon. Here we go!


Landing at PDX, I bypassed all the traffic and the Uber app and took the Max Red Line as it looked like it had a couple different stops within blocks of my hotel.  But the late night train ride was an experience as I met a couple of interesting characters and noticed several homeless people taking the ride with me. I think his name was Oscar, the homeless vet that chatted with me for 35 minutes of the journey.  We had an intelligent conversation, covered many topics, like conspiracy theories, Portland history, and that many people take the train from town to the airport not just to fly away, but also to do regular shopping.

I wanted to mention my interaction with the homeless at the beginning since that is what many hear about. Yes, there were a great deal amount of people that seemed to be living on the street, but my interaction with Oscar was the only interaction, words, communication I had with anyone of that demographic.  No one ever asked me for money, a hand out, anything. Did I look that grumpy and mean?

I parted ways with Oscar and even with a couple of big wheelie bags, it was a simple walk. The Duniway Hotel (www.duniwayhotel.com) right in the heart of downtown Portland, just steps away from Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Max Light Rail train lines, was the Hilton Executive Tower until a major renovation project turned it into a boutique hotel. It was a great home base for my carless visit (see photos at the end of the post).

Searching online as well as chatting with the front desk via text message string, I narrowed down my brunch choice to Tasty and Alder.  Being a party of me, myself, and I, I was able to squeak into a bar seat overlooking the kitchen, my favorite spot.  Since brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, I thought it would be best to eat a meal and a half to match the name. See the menu below for all of the options, but what I had was the Cowboy Breakfast (baked beans, skirt steak, Marianne’s salsa, over easy eggs) with a side of Maple Cumin Glazed Yams. If this was what the food was to be like in Portland, I need to pace myself for it was going to be a culinary delight.

The other eatery I need to mention was yet another that I found on a web search as well as being recommended by the hotel text service was Southpark Seafood.  I am not a seafood or fish lover, except for scallops and reviewing the online menu, there was a dish highlighting my desired protein. Since this was to be my decadent meal, I started off with the small plate of fried chicken + dutch baby (with maple syrup and peanuts). Think of an elevated chicken and waffles where the chicken is the true star and the waffle has taken the form of a semi flaky pastry. Divine. I opted to have a dark drink with the fried food in the form of a ginger old fashioned, but with the scallops, I chose the tequila cup, which was one of the best drinks I have ever had. period. And truly, the Grilled Scallop large plate (grilled and pureed cauliflower, delicata squash, red onion with apple cider glaze) was one of the top 4 meals I have ever eaten. ever. The flavors from the food and the drinks just hit my palate perfectly.  This will be a stop I make again when I return to Portland in the future.

Other eateries I visited and recommend

Jake’s Grill – This elegant and comfortable atmosphere was a great place to order the French Onion soup and the Sesame Seared Beef Tenderloin Salad. We did not choose wrong.

Q Restaurant & Bar – ask for the daily specials and check the times. The service was spot on as all worked as a great team.  See if you can get a reservation at the chef’s table/counter.

Jackrabbit – the bar/restaurant at my hotel the Duniway. Do the happy hour and order the deviled eggs.  We wanted to try more, but the eggs, with the beer specials, were very filling.

Growing up in New England, it’s a treat to walk around a western city with little to no confusion as they usually employed the grid plan or grid system when established. Portland was a great city to navigate as the streets made sense and the sights along the way were quite enjoyable like this Starbucks on Pioneer Square or the many food truck lots around the city offering a ton of fast and enjoyable options.

The ease of getting around Portland on foot was not an issue, but if you desire, the city has a wonderful and inexpensive public transit system, Uber and Lyft are alive and well, and there are/were e-scooters.  Although, these e-scooters will be taken off the streets as of November 20, 2018, they may return.

The 4-month e-scooter pilot program is coming to an end, and next week, more than 2,000 scooters will be taken off the streets by their parent companies.

 

 

Portland is a drinking town, well, at least it was when I was there.   Little did I know, it was Portland Cocktail Week (https://portlandcocktailweek.com/), but I was in the mood for beer.  I had known that Portland and Portland were rivals when it came to the brewing scene (Portland, Maine winning more accolades) so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

We hit a good number of breweries, but remind you, we were just focusing on downtown Portland.  There are many in the area, but we stuck with the ones in the Pearl District.

Deschutes – with its rainbow painted bike rests out front and its pride beers, this place is very welcoming beer hall and restaurant.

Von Ebert Brewing – not only did we love the shorts as part of the uniform (the legs on these Northwestern men) the beers were great offerings with a simple presentation. The large vaulted ceilings made you think you were either in a warehouse or ski lodge.

10 Barrell Brewing – downstairs was great, but drinking their signature 10 item flight on their roof top deck, so very hard to beat.  I actually liked not being able to choose which items were on the 10 item tasting, and using the crayons to keep track of your faves was fun. This as our favorite spot.

Rogue – location is called Rogue Pearl Public House. We stepped in during trivia night, but were more focused on choosing options for our flights. For the non-drinkers, non-spirited root beer and lemonade are on tap and were delicious.


Now, if your drinks need to be in a gay bar, Portland has some very exciting options for you.

Scandals – I’m horrible at making small chat with new people, but if I was good at it, this would be the place to meet someone and have a good conversation. It would be my vote for where I would meet up with friends for a simple enjoyable night out.  http://www.scandalspdx.com/


 

Stag PDX – Well!  Who knew they showed peen in Portland! I foolishly asked the beyond sexy bartender, “they can show cock in Oregon?”  So the night just got a lot more interesting! There are two sections to the bar, one more to look at the boys dancing or the drag shows, and the other is a lounge area with pool tables. This was a great second gay bar to visit. https://www.facebook.com/stagpdx/


CC Slaughterhouse - Still on foot, I walked by CC Slaughters Nightclub and Lounge.  It looked like the biggest gay bar around, but they were charging a cover so I decided to go elsewhere.  As mentioned, I’m not the best at small talk and the volume coming out of there, I am sure it was as loud inside.  Yep, it looked like fun, but I didn’t feel like paying a cover with so many other free options around.


Silverado – Did I mention I don’t care to pay a cover?  Well, when the cover is $4 and the coat check is $1 and it’s to get into a strip bar … yeah, I paid that. The building was a nice complex and the boys were fun to look at.  I did have one dancer asking me to hang out later, threw his number in my phone, and what not, but I REALLY don’t pay for that. The bartenders were great and very kind (thanks Adam!). https://www.silveradopdx.com/


 

There was so much more to do in Portland, but I only had three days to experience a city of 660K+. Some other things I was able to experience during my time there

The Portland Saturday Market – located down by the river just south of the Burnside Bridge on Saturdays and Sundays only, this open market has a good amount of handmade items, small business owners, and food and alcohol. It’s also a great place to people watch.

The Portland Art Museum - Any time you can experience what the locals are able to show you about what they perceive as art.  May it be walking around town and viewing murals or visiting their museums, you’ll get a sense of what they appreciate.

Oregon Historical Society – This small space packs a great deal into two stories. A 150 year old humane society? Along with that fact, displays on immigration, agriculture, advancements, arts, science and so on gave visitors a great history lesson of Portland and the area.

Portland has moved itself into one of the top cities in the US I would have zero hesitation to visit again.  Next time I would like to experience more of the city and not just downtown, but if the rest of the city is like downtown, many more trips to 'The City of Roses' will occur. 


Here are some other pictures from my short 3-day stay in Portland, Oregon.

 

Meet the Gay Traveler Who is on the Adventure of a Lifetime

In 2016, a 30-year-old Mikah Meyer embarked on the trip of a lifetime—one that many of us would only dream of taking. He packed all his things into a van and set out for a three-year journey to visit all of the United States National Park Service Units in a single trip—that’s 417 total!

His motivation? To honor his late father’s memory and live life to his fullest. At the time of his father’s passing, Meyer was 19 and never officially got to ‘come out’ to his father who was a pastor. It wasn’t until the Nebraska native was 22 that he officially ‘came out’ and began his own internal journey of accepting being a gay man as well as a faithful Christian. He went on to form a group called “Queer for Christ” in hopes of sharing with other like-minded individuals that it was ‘okay’ to be queer and religious.

On the 11th anniversary of his father’s death in 2016, Meyer, believing that he would not receive support or funding for his trip to all of the National Park Units, made a choice to not be ‘out’ as he ventured on his way. Not knowing what the road ahead of him would look like, Meyer set out in search of clarity and closure with the mantra “Chase your dreams before it’s too late.” But nine months into his journey, Meyer received a message from a young, closeted boy who inspired him to continue the rest of his trip openly, honestly, and proudly. His travels have gained a lot of attention on Instagram because of the snapshots of the picturesque landscapes he’s visited.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you ever need a lake to reflect, this is your place: Crater Lake National Park.

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on

 

When his journey is complete, Meyer will have the World Record for the youngest individual to visit all the U.S. National Park Service Units as well be the first person to visit them all in a single trip. Oh, and on top of that, he’s a trained vocalist who tours churches around the U.S. singing and sharing his inspiring story.

I got to know Meyer in more detail as he shared his story with Instinct. He's shattering stereotypes by proving to the world that there is no such thing as a gay man who doesn't like the outdoors. In fact, right now as you read this, he’s hiking Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, and I hope he gets to read it too--the first chance at WiFi he gets:


How/why did this journey to visit all the National Parks begin?

I lost my dad to cancer when I was 19. He was just 58 and was a big road trip fan. Since he was in hospice and died during my freshman year of college, I never got those long father-child road trips to college my 3 older sisters said were so formative.

So a few days after his funeral I took a road trip to heal. Have done one every year since his passing, and wanted to do something “epic” at age 30 to share this lesson that tomorrow’s not guaranteed; that everyone should pursue their dreams ASAP because we might pass away sooner than we hope.


Where did you start and where do you plan to finish?

I began this journey at the Washington National Monument on April 29, 2016, and will end on April 29, 2019 just a few hundred yards from where I started: walking from the Washington Monument to finish atop the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


How many National Parks have you visited to date and when do you expect to be done?

I’m 368 parks done as of today, will have 30 left by the start of 2019, then will end with site 417 on April 29, 2019 (the 14th anniversary of my father’s passing).


How have you been getting around from place to place? Sleeping? Eating?

I’m living in a self-converted cargo van called “Vanny McVanface.” Doing the #VanLife by sleeping in hotel parking lots, on side streets, and anywhere I can stealthily park for free overnight. I drilled five 100-watt solar panels into Vanny’s roof so I’d have enough power to charge an efficiency fridge, and I eat out of there or fast-casual restaurants where I can plop down with my laptop and get a few hours of internet access.


Are you traveling alone?

I am. It’s definitely the hardest part of this trip. As an 11 on an extrovert scale of 1 – 10, I thought meeting new people constantly on the road would help me survive. But the large amount of time required alone in libraries or behind my computer to pull this off, and the lack of time with friends I’m not just meeting or catching up with, has become way harder than I ever expected.


What’s the longest stretch of driving you’ve done on journey?

As part of 65,000 road miles thus far, I drove the Cassiar Highway from Seattle to Anchorage and the AlCan from Fairbanks to Fargo. Both took over 60 hours of driving time and 7+ days, and gave me mad respect for America’s truckers! They also allowed me to finish some dystopian future, teen-lit trilogies I’d been looking forward to checking-off my Audible playlist—suspenseful stories helping keep me alert for moose on the road!


 What have you learned thus far on during your travels?

Gosh, where to start. The biggest thing has probably been that for this wanderlust--for someone who always thought the answers were “out there!”, I’ve discovered how much it means to me to have a community I’m actively part of. I’m looking forward to finishing this trip so I can cultivate the grass under my feet, rather than assume it’s greener somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong! I still love traveling. I’ve just learned the value of having a place to land beyond where the plane’s wheels touch down.


What have been some of the biggest obstacles for you?

Funding. Funding. Funding. I started this project having only saved up 1/5 the money experts said it would take. I had a Pollyanna belief that companies would all want to sponsor this journey--to donate a RV, insurance, and other expenses--and that turned out to be the furthest thing from the truth. The people on YouTube who get sponsored receive that financial support because they have huge followings. I’ve learned it doesn’t so much matter the substance of what you’re doing (when it comes to funding projects this way) as it matters how many eyes are watching. Cue Logan Paul…

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Water. So much water at Niagara Falls.

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


What have been some of your favorite locations?

The hidden gems. The places you don’t see plastered all over travel magazines or “Best Of” lists. Many of my favorite sites were ones I’d never heard of until I embarked on this journey to check off every single site the National Park Service manages. Sites like Dinosaur National Monument, Buck Island Reef National Monument, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore show you that sometimes the most beautiful things are the ones most people have overlooked.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My final night on Saint Croix provided my favorite sunset of Buck Island. Cheers, St. Croix, next: Saint John!

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


Single/taken?

“Hey Mom, this is the guy I was telling you about who lives in a van!” – Yeah, those words have not happened. I’m driving solo in Vanny’s cab.


Have you met anyone ‘special’ along the way who you might want to continue your travels with? Any friends?

I call myself an “Adventurer” because more than anything, I’m excited by the prospect of what could happen, who I could meet, what could become. So in my 20s, I chased a lot of magnetic connections made over a romantic weekend or a serendipitous meeting. After trying to date guys long-distance from as far as Memphis to Switzerland, my 30s find me more excited by the thought of meeting someone I can see on the reg and building something magnetic together.

I’ve definitely met people who provided that initial spark, whether of friendship or potential romantic relationship, and am open to them or a future someone being the person I share upcoming amazing places with; or at least making the long drives less teen-lit dependent ;)

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Horseshoe Bend Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


Part of your mission in your travels is to tour churches around the nation and share your experiences as an out gay Christian, how has this process been?

It’s been amazing actually. I started singing at churches because I was running out of money and was going to have to quit this project, but took the advice of a friend that suggested I “sing for my supper” using my professional singing background to fund the journey. After struggling horribly at fundraising while getting messages from people who called me a “lazy millennial” and told me to “get a job,” I found there was a large segment of Christians really energized by someone willing to share their existence as an openly gay Christian and reflect their belief that God loves all people—especially LGBT people.

Quite simply, I would not be here today was it not for the financial support of the 100s of churches I’ve sung/spoken/preached for across the country. So whether they were super excited to have a guest presenter who was gay, or were leery but still willing to give me the chance, I owe a huge word of thanks to the churches who’ve allowed me to share this message with their congregations, and in turn an LGBT-inclusive message with the outdoors, travel, and adventure communities.


Do you have an official ‘coming out’ story?

Oh Lawd do I have a coming out story. On National Coming Out day I posted some of it through this segment from my National Parks Cabaret, the rest will have to wait for the book:

 

 


Have you encountered any push back or negativity from these church visits?

I have had hecklers in person--who’ve come from outside the church I was visiting--telling me they were sent there to correct what I was doing. And especially on the internet, people feel more free to come for me (can someone please help anti-gay people learn how to turn off the CAPS LOCK key? I can predict the words of a message solely based on its ALL CAPS AND LACK OF PUNCTUATION).

But the churches who’ve invited me to present have been amazing. Some are already affirming of LGBT people, though my favorite are those who invite me because they want to start a conversation that hasn’t yet been presented in their church. Those are the ones where people especially pour out stories of their LGBT loved ones, because I think it’s the first time they’ve felt allowed to in that space.

Regrettably, I’ve yet to figure out a way to visit those churches that have already staunchly formed their stance against LGBT people. I’ve been turned down by a number who say they “welcome, but do not affirm LGBT,” which didn’t feel very welcoming…

My dream is to speak at Liberty University’s weekly convocation, because it’s essentially the ultimate current gathering of those who follow a theology that calls LGBT people flawed. I think of the 10% of their students, and those at so many Christian colleges, who’ve never seen an example of a faithful LGBT Christian, and would love to show them a person they’ve been told doesn’t exist. I know the school(s) will likely call me Satan or say I was there as a false prophet, but I just want to do whatever I can to help people not spend their lives hating who God made them, or marrying someone of the opposite gender in an attempt to cure themselves, as I for so long believed would be the solution to my “problem.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Usually I provide the rainbow. But at 5am on the Park Road, @denalinps decided it was gonna one up me!

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


What might you say to a member of the LGBTQ community who thinks it’s not possible to be queer and still have faith in a higher power?

The original followers of Jesus were as queer as they came. Hello, a group of 12 men traveling around together in the desert with a leader who can turn water into wine! Sounds like Palm Springs #SquadGoals

Honestly, the first Christ followers were radicals. These Jews who would come to be called Christians were ridiculed by society, jailed, and murdered because they preached a message of love and acceptance over arcane laws and hypocrites. 

Pretty “queer,” both in being outside the norm and in the lived experiences of many present-day queer people, if you ask me.

Jesus’ message and actions are consistently about acceptance and love for the outcasts of popular society. It’s people carrying on his message--often times those claiming to be the most holy of all--who have warped God into being about wealth, power, and shame. Very little has changed since Jesus preached that the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Jesus’ times) were misrepresenting God.

If you compare the love and acceptance of a pride parade to the churches who preach that God hates all of us and wants to send us to hell if we don’t adhere to their church’s specific interpretation of scripture, it seems pretty obvious that LGBTQ people are a lot closer to the original followers of Jesus than anyone else.


What happens when you are done with this travel adventure?

I can finally go on a second date!

Aside from returning to more normal things like sleeping in a climate-controlled room or knowing where I’m showering every day, I am very much looking forward to focusing on my personal life again after 3 years of total dedication to this project.

However, to build on this national parks journey, I will continue performing my “National Parks Cabaret” that has helped fund the project, and I’m really excited to have signed with both a literary and speaking agent as ways to help others live vicariously through this road trip so many have said “is my travel dream!”

My ultimate goal though, is to create a sort of “Queer Eye” follow-up, with a travel show that goes beyond the genre’s safe, typically straight white hosts. Utilizing diverse queers (myself and my African-American best friend from Memphis—who’s the most brilliant comic I’ve encountered) to showcase the world from not only a queer perspective (in all aspects of the word), but through the different lenses of someone who’s traveled the world, and his best friend who’s hardly made it out of the most forgotten parts of Memphis.

Netflix, if you’re reading, Torris and I are packed and ready.


Anything you’d like to add?

I’d love to come speak or sing for readers’ colleges, companies, churches, Gay Men’s Chorus or LGBT Center. Reach out at www.mikahmeyer.com/contact and we’ll find a pit stop down the road!

If you want to come say “Yass Queen!” at one of my current stops, I keep everything up-to-date on the Events tab of my “MIKAH” Facebook.com/mikahmey Page.


We’re with you every step of the way, Mikah!

Keep up with Mikah Meyer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube as he conquers this voyage of a lifetime.


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Travel Thursday: Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Festival Stimulates All Our Senses

California has been my travel destination about a dozen times, both in pre-adulthood and in my gloriously legal gay days.  The trips have been mainly to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, and once to Sacramento. The first three locations I have been to multiple times and with my trip in 2016, it was to all three. 

The goddesses must be rolling the dice in my favor in the big casino in the sky for this past weekend, I found myself in Sacramento, California. It was a meant to be trip, a trip to update me since my last visit to Sactown, almost 20 years ago.

If you’re looking for a new way to experience California, look no further than Sacramento. Once a quiet government town, the Golden State’s Capital City is experiencing a renaissance that has quietly transformed the region. The city is bustling with new restaurants, a thriving public art scene, exciting redevelopment and amazing weather to complement any activity. - Visit Sacramento

That was what I was going to be looking forward to, seeing how a quiet government town that I visited in the late 1990’s has transformed itself into a place of food, culture, art, and livelihood.

What better time to experience Sacramento than during the region’s annual Farm-to-Fork Celebration.  The festivities lasted all September long with farm tours, special dinners, street parties, culminating with the Farm-to-Fork Festival on Sacramento’s Capitol Mall during the last weekend. And then there is the big finale, a dinner on the city’s iconic Tower Bridge.  The drool was happening even before I stepped foot onto the plane. Let's see how the weekend began and where I ended up.


Lodging

Our home for the long weekend would be the The Kimpton Sawyer, (500 J Street, Downtown Sacramento). Just a brief 20-minute ride from the Sacramento Airport, this newly constructed Kimpton is home to the Sacramento Kings as it sits next to the Golden 1 Center. I’ve stayed in many Kimptons and they all have impressed, always with service, cleanliness, welcome-ness, and making you never wanting to leave. The Sawyer’s location could not have been better for what I wanted to experience while in Sacramento; art, the farm to for festival, and getting a better feel for the redeveloped downtown SAC.  That never wanting to leave feel was magnified as the property features a rooftop pool and bar (Revival at the Sawyer), as well as Echo & Rig’s second steakhouse location in the United States.

The Kimpton Sawyer is also conveniently located next to the Downtown Commons (DOCO) entertainment and retail complex.

Edibles.

Beer and barbecue were to be ingested during our first night in Sacramento and the choice of venue was Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse. Walking into the restaurant, you knew they took both beer and bbq seriously. Sacramento had a rich beer presence before prohibition and is now gaining ground back to recapturing its old title of “The Beer Capital of the West.” Having more than 60 craft breweries seems to be a great start in wearing that crown once again.

We loved the energy present at Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse and the assistance we received from the handsome Bennett Cross, General Manager.  Just get everything since it was all amazing (try all the sauces, too), but if you want some of the best smoked turkey you have ever tasted, seriously, it is here.

Beer

Another libations home you should wet your lips in is the Bike Dog Taproom.  There are two locations.  The one I rested my rump and worked out my liver at was at 915 Broadway Suite 200, next door to Selland’s Market Café (where I had a great meal and will share that in another post later this month).  Sitting there I met Jenny, who, besides giving me an amazing Wit, also gave me the lay of the land, what men are like in Sacramento, and what she’s looking for in a man. Did I mention the Wit? It was intense. The others were very good too as this was my second Mexican influenced beer.    IPA’s are not my cup-o’-tea, but I will drink them to compare, love the doubles and wished I was there for Bike Dog’s seasonal triple Bigger Boat.  Jenny and Bike Dog, thanks for a great time during my weekend.

Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Celebration.

6th Annual Farm-to-Fork Festival - Designed to showcase where our food and drink come from, Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Festival has grown to be one of California’s most- anticipated food events of the year. Hosted on Sacramento’s iconic Capitol Mall, the admission-free festival boasts over a half-mile (and more than 80 vendors) of local food, beer and wine, along with exhibits from farms, ranches and other food and ag vendors. Attendees will also find live music, cooking shows and a butchering competition on several demo stages and much more. The 2017 Festival attracted more than 60,000.

The largest commodity coming out of Sacramento County is wine grapes, so when in Ro … when in the Clarksburg wine country, you have to drink wine. Bogle Vineyard, just 15 to 20 minutes outside downtown would be where we got our taste of Sacramento, California wine.

The Bogle location was separated into three major areas, the tasting room downstairs, an upstairs private wine tasting room, and the lawn area with family and adults only area. We entertained our taste buds with 10 different wines, accompanied with some cheese, crackers, meats.  Needless to say, I came home with two new favorites.

Bring a blanket, some goodies and enjoy a bottle or two of the one(s) that tasted the best.  The tasting was great, listening to the explanations of the wines was educational, but enjoying the wines while sitting on the Bogle Vineyard’s grounds with friends was the most relaxing time of the weekend. I’m closing my eyes and remembering that moment now.

Fine Dining Restaurant

Dinner at Ella Sacramento was not an eyes-closed moment for the sights and colors at one of Sacramento’s best downtown fine dining locale are ones to enjoy. Founder Randall Selland, known to be an integral part of Sacramento’s farm- to-fork movement, ensures that his restaurant’s menu is designed around the farm-to-fork mentality. After eating at Ella, it is clear why it is a staple in the region’s dining scene.

Other things to do.

We optioned to do one of the Sac Tour Company’s offerings. Wide Open Walls (Sacramento’s mural festival) walking tour took us around town to see a multitude of creativity splashed along walls, alleys, dumpsters, and entryways.  Sac Tour Company provides walking and running tours that help visitors and locals explore Sacramento and get a sense of its culture, all at the same time.  The weather, which I am beginning to think is beautiful all the time in Sacramento, was perfect for a quick walk around town.  More murals are added every year, some change, and some go away, so the tour changes every year, too.

Tower Bridge Dinner

This has to be one of the highlights of the culinary scene and maybe in all of Sacramento as the Tower Bridge Dinner finds 800 people dining on one of the most iconic structures in all of the city. It is the culmination of the month-long Farm-to-Fork Celebration.  The the region’s top farmers and chefs must work for a whole year to plan such an event. Six is my lucky number so attending this celebration in its sixth year was just meant to be. The Sacramento’s Tower Bridge Dinner was led by famed Chef Jeremiah Tower.

Mike Testa, President & CEO, Visit Sacramento introduces U.S. Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Chef Jeremiah Tower at the Tower Bridge Dinner.

 

 

Recognized by Martha Stewart as “a father of American cuisine,” Chef Tower is renowned for leading the kitchen at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where the insistence on fresh and local ingredients quickly gained notoriety. Chef Tower will collaborate with chefs and farmers from the greater Sacramento area to make the 2018 dinner truly unforgettable. The late Anthony Bourdain produced a documentary on Tower that is available now on Netflix – The Last Magnificent.

 

Not only is the Tower Bridge Dinner an amazing night out for 800 people, it also serves as a critical fundraiser that feeds back into the system. A portion of the proceeds help pay for the free Farm-to-Fork Festival on Capitol Mall that attracted more than 65,000 people in 2017. Last year, Visit Sacramento also utilized a portion of the proceeds to fund the first in a series of scholarships for CAMP students, children of migrant farmworkers, at Sacramento State.

After dinner, we left the bridge to walk along the Sacramento riverside to partake in the Tower Bridge Dinner Dessert on the Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade.  If we were not stuffed already, this made us overflow.


The amount of new friends I made, the amount of food and wine I ingested, Sacramento will not be forgotten any time soon.  I do think that I did just scratch the surface of this city and will return soon.


Here are some of my other journeys in California that I have shared on Instinct Magazine.

Travel Thursday: The Wine Valleys Of Sonoma & Napa. Don't Choose One Or The Other. Do Both!

Travel Thursdays - Sonoma & Napa Valleys. Wine All You Want. It's What They Do Here.

Travel Thursdays – Falling In Love With San Francisco

Travel Thursdays - Los Angeles Calls, We Listen.

Here are some other pictures of my trip to Sacramento.

 

  

Thanks to the following

Facebook: @VisitSacramento, @FarmtoForkCapital

Twitter: @VisitSacramento, @SacFarm2Fork


IG: @VisitSacramento, @SacFarm2Fork

 

Travel Thursday: Maine Labor Day Tradition Mr Gay Ogunquit Turns 40

Sometimes you just need to just go home to get recharged. Luckily part of my home for 13 years while living in Southern Maine was a little beach town called Ogunquit. 

The name of the town is a little different, pronounced O–Gun-Quit, or if you ask Edie the Entertainer, host of Zumanity in Las Vegas, it's pronounced O-Go On-Quit.  However you want to pronounce it, Ogunquit, Maine is one of the gayest places in New England.  If you had to name the top three places to enjoy being gay with other gay people in New England, it would be Provincetown, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island, and Ogunquit, Maine.

I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate many summers in Ogunquit. The town has been celebrating being LGBT longer that I have been alive.  One of the town’s celebrations is just about as old as I am as this year marked the 40th year of the Mr. Gay Ogunquit competition. 

Before the competition began on the beach, one of the hosts of the event from the Mainestreet bar in town polled the crowd to see if there were competitors from previous years.  Hands went up from multiple participants from the early '00s and the ‘90s.  It’s a great simple event where anyone can participate in the fun gathering where contestants parade in front of the judges, run down to the Gulf of Maine/Atlantic Ocean, and then jog back up to the judges while glistening and suffering from shrinkage for their final review to hopefully place in categories like Best Buns, Best Package, Best Legs, Best Chest, Best Personality, and Best Overall.

What keeps this competition fresh and new is that it is a tourist town.  Over the years, contestants have been local as well as from all over the country and the world.  We love hearing French, German, Spanish, Tagalog, etc. being spoken on this little gay beach in little ol' Maine.

Here are some pictures (thanks David Sullivan Photography) and videos from the event.


Thanks to the DJ, we had some great tunes before, during, and after the competition.

 

 

 

 

 

This contestant won for best legs.

 

 

 

 

As the event closed, even the drag queen hosts took to running the sand runway to the water and back.

 

 

 

 


Yes, anyone can participate and me as a bear thought about entering and throwing a wrench into the buff and ottery mix.  I haven’t seen many bears participate over the many years, but it’s open to anyone, but contestants are also sought out by organizers. There was some hair present this year, but many were of the more fit and trim crowd.  Maybe if there was a Best Belly category which could go either way to a bear belly or an ab show, maybe I could have won a category. As to the judging, with finding out that there were previous participants, I would have also varied the judges in their demographics, by inviting previous years’ contestants to be judges.

Being gay in Maine was an enjoyable experience, but it would have been very different if I did not have my summers in Ogunquit. I often try to get back there to see friends and acquaintances.

Ogunquit is great any time of the year.  It all depends on what you are looking for.  From a leaf peeper’s hub for exploration, to a beach town during the summer months, to a beautiful winter getaway, people in mid-New England, Montreal, and New York know that this local gay vacation spot always offers a good time, especially Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve.


Ps.  

If you are looking for other places besides the beach and Mainestreet bar, definitely check out:

Restaurants:

So Zap, So Zap is an Urban Thai Kitchen that serves foods from all over Thailand. It takes the most popular and traditional flavors from every corner of the country and combines them into a multitude of  mouthwatering goodness. Located on Route 1 and next door to Mainestreet, it is the perfect location to enjoy a bite to eat and jump back into enjoying town.

Roberto's - Reservations are welcomed here (open table or call), but we tried our luck and were able to eat at the bar with an amazing bartender John.

If you are looking for Italian restaurants in York County Maine there is only one place you need to know about Roberto’s! We have a beautiful menu of your favorite Italian foods cooked authentically to give you the real taste of Italy that you crave! We serve the Italian food in York County Maine that makes even a Wednesday night a special occasion!

Place to Stay

Bourne Bed & Breakfast (B3).  Besides its quaint size of 7 guest rooms, the location is perfect.  B3's placement equidistant from the center of Ogunquit Village and picturesque Perkins Cove makes it ideal for explorers.  Both destinations are just a 5 minute walk from B3 and in both areas of town, you will find convenient simple dining next to some of the best eateries New England has to offer tucked between shopping, art galleries, and other tourist delights. The Bourne Bed & Breakfast is under new management and we wish Jimmy and Brian the best.  Travelocity reviewers seem to like them.

 


h/t:  https://www.mainestreetogunquit.com/

http://www.dsullivanphotography.com/


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Sopping Wet Men Ran In Tight Red Clothes This Weekend For Red Dress Run 2018

A bunch of folks had a lot of fun this past weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana.

An annual event that a lot of locals and tourists have fallen in love with is the Red Dress Run.

According to Nola, this event is a charity event that ends up benefiting more than 100 charity organizations.

The event happened this past Saturday (August 11) and hundreds of people, men and women, gathered to take part in the two-mile run. But what set this event apart from other charity runs? Everyone, men and women, were wearing red dresses and outfits.

Despite some rain, everyone had fun running, dancing, and drinking in their clothes and we have a bunch of pictures below to show just how much fun they all had.

Doesn’t hurt that a lot of them men there were looking VERY good.

 

It’s a sea of red on Bourbon Street today for Red Dress Run!

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h/t: Nola

June and in America Isn't the Only Time and Place to Celebrate Pride

When it comes to Prides, do you stay local? We use our travel pieces to share with you our own personal experiences.  Our writers are on the go and visiting these places they write about.  In the past year, I personally have visited two great locations during their pride celebrations.
 
 

International Prides are amazing with so much energy, freshness, activism, and foreign men.  We branched out from the US covered in the above two posts, but is it time to explore outside of June, too?

These FIVE international Pride events continue to spread love and equality through August and September in some of the most sought-after locales. From boat parades in Amsterdam to drag shows in the Dominican Republic, these celebrations will not disappoint. 
 
Amsterdam Gay Pride — July 28 thru August 5
 
We missed the boat on this one (pun intended) for this year, but we can still plan for next year!  This unique European celebration is different from all the rest as their parade involves hundreds of decorated boats that sail through Amsterdam’s canals. More than 500,000+ spectators line the canal and watch as these vessels sail through the Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amstel Rembrandtplein and Paardenstraat areas. 
 
For more information, visit www.pride.amsterdam/?lang=en

 

CSD Berlin — July 28 
 
Also known as Christopher Street Day, this celebration is one of the biggest gay Pride events in Europe. This one-day event focuses on the fight for equal rights for same-sex marriage throughout Germany. The parade takes place around Kurfürstendamm street and an abundance of street festivals and dance parties can be found across the city. 
 
For more information, visit www.csd-berlin.de

Copenhagen Pride — August 13 thru August 19
 
Copenhagen Pride takes place around the Town Hall Square, where thousands of colorful people line the city center for the Parade on Saturday, August 18. Multiple parties will also be taking pale throughout the city. Fun Fact: Copenhagen Pride will be hosting World Pride in 2021!
 
For more information, visit www.copenhagenpride.dk/#!/en/home

Caribbean Pride — September 15 thru September 22
 
This year CHIC Punta Cana is excited to bring back their second annual Caribbean Pride Week. This celebration of fun and inclusivity will include performances from world renowned DJ’s such as DJ Citizen Jane and Johnny Dynell, as well as electric drag performances from Toronto star Miss Conception. 
 
Check out our Travel Thursday: CHIC Resort Won Us Over With Its Staff, Relaxation, & Luxury post we did last year as well as the video of their weekly foam pool party and imagine it LGBT-ified.
 
For more information, visit www.caribbeanpride.com

Curacao Pride September 27 thru September 30 
 
Curacao Pride is a five-day celebration with plenty of parties and activities for both the local and international LGBTQ travelers. The highlights of the event include a Pride Walk, Beach Party and Pride Happy Hours. 
 
For more information, visit www.curacaopride.com

Where have you been out of state and out of country and out of June?  What as the best non-American Pride you've attended.  Help us plan the rest of this year and next!


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

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