Traveling on the EDGE: Where to Go in 2014, Winter
Part one in a four-part series, EDGE's travel editor Matthew Wexler scopes out 12 months of adventure, relaxation and surprises for the LGBT jet setter.
JANUARY -- COLORADO
The air may be thin in much of Colorado, but there was enough sense to pass a law allowing same-sex civil unions in May 2013. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before the weed-smoking Boulder State gets on board for full-on marriage rights. In the meantime, hit the slopes at the season's premier LGBT ski weekend or travel off-season for great deals, cultural happenings and mountain adventures.
Where The Snow Bunnies Go
Contrary to popular belief, gay life does not end in your 30s. Just look at Aspen Gay Ski Week, celebrating its 37th anniversary January 12-19 with a special appearance by comedian Mario Cantone ("Sex and the City," "Laugh Whore") as well as requisite hot tub parties and mountain antics. Proceeds benefit the Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund, which distributes funds to such notable organizations as the Trevor Project and the Human Rights Campaign.
Ride ’em Cowboy: From mountain ranges to ranches, Colorado’s southwest enclave of Telluride has gained major momentum over the years and now boasts several off-season festivals including Mountainfilm in Telluride (May 21-26), Telluride Balloon Festival (June 6-8) and Telluride Yoga Festival (July 10-13). And, of course, Telluride has its own Gay Ski Week - February 21 - March 3.
Quirky Digs: Add Denver to your Colorado expedition and hunker down at the Curtis, a DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, which is just steps from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The hotel is decked out in pop culture bling, with each floor dedicated to such themes as "One-Hit Wonders" and "Big Hair."
FEBRUARY -- VIENNA
Who are you calling "wiener schnitzel"? A glorious combination of old and new, Vienna is rich in culture, architecture and romance. You’ll discover magnificent edifices and stunning examples of baroque and art nouveau within the Ringstrasse, the circular road that surrounds the city.
The Vienna State Opera has been a musical institution since 1869, but if it’s local flavor you want, visit the Naschmarkt, where tourists and locals alike gather for gastronomic adventures and an eclectic flea market every Saturday.
May I Have This Dance?
A Room with a View: If you’re craving opulent luxury, look no further than the Hotel Sacher, founded by Eduard Sacher in 1876. The hotel was taken over by Hans Gürtler in 1930 and has remained in the family ever since. Be sure to indulge in Vienna’s most famous dessert: the Original Sacher-Torte.
Last Meal: There are meals, then there are transformative culinary experiences that last a lifetime. Restaurant Steirereck, located within Stadtpark, is the latter. Prepare for a multicourse, visually captivating tasting menu that will leave you awestruck. For a more affordable experience, visit Meierei (Milk Bar) on the lower level.
Balls to the Wall: Classic Viennese balls date back centuries and honor the classic waltzes and formal affairs of a bygone era, but this celebrated tradition has also been embraced by the LGBT community and will give your average Pride party a run for its money. The Rainbow Ball, held this year on February 22, follows the classic format by opening with the polonaise followed by the waltz, foxtrot and samba. For an alternative take, Miss Candy hosts the Rosenball on February 27 at Palais Auersperg.
MARCH -- MEXICO
Just when you’ve had enough of the gloomy-weather blues, pack your bags and head south of the border to Mexico. Specialty cruises and properties offer the LGBT traveler exclusive access to exotic locales, warm waters and plenty of rest and relaxation to rejuvenate after a long, cold winter.
We Are Family
Cruise: Sweet CEO and founding partner Shannon Wentworth is recognized as one of the top leaders in LGBT travel innovation, and her travel company’s lesbian-centric vacations, cruises and festivals are the hot ticket for any woman looking to escape the daily doldrums. This March, guests will board the Norwegian Star for a seven-night cruise through the Mexican Riviera. Cozumel Palace Resort is their May destination, with special appearances by Frenchie Davis and comediennes Jennie McNulty and Shann Carr.
All-Inclusive: Put your wallet (and all of your mobile devices) in the safe and head to the beach at one of the Grand Palladium Resort properties located on the Mexican Riviera. For LGBT family fun (yes, we’re having kids now), the resort features children’s favorite Raggs with special appearances, live shows and other family-oriented activities. For an adults-only escape, the Royal Suites Yucatán offers a five-star experience, including butler service, eight à la carte restaurants, 26 bars (count ’em) and three adults-only pools. Serenity awaits.
Next installment will include Madrid, England and Toronto... stay tuned!