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David's Thoughts

by David Placher

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tampa’ll Tempt’ya

Florida with a cool, crisp edge.

The Tampa Bay Area sits on the west coast of Florida, including Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and the cities of Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Clearwater. Its population is over three million and continues to grow. Spirit, JetBlue, Delta, Southwest, and other airlines offer nonstop service for the two-hour flight, with competitive prices. The sunny and warm city of Tampa has a beautiful downtown that’s filled with hotels, high-rises, and historic old quarters, such as Ybor City and Old Hyde Park. Check out the famous tourist attractions – and of course its thriving gay scene.

Martha’s Vineyard is located south of Cape Cod off the coast of Massachussetts. It is known for its la-di-da residents, elegant cocktail parties, snazzy dressers who often sport the famous Nantucket red pants with navy blue shirts, and historic mansions. It is the 58th largest island in the U.S. and it is 100 square miles. Traveling to Martha’s Vineyard can be complicated and expensive – it’s only accessible by boat or air. Flying from Baltimore to Martha’s Vineyard can cost a shocking $600 round trip, but for the savvy traveler a cheaper way is to fly from Baltimore to Boston on Southwest, Spirit, or JetBlue, with the final leg by Cape Air or a seasonal ferry. It’s a great destination for a weekend trip because it’s gay-friendly, full of history, and it has many charming small towns and beautiful landscapes.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Land o’Lakes • Minnesota

The wise old saying, “in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend” guided my answer when I was asked to join a friend in her journey to Minnesota. The trip included us having an official song – Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” – along with some hiccups of mutual impatience, and personal growth. Most people know that “LGBT” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender,” but some of us also include “queer,” “intersex,” and “asexual,” resulting in the abbreviation “LGBTQIA.” My trip with my friend was a learning experience about both intersex and Minnesota.

Getting to Vermont is cheap and easy. Spirit, Jetblue, and Southwest airlines usually offer deals, especially if you purchase your tickets in advance. A ticket can cost as little as $30 one-way. You can rent a car from Boston’s Logan Airport or if you have great friends in the area, carpool to Vermont. Hotel prices range from super cheap to very expensive, so plan in advance. The drive to Vermont is simple: one hour to Vermont’s border and two hours from there to its biggest city Burlington. It is the second least populated state (Wyoming is first). Its capital of Montpelier is the least-populous capital in the U.S. It is the only state that does not have buildings taller than 124 feet. It is also a state that is being hit hard by climate change because many of its industries, such as sugar maple production, are affected by acid rain and warmer weather. Vermont is a great state to visit and learn about, especially when it comes to gay history, its home to a great company, and its awesome outdoor activities.

Escaping to New York City from Baltimore for the weekend is easy. Although Amtrak tickets can be pricey, advance ticket purchase and travel during odd times can lead to cheap deals. A one-way train ticket for a 5 a.m. trip can cost as little as $40. A bus to New York can be even cheaper, with deals as low as $10. Although traveling to New York is great for seeing the beautiful green lands and waterways, once you get there, the adventure begins. New York, with its population of over 8 million, can be overwhelming if you are not used to a lot of people concentrated in a small area. New York plays a powerful role in shaping media, art, entrainment, technology, fashion, research, and education. It has the largest LGBT population in the world and that includes the largest transgender population that is estimated to be over 25,000. It’s the place where the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil happened – in 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed.

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