Shoot the ‘moon

Posted on 08 May 2008 at 6:59pm
By Steven Lindsey – Contributing Writer

Near, far, wherever you are, honeymooning is a state of mind

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC: Travel agent Randy Pauer, right, rides in a boat taxi with his partner in Venice — one of the most romantic honeymoon options for those who want to get far away from home.



Whether you spend months of planning or have one drunken night in Vegas, when the "I dos" have been exchanged and the minister’s check cashed, it’s time to relax and celebrate a new life of wedded bliss with a few days alone with your spouse.

But while the honeymoon has traditionally been celebrated out of town, some couples are now opting to stay a little closer to home. Regardless of which camp you fall into, there are benefits to every scenario — and every budget.

Close to home
One local hot spot, the Victory Park’s W Hotel, serves the gay niche market by hosting everything from the wedding ceremony itself to opulent receptions.

"We’ve hosted several same-sex weddings at our various W properties around the country and expect our numbers to grow here in Dallas as wedding season approaches and awareness of our same-sex ceremonies increases," says Kristin Walker, marketing manager for the W.

For newlyweds wanting to stay someplace local, either pre-honeymoon or for the vacation itself, the hotel has plenty of amenities to keep things romantic, relaxing and rejuvenating. But most of all, it’s about simplicity.

"Skip the stress of flying to your destination. Escape in your own backyard and explore another side to the city," Walker recommends.


Daytrippers
For those who do long for a change of scenery, but don’t want to leave their time zone, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more romantic than Thee Hubbell House Resort, an East Texas bed and breakfast. Aptly described by owner/operator Tim Carmichael as serene and peaceful, the southern plantation estate in Winnsboro welcomes honeymooning same-sex couples every month, with most arriving from Dallas and Houston.

"Plan a little ahead of time, but leave it open for spontaneity," he says about a worry-free honeymoon nearby. And anyone skeptical about how inviting an East Texas locale would be for gay or lesbian spouses, Carmichael can quickly put your mind at ease.

"Every couple that comes here is usually a little uptight of how they will be accepted in an East Texas small town," he explains. "They are always pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome they receive. Everyone knows the B&B is gay-owned and operated and we have earned the respect in the community — it is simply not an issue," although he adds, "Things have certainly changed in Winnsboro and we would like to think we were instrumental in that change."

Thee Hubbell House in Winnsboro is a stately bed and breakfast that welcomes gay honeymooners, and offers its facilities for both indoor and outdoor weddings for same-sex couples.


Take me away
The final school of thought when it comes to honeymooning is perhaps the most common: Go away… far, far away. And nothing fills that need for adventure and romance more than a cruise, where the view outside your window changes daily.

Randy Pauer, president of the Pauer Group, has booked many a cruise for gay couples ready to sail off into the sunset together after a beautiful wedding. He books all-gay cruises, but since the dates of those may not always be convenient for a post-ceremony getaway (and the fact that they’re about 20 percent more expensive than traditional cruises), he puts many of his clients aboard ships of all sizes, with itineraries ranging from relaxing to exotic.

Best of all, you only have to unpack once and you still get to see many great cities and countries during one trip.

"Cruise lines are actually quite savvy about our community," he says. "They all have ‘Friends of Dorothy’ or GLBT meetings on board every ship so we can meet other gay and lesbian people traveling with us."

With more than 45 cruises under his belt, Pauer has the experience to list his top picks for ultimate honeymoon destinations: Tahiti, The Fjord country of Norway, South Island of New Zealand, Machu Picchu in Peru and Alaska, to name his favorite five.

"Tahiti is the most beautiful place on earth," he says.

But beauty is anywhere you find yourself with the person with whom you’ve pledged to live the rest of your life. So wherever you go, there you are. Together.

W Hotel, Wow Vows specialist, Ann.Evans@whotels.com or 214-397-4121. Whotels.com/dallasvows.

Thee Hubbell House, 307 W. Elm St., Winnsoboro. 800-227-0639. Theehubbellhouse.com.

Randy Pauer, the Pauer Group, 972-241-2000. Thepauergroup.com.




This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 9, 2008.

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