Travel diary

Posted on 05 Feb 2009 at 10:39am
By Arnold Wayne Jones Staff Writer

Mardi Gras returns to Galveston; Winter Party heats up Miami


Galveston’s gay-friendly Mardi Gras celebration will return despite the devastating hurricane that hit last September. ARNOLD WAYNE JONES/Dallas Voice

Last February, Galveston Island rolled out the red carpet for a Mardi Gras celebration that showed the Gulf Coast to be home to one of Texas’ most gay-friendly small towns. Barely seven months later, the city resembled Atlantis, with most of it completely submerged.

But Galveston, as it did more than a century ago, is roaring back. This week, Harbor House — a bayside boutique of 42 rooms — officially reopened for business. Its older seawall-side sister, the Hotel Galvez, opened late last year, and another property, the Tremont Hotel (which on New Year’s Eve 2007 was sold out for a same-sex wedding) is set to be back in business by May.

And the city is already gearing up for Mardi Gras, with a 12-day celebration starting Feb. 13 and ending on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 24. The main event will be on Saturday, Feb. 21, with the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade and the 24th annual Tremont House Ball (this time held at the Hotel Galvez).

A little closer to home, the Shreveport-Bossier City region in Northwest Louisiana is less than three hours east of Dallas and holds its own Mardi Gras celebrations starting Feb. 13.

You can enjoy lots more fun in the sun in Miami this month, with the Winter Party Festival starting Feb. 22. The 16th annual gay celebration includes a women’s art exhibit, a spa day on Feb. 28 and plenty of happy hours all week.

But of course there are the events the festival is known for: circuit parties, beach and pool parties and cocktails flowing aplenty. For a complete list of events, visit WinterParty.com.

If you prefer the cold weather while you can still enjoy it, it’s not too late to book a trip to Colorado for the Telluride Gay Ski Week. One of the newer gay ski weeks, Telluride has already built up a loyal base, in large part because of all the celebrities who turn out for the Oscar watching party and other celebrations: Amazing Racer Reichen Lehmkuhl will make a guest appearance at the Fly Naked trunk show on Feb. 23, and Charlie David will screen his movie "Mulligans."

The Logo network is sponsoring a lounge, but you can mix it up at the skiing excursions you can take, from half-piping on snowboards to snowmobiling in the woods. Gay Ski Week in Telluride runs Feb. 22–28.

Pink Choice, a gay travel Web site, presents its Pink Choice Awards annually for the best accommodations for queer travelers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 2008 winners are huddled around two major gay travel destinations: Provincetown, Mass. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Among those properties singled out as among the best: Christopher’s by the Bay, Carpe Diem Guesthouse & Spa, Grand View Inn, Oxford Guest House, Revere House, White Porch Inn and White Wind Inn in P’town; and La Casa del Mar, Liberty Suites, Pineapple Point and Villa Venice Men’s Resort in Lauderdale.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 6, 2009.

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