Risking Everything: coming out in Coffee Land by Elizabeth Worley.
Winner! 2011 Non-fiction Global eBooks Award!
You stand on a hillside , looking up into a coffee plantation. The red berries are gleaming with the promise of a good crop. The air is rich and warm, the bird song louder than you can remember. Below you is the little casita you are staying in. Surely this part of Panama is heaven on earth.
You are curious about the women who own the land and farm the coffee. They also make luscious Cloud Botanicals natural beauty products. What is their story? How did they come to be custodians of such prolific beauty? Read more
Guest post by Deb Lamedman
Exploring Portland, Oregon
It’s wonderful to share experiences and vacation time with others. But there is definitely something to be said for picking up and taking off on your own. One of the best destinations I know for women traveling alone is Portland, Oregon. If you are a woman traveling alone, friends traveling together, or a lesbian couple who want to experience a fun weeklong get-away, Portland is an exciting city that offers opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking as well as cultural events such as museums, theatre and art galleries.
Portland is chock-full of friendly people and opportunities to partake in all types of activities. If you’re on a budget, the Portland International Hostel and Guest House in the trendy Northwest section of town is not only affordable, but is also in a great neighborhood that provides convenient access to many of the city’s prime visiting spots. Plus, I cannot say enough about the staff and volunteer who are happy to help with any questions you have regarding their fair city.
If you are visiting Portland for the first time, staying at the hostel feels like you are staying with old friends. Plus, for the gal on a budget, they are offer plenty of freebies such as free bread, maps of Portland, free wireless Internet access, free storage and free parking. They also offer opportunities to go on pub crawls, walking tours of the city and often host live music on certain nights of the week.
One of my favorite things about staying in this hostel is the people you will meet. There are many single female travelers staying here and it’s a great opportunity to meet women from all over the world. This particular neighborhood in the Northwest district of Portland is home to a large variety of unique shops, cafes and coffeehouses.
Additionally, the hostel is in very close proximity to the Macleay Park Trailhead in Forest Park and offers beautiful hiking trails and an opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery around. The trails in Forest Park range from beginner to advanced, the scenery is spectacular and your fellow hikers that you will meet along the way will give you a kind nod and a warm smile!
The best time of year to visit Portland is in the summer and fall. After October, there tends to be quite a bit of rainfall through March and the weather may not always be predictable. To take advantage of the bike paths, boating and outdoor activities indicative of Portland, I would recommend you schedule your trip during the warmer, drier months.
Whenever you decide to go, you will find great food, hospitable locals and some really beautiful scenery. Discover the Northwest and put Portland on your vacation “to-do” list!
Guest blog organised by Chelsea of Lesbian Dating where our Women Travel Blog site is named as one of the top 20 Lesbian Travel Blogs
4th to 18th of September 2010
The village of Skala Eressos on Lesvos Island in Greece will host the 10th anniversary of the International Women’s Festival. Read more
Held every 3-4 years in different NZ or Australian cities, the Auckland festival in Easter 2010 offers workshops from the Auckland choral glitterati and finishes with a gala concert in the Auckland Town Hall. Individual choirs sing two pieces each and join together as a 200 voice massed choir singing a world premiere by David Hamilton for massed choir and organ conducted by Dr Karen Grylls.
2-4 April 2010 Auckland New Zealand www.outandloud.org
New Zealand’s Topp Twins – are our much loved and fabulous home grown comedy and musical treasures. Instantly recognisable by most kiwis, they have taken their unique brand of humour, music and activism to small towns around New Zealand and to shows around the world. Read more
We spend a half day exploring Malaga - the town that is, not the horendous stretch of built up coastline that is the UK abroad. Malaga is definately worth a visit – if you are driving, park at the airport and catch a train into town. It is an hour’s drive to Diva Espana from the airport.
The road is not for the faint hearted, but Diva Espana hosts Kathy and Linda gave us the best instructions, and offered to meet us to show us the final stretch of track to Diva Espana, as we have not printed out those details.
I will never complain about the drive to my house again – this track is definately challenging, but worth the effort. We arrive at a perfect slice of paradise, set high in the mountains of Andalucia. A beautiful swimming pool beckons, with a jacuzzi beside it, surrounded by sun loungers and chairs to watch the sunset or sunrise.
The buildings have classic white washed walls and the rooms beautifully renovated and comfortable. There is an honesty bar by the pool with drinks, and icecreams. And then there are the hosts – Kathy and Linda are from the UK and have developed this property as a retreat for women.
Unlike many other UK people here in Spain, they have become a part of this community. They are learning Spanish, have officially registered as a guest house and are keen members of the local community.
Kathy is a fantastic cook – breakfast is included, a light lunch and two course dinner is available on site. Linda is the handy person and driver – they make a great team, and their welcome is warm and generous and the food amazing.
Unfortunately we are only here for 3 nights – it is clear that we should be staying longer. The other guests are here for a week, most are return visitors and have not brought cars – they intend to make the most of this retreat space. Some have come on their own – its a great place to stay for a woman on her own – you can have your own holiday, but have company as well through the day.
We take off for the day to visit Granada and the Alhambra which is about a 2 hour drive.
The next day we decide to stay around – we walk to the nearby village of Comares - about 1.5 hours walk there, and 1 hour back. Its a beautiful village – we have a delicious menu of the day at El Molina de Los Abuelos where gay hosts Ivan and Nenno offer a warm welcome. (Linda offers a taxi service to the village for those who don’t want to walk)
There are a lot of walks around the area for those who are keen walkers, but it is also a place where you can be seduced to do nothing at all – to just relax and wind and unwind.
Diva Espana is the perfect place for time out, or to stay in a longer travel plan – but don’t stay less than 3 nights!
Skala Eressos in Lesvos in the Aegean is a resort which caters for a wide range of visitors. This village, with its 3km unspoilt beach, is renowned world wide as the birthplace of the poet and teacher, Sappho, and is particularly popular for the traveller seeking creative inspiration, and for women travellers. Skala Eressos is in fact a very popular destination for a women only holiday!
The Greek Island of Lesvos or Lesbos (and also known as Mytilini), with its ancient history, incomparable natural beauty and tradition of hospitality spanning over centuries, awaits to greet you and treat you to an unforgettable holiday
Sappho Travel is the expert for travel to this special area including:
- Women only holidays
- A two week Women’s Festival in September
- Two women’s hotels – the Antiopi and the Mascot.
This is your one stop shop if wanting to visit this magical Aegean Island.
The Highlands Inn , a lesbian resort in New Hampshire, USA will celebrate its 25th year in business in 2008. I wrote to them recently to congratulate them – few accommodation and hospitality businesses last this long, and this one has continued to thrive.
Named by PlanetOut as “one of the most romantic lesbian destinations on the planet,” the lesbian-owned Highlands is one of very few resorts or inns that cater to a women-only clientele. To have succeeded in this niche market is a remarkable accomplishment for a small business.
The owner, Grace Newman, bought the 100-acre property in 1983. The Highlands quickly became known as a warm, welcoming women’s place, where guests can relax and “be themselves.” This atmosphere remains a hallmark of the Highlands. Located in New Hampshire’s major vacation destination, the White Mountains, the Inn has 19 rooms in three buildings. Several of the rooms have a fireplace, private deck, or 2-person spa.
Newman says “It’s amazing how things have changed since we opened the Inn. Gay-friendly accommodations were a thing of the distant future! It was usually pretty awkward for a same-sex couple to share a room. Now lesbians and gay men are considered a valuable market, worthy of special efforts to get our business.”
The Highlands will celebrate its 25th year with a birthday party on the weekend of May 9-11. Saturday night will feature a catered dinner followed by champagne and dancing with a LIVE band, “Truth or Dare”!
Newman is thrilled that the Highlands’ 25th anniversary coincides with the first year of New Hampshire’s new civil union law, which went into effect on January 1, 2008. The Highlands is well-prepared to assist women who wish to have a New Hampshire civil union ceremony. Over the years, the Inn has been the site of dozens of commitment ceremonies, and hundreds of couples have honeymooned at the Inn or stayed there while becoming “civilly united” in nearby Vermont.
Community Marketing Inc have finally done what few others have and identified the lesbian market as a market in its own right. I have argued for years that lesbian travellers require a different marketting approach and are often more comfortable being with women than with gay men.