Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



TRAVEL Fort Lauderdale: Feeling the warmth on all sides
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 1255 times since Wed Mar 1, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is an experience in warmth.

The expected aspect of that would involve the actual air temperature; in fact, it was a record 85 degrees one "winter" day when I was there recently. However, the sunny disposition of the people ( natives and tourists ) was just as obvious as the climate and warm beach.

The first place this was obvious was The Grand Resort & Spa ( 539 N. Birch Rd.; ) Fort Lauderdale's largest gay-owned and -operated men's spa/resort—and there are a few in the neighborhood. Lee very kindly showed me around the spacious Grand, pointing out the pool, spa and, yes, clothing-optional grotto ( where my cool suite happened to be ). Yes, there's warmth—and if you want to shed your inhibitions ( and clothes ), this is the place to be.

The spa ( which is essentially a bungalow ) features rooms that are comfortable. Massages ( Swedish, mud and otherwise ) are available, although I opted for a facial that left me feeling and looking refreshed.

After checking in to The Grand Resort, it was off to Wilton Manors restaurant Bubbles + Pearls ( 2037 Wilton Dr.; ), a champagne raw bar that can boast a Top Chef contestant as its owner—in this case, lesbian Josie Smith Malave. Malave, like various people I met and just observed, was extremely friendly, chatting up visitors and regulars alike. ( By the way, if you can get her to tell you about her adventures in New York City, you'll be transfixed. ) As for the food, there's some excellent seafood—and the chicken and ribeye are pretty impressive as well. ( A side benefit was getting to introduce one of my dining companions to shishito peppers. He was so enthralled that he planned to send seeds to his own father sothe can plant some. )

Speaking of Wilton Manors, it's a city that's basically a giant Boystown. ( In fact, as a result of the 2010 U.S. Census, it was named the "Second gayest City" in the United States. )

Dozens of LGBT-owned businesses dot the streets, including various bars ( some categorized by age group ), restaurants and others. There's even one bar called The Gym—which made me wonder ( jokingly ) if there's a gym called The Bar.

Another spot to check out is The Alchemist Coffee & Slicers ( 2430 NE 13th Ave.; ). The slicers ( open-faced sandwiches on Tuscan bread ) are quite tasty, which variations such as Mediterranean, tuna, shrimp and even sweet options such as Nutella.

A couple other eateries I was fortunate enough to check out included Fort Lauderdale spots B Square Burgers & Booze ( 1021 E. Las Olas Blvd.; ) as well as Shooters Waterfront Cafe ( 3033 NE 32 Ave.; ). B Square offers everything from pan-roasted chickpeas to sliders to "mac-n-cheesy" dishes while Shooters offers a fantastic riverfront view in addition to selections like New England lobster roll and seared salmon couscous salad.

By the way, Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors have—in the words of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau LGBTQ Managing Director Richard Gray—a great "shag factor." ( Yes, Gray is British. ) It's not just the steamy temperatures that draw people to the area; the fact is that some people go to Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors to, um, get really close—upping the area's sultriness even more.

Galleries and museums

Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors have a lot more to offer than beaches, restaurants and hot physicality ( although that'd be enough for most ). Galleries and museums abound, providing the opportunity to learn about art, science, the LGBT community and much more.

The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens ( 900 N. Birch Rd.; ) is a stone's throw from The Grand Resort as well as the beach. The house's modern history began when Hugh Taylor Birch ( who purchased the house in 1895 ) gave the Bonnet House property as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, in 1919. The estate is a visual marvel, with everything from orchids to a huge courtyard aviary to iguanas ( which seem to be omnipresent ) to a few remaining squirrel monkeys. ( Incidentally, the monkeys are there as a result of a fire that happened in a nightclub—don't ask. ) By the way, the gorgeous estate is named after the bonnet lily.

One of the most emotional experiences I had during this trip involved a visit to Wilton Manors' The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center ( 1201 NE 26th St #111; ). Executive Director Ed Sparan showed me the ongoing exhibit "Chronology of AIDS," which contains more information than almost anyone knows about HIV/AIDS. Other current exhibits include "Saving Grace: HIV in the Black Community," and there are various intriguing items such as an interactive AIDS Quilt station and even curios such as AIDS-awareness trading cards. ( Yes, they did exist. ) By the way, activist Larry Kramer is scheduled at an event the museum is sponsoring on Friday, March 10.

The Stonewall National Museum & Archives ( 2157 Wilton Dr.; ) also provided a lot of insight. When I went there, Executive Director Chris Rudisill showed exhibits such as art offering The Lure of Provincetown—but there were also interesting items such as a racket Martina Navratilova donated, or Ellen DeGeneres' shoes, or a Transexual Menace jacket. Stopping here is highly recommended.

And there's also the Stonewall National Library ( 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd.; ), which has works by Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman and Charles Warren Stoddard. In addition, there are books available for purchase as well as an online catalog.

Being interested in science, I also decided to check out Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Discovery and Science ( 401 SW2nd St.; ). In addition to the newest exhibit areas—Otters at Play, Everglades Airboat Adventure, Prehistoric Florida, Florida Water Mysteries and Storm Center—attendees can take in various shows or watch creatures such as alligator snapping turtles, tarantulas and exotic fish.

And for art aficionados, check out the NSU Art Museum ( ), which is located at 1 E. Las Olas Blvd.—a thoroughfare that's the Fort Lauderdale equivalent of Michigan Avenue. One of the can't-miss exhibits is "Francesco Clemente: Dormiveglia," which includes nine large-scale paintings that feature goddess-like figures. I also greatly liked "Regeneration Series," which showcases the works of contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer.

Many thanks go to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau for arranging the visit. Remember that true warmth ( in whatever form you wish to find it ) is just a plane ride away.

This article shared 1255 times since Wed Mar 1, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SAVOR Travelle To Go 2020-09-01
- These days, when convenience seems paramount, Travelle at The Langham (330 N. Wabash Ave.; offers something that it hopes will draw lots of people: Travelle To Go. And this concept should. Located around the corner ...

Gay News

MUSIC Cor.Ece: Queer singer on journey, 'The Chi' and 'hopeful electro-soul' 2020-08-13
- Cor.Ece is a singer/songwriter who, unlike most people, seems to have found his niche: making inspiring music that he calls "hopeful electro-soul." He is now based in Los Angeles, but has literally traveled the country while ...

Gay News

DNC speakers, including Biden, not traveling to Milwaukee 2020-08-05
- After ongoing consultation with public health officials and experts—who underscored the worsening coronavirus pandemic—the Democratic National Convention Committee announced that speakers for the 2020 Democratic National ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Wisconsin added to Chicago's quarantine order 2020-07-28
- On July 27, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Wisconsin will be the next state to join the 18 previously listed on the city's emergency travel order, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted. First enacted on July ...

Gay News

ACTIVITIES Rollin' on the river, courtesy of the Chicago Electric Boat Company 2020-07-08
- Running out of ideas regarding what to do this summer? Well, it turns out there's nothing like going down the river in a boat built for two (with social distancing). I recently cruised down the Chicago ...

Gay News

Mapping the Gay Guides project plots queer spaces, launches digital map 2020-06-26
- When Eric Gonzaba travels across the United States, he often wonders about the history of the places he passes through — specifically, their queer history. The Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of American studies is the ...

Gay News

Anne Steele, Kelli Carpenter raise funds for meals. Online concert April 29 2020-04-28
- Lesbian singer/ songwriter Anne Steele decided to start online concerts to lift the spirts of her fans, friends and family. While playing the "couch concerts" every Wednesday on Facebook Live, her wife, Kelli Carpenter, a travel ...

Gay News

TRAVEL San Antonio, a spot that defies and embraces Texas 2020-03-14
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - San Antonio is one city that encompasses what one may think of Texas—but also extends beyond one's perceptions of the state. Yes, there are the seemingly requisite cowboy hats and (emblematic of the notion that "everything ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Halsey, GLAAD, Jonathan Van Ness, Carol Burnett, 'Stranger Hearts' 2020-03-10
- Halsey said she won't be touring for a while after the year is over, noted. The singer, who is currently traveling for her "Manic World Tour," made the announcement on Instagram March 1. Posting images ...

Gay News

WORLD Travel meeting postponed, Hong Kong ruling, African refugees, Grindr sold 2020-03-10
- The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association—scheduled to take place in Milan, Italy—has been postponed to September/October because of coronavirus concerns, an organizational press release announced. The release stated, "The outbreak of ...

Gay News

Make a pit stop in Indy for a gay ol' time 2020-02-13
- Approximately three hours outside of Chicago, Indianapolis, Indiana has a lot to offer travelers in terms of cuisine, history and nightlife. Start off by staying at the Conrad Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis to be centrally located ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Fatal shooting, LGBTQ political news, Bayard Rustin, travel ban 2020-02-05
- In response to the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Ja'Quarius Taylor, from New Orleans, as a possible hate crime, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns and Executive Director of the Lawyers' ...

Gay News

theWit celebrating Warhol with package 2020-01-07
- theWit Hotel, 201 N. State St., is celebrating the arrival of "Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again," the acclaimed traveling Andy Warhol exhibit that has just made its debut in Chicago—with a hotel package ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Ireland, Northern Ireland: A land of rainbows 2019-12-13
- Possibly the friendliest country anywhere, Ireland is a lush, green island in the North Atlantic. The Republic of Ireland is divided in two, with Northern Ireland being a part of the United Kingdom. This splits the ...

Gay News

theWit celebrating Warhol with package 2019-12-10
- theWit Hotel, 201 N. State St., is celebrating the arrival of "Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again," the acclaimed traveling Andy Warhol exhibit that has just made its debut in Chicago—with a hotel package ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.