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Scott Dagostino
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On a budget & short on time

Scott Dagostino explores some spur-of-the-moment weekend getaways

04.10.2012


With a seat sale seemingly every 10 minutes and convenient service from Toronto Island Airport, Porter Airlines is great value. It’s also among the most charming ways to fly. You’ve probably already flown Porter for short trips to New York and Chicago, but the airline offers scads of gay-friendly destinations just a hop, skip and jump from Toronto. These are places you might not have considered, but all are excellent weekend getaways.


THE QUICKEST HOP
Ottawa
Ottawans complain of losing their weekend gays to Toronto and Montreal, but the city is beautiful, with much to see for museum, culture and Canadiana buffs. There is also plenty of gay fun tucked away in the corners.

Flamingo
Dancing, drag shows and cute husband-hunting boys; it’s everything you could want from a gay dance club.
theflamingo.ca

Arc:
The Hotel This mid-priced boutique hotel is small, simple and stylish, an elegant downtown oasis. It’s a favourite with the gays. arcthehotel.com

Steamworks for Men Ottawa
Sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name. Steamworks is the place for no-nonsense bathhouse cruising.   steamworksformen.ca

The Buzz Restaurant
In the heart of Ottawa’s gay village, The Buzz serves up a great weekend brunch, tapas on Thursdays and a solid menu otherwise. 374 Bank St. thebuzzrestaurant.ca

Canadian Museum of Civilization
Sure you could visit Parliament Hill, but you did that in Grade 8, and vacation is about avoiding politics. Zip across the river to Gatineau for one of the coolest museums anywhere. There’s always something new
to see. civilization.ca/home

THE LONGEST HOP
St John’s
Okay, it’s not exactly Saint-Tropez, but this city boasts the rugged beauty of Newfoundland’s coastlines and its men. Newfoundlander hospitality is legendary, and there’s nothing like being fresh meat in a small town.

Coming soon
St John’s hasn’t had a gay bar for a few years, but the scuttlebutt is there’s a great jeezly one set to open dis spring at 208 Water St, by t’under. Learn more at the Name St John’s New Gay Bar Facebook page.

Abba Inn Bed & Breakfast
Mamma mia! Abba is on Queen’s Rd and they’ve got a rainbow flag on the website. Handy location, gay-friendly, rooms from $79. abbainn.com

Whale watching
From May to September huge numbers of whales ply the Newfoundland coast. They are incredible creatures and seeing them in their natural habitat is an incredible experience, one you should be sure to cross off your bucket list.

Bianca’s
According to its website, this high-end restaurant “has become as iconic as icebergs and whales to the fabric of Newfoundland dining.” Given its fab menu and atmosphere, we wouldn’t dream of arguing. biancas.net

THE SUNNIEST HOP
Myrtle Beach
Beloved by retirees and a growing number of gay parents, kitschy Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina, is a cheap and cheerful mid-winter getaway.

Club Traxx
Frankly, people come to Myrtle Beach for the sunshine, not the nightlife. But hey — Traxx was recently voted the number-one alternative club in the city. How can you not check that out? clubtraxx-myrtlebeach.com

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
Of all the eateries, this might be the absolute Myrtle Beach-iest. The floor is painted to look like water, a seaplane hangs from the ceiling, and, of course, there’s a gigantic margarita blender suitable for making gigantic margaritas. margaritaville.com

Gay Dolphin Gift Cove
Billed as the Eastern Seaboard’s largest gift shop, this adorably named, multifloor knickknack paradise has every bit of weirdity, from sharks’ teeth to Hummel figurines. It is, as they say, insane in the membrane. gaydolphin.com

Scott Dagostino is a writer who loves to travel on a budget.


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