Happening in Kansas City
Trending around OUTvoices
Competition in wine tourism has increased dramatically in recent years, throughout not just North America but a number of destinations around the world. Sunny and sublimely beautiful Sonoma County, however, continues to hold its own. What has changed a bit in this expansive county is the skyrocketing popularity of Healdsburg, a charming little town that’s cultivated an influx of high-quality wineries, country inns, and sophisticated restaurants in the past decade. Just to the south, the county’s largest city, Santa Rosa, is also enjoying renewed interest these days. Together, these two gay-friendly communities, about 75 miles north of San Francisco, make for a wonderful Wine Country getaway.
Activity in Healdsburg revolves around a vibrant, Spanish-influenced town plaza, which is shaded with an incongruous mix of palm and redwood trees. Healdsburg has a discernable gay and lesbian following - although the scene is less visible than in the Russian River resort of Guerneville, which lies just 20 miles southwest (convenient should you wish to hang out in a gay bar or stay at a predominantly gay resort).
Healdsburg invites a good walk along its dapper streets and past its enchanting boutiques. Because the town hasn’t become completely overrun by visitors (although it can get crowded on summer and fall weekends), most shopkeepers and restaurateurs are willing to spend a little more time chatting with visitors here than in more touristy parts of California. For a cultural break, visit the Healdsburg Museum, which contains local historical artifacts - including 8,000 original photographs - and is housed inside an imposing 1910 former library.
The small but lovely city of Santa Rosa anchors Sonoma County and is midway between Guerneville and the Napa Valley. Although low-keyed, it does offer a bit to see and do, and it also claims a visible GLBT community. Shoppers should investigate the city’s Historic Railroad Square, and garden gurus can check out the verdant Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, the fascinating estate of the renowned horticulturist.
Of course, wine-touring is a major reason to come here - some 80 local vineyards are open to the public. With so many wineries to choose from, it’s prudent to concentrate on one specific area each day, and limit tasting and touring to between three and five wineries.
In the greater Healdsburg area, there are several distinct winemaking areas, the most popular being Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Road, and Alexander Valley. In the latter area, one of the region’s star winemakers, Margaret Davenport (who’s also openly gay) oversees production at Passalacqua Vineyard & Winery, a comparatively small vineyard that makes highly sought Zinfandels, Chardonnays, and Cabernet Sauvignons. Seghesio Family Vineyards also produces superb Zinfandels, which have earned considerable acclaim - this respected yet very friendly operation has been producing wine in the northern Alexander Valley for more than a century.
Heading toward Guerneville and the Russian River, you’ll find several excellent wineries along Westside Road. Best bets include Gary Farrell, Porter Creek (amazing Pinot Noirs), and Hop Kiln Winery, which occupies a distinctive 19th-century ranch building. Other worthy wineries in the vicinity include Rodney Strong, popular for its Meritage, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals; and Dry Creek Vineyard, which is as known for its magnolia- and redwood-studded grounds as for its award-winning Fume Blanc. Mauritson Wines is another star of Dry Creek Valley, producing excellent Zinfandels, Petite Syrahs, and Malbecs.
Alternatively, explore the wine-growing region south of the Russian River, just a short drive from Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. Fine vineyards in the towns of Forestville, Graton, and Windsor include Joseph Swan, La Crema, DeLoach, and Hanna. In Guerneville itself you can tour Korbel Champagne Cellars, which is headquartered in a century-old, creeper-covered brick building. An adjoining deli and microbrewery serves excellent salads and sandwiches (try the one with salami, Brie, tapenade, roasted peppers, and greens) on a tree-shaded deck.
One of the more distinctive ways to wine-hop in the area is on one of the biking tours offered by Getaway Adventures, which offers several itineraries in Sonoma and Napa, including a popular Healdsburg Sip ‘N Cycle ride that covers about 20 miles; the company also offers kayaking tours along the Russian River.
As is often the case in winemaking towns, Healdsburg is blessed with commendable restaurants, and meals generally cost a bit less than you might pay in San Francisco for comparable food. The slick Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar earns the devotion of foodies with tasty fare like Zinfandel-glazed beef short ribs with horseradish-mashed potatoes. An oasis of tasty and creative comfort food, Ravenous lives up to its mouthwatering name with robust burgers, tempting grills, and innovative veggie delights like roasted poblano pepper with potatoes, greens, and hominy and served with grilled-corn salsa.
Cyrus serves splendidly good French fare and might just be the most romantic dining room in town, while Bovolo, which is tucked into the back of Copperfield’s Bookstore, turns out stellar thin-crust pizzas with such inventive toppings as roasted squash, bacon, sage, and ricotta salata. You can enjoy a delicious meal at Costeaux French Bakery, from French toast with fresh raspberries and blueberries at breakfast to lunch specialties like seared ahi salad and Monte Cristo sandwiches. The major draw here are the exquisite desserts, such as dark-chocolate tortes and pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. For planning the perfect picnic, head to Oakville Grocery, which stocks everything from gourmet sandwiches to a fine selection of cheeses and charcuterie.
Willi’s Seafood and Wine Bar serves tapas-size portions of such tasty fresh-fish fare as hamachi ceviche and clam-garlic flatbread topped with bacon and scallions. It’s part of the Stark restaurant group, which also includes the snazzy Stark’s Steakhouse in Santa Rosa’s lively Old Railroad Square - this is a fine spot to sample double-cut Colorado lamb chops with pomegranate glaze, or a dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye steak weighing in at 20 ounces. Around the corner, the natty Syrah Bistro serves well-crafted, inventive Wine Country victuals, such as tasso-ham-and-onion-stuffed quail with a black-eyed-pea and tomato ragout. For a light snack, drop by Flying Goat Coffee, which brews high-quality java - the kinds of rarified beans that elevate coffee-sipping to wine-tasting among connoisseurs.
After dinner, your options for nightlife are quite limited in these parts, although you can always make the 30-minute drive to Guerneville and check out the popular gay bars there, such as the rollicking Rainbow Cattle Company and the slick, pansexual Club Yamagata. Black Cat Bar & Grill, which is a 20-minute drive south of Santa Rosa, is interior Sonoma County’s closest thing to a gay bar. It’s lesbian-owned but popular with all kinds, and there’s live music most nights. The crowd is a mixed bag of ages and styles.
Healdsburg has several gay-friendly inns, including the luxurious Madrona Manor. With its striking mansard roof, pointed dormer windows, and sweeping wraparound porch, this imposing three-story 1881 mansion looks like the ideal setting for a Gothic horror movie. Many of the antiques that fill Madrona Manor’s 21 rooms are original to the house. One of the Wine Country’s finest Italianate Victorian houses, Camellia Inn is a first-rate small hotel. The inn and its two outbuildings are filled with Oriental rugs and eclectic antiques. More than 50 varieties of picture-perfect camellias lace the premises.
Arguably the most romantic place to stay in town, the Honor Mansion rolls out the red carpet to wine-loving gourmands with its truly magnificent suites and rooms. You might book the Tower Suite, fashioned out of a historic water tower and with a loft sitting area with a fireplace and a wet bar, or one of the four capacious Vineyard Suites, all with private patios that hold spa tubs for two. Lavish breakfasts, which you can enjoy on a picturesque sun deck in warm weather, complete the experience.
Technically in Guerneville but very close to the wineries on Westside Road, you’ll find the elegant, gay-owned, and reasonably priced Sonoma Orchid inn, which is set on a shaded hillside in the Russian River valley. You can choose from cozier, more affordable rooms in the 1906 original inn, or larger and more private suites in separate cottages. Breakfasts - which feature eggs laid by the inn’s own organically raised chickens – are the perfect start to your day in this region known for its acclaimed wineries, funky shopping, and scenic hikes beneath towering redwoods.
The Little Black Book:
Black Cat Bar & Grill 707-793-9480, blackcatbar.com
Bovolo 707-431-2962, bovolorestaurant.com
Camellia Inn 800-727-8182, camelliainn.com
Club Yamagata 707-824-1671, clubyamagata.com
Costeaux French Bakery 707-433-1913, costeaux.com
Cyrus 707-433-3311, cyrusrestaurant.com
Dry Creek Vineyard 800-864-WINE, drycreekvineyard.com
Flying Goat Coffee 707-575-1202, www.flyinggoatcoffee.com
Gary Farrell 707-473-2900, garyfarrellwines.com
Gay Russian River web page gayrussianriver.com
Getaway Adventures 800-499-2453, getawayadventures.com
Healdsburg Area Chamber of Commerce 707-433-6935, healdsburg.org
Honor Mansion 707-433-4277, honormansion.com
Hop Kiln 707-433-6491, hopkilnwinery.com
Joseph Swan Vineyards 707-573-3747, swanwinery.com
Korbel Champagne Cellars 707-887-2294, korbel.com
Madrona Manor 800-258-4003, madronamanor.com
Mauritson Vineyards 707-431-0804, mauritsonwines.com
Oakville Grocery 707-433-3200, oakvillegrocery.com
Passalacqua Vineyard & Winery 877-825-5547, passalacquawinery.com
Porter Creek Vineyards 707-433-6321, portercreekvineyards.com
Rainbow Cattle Company 707-869-0206, queersteer.com
Rodney Strong Vineyards 707-431-1533, rodneystrong.com
Russian River Chamber of Commerce 707-869-9000, russianriver.com
Seghesio Family Vineyards 707-433-3579, seghesio.com
Sonoma County Tourism Bureau 800-576-6662, sonomacounty.com
Sonoma Orchid Inn 888-877-4466, sonomaorchidinn.com
Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau 866-996-1090, sonomavalley.com
Stark’s Steakhouse 707-546-5100, starkssteakhouse.com
Syrah Bistro 707-568-4002, syrahbistro.com
Willi’s Seafood and Wine Bar 707-433-9191, williswinebar.net
Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar 707-473-0946, zinrestaurant.com
Andrew Collins is the author of Fodor’s Gay Guide to the USA and eight additional travel guides. He can be reached at OutofTown@qsyndicate.com.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.