Select Page

Celebrate Autumn with Fall Vacation Getaways

Fall is my favorite season. It gives you the opportunity to get away (particularly if you didn’t get a summer vacation) for a fraction of the cost of a summer vacation and usually the weather, nature and cultural activities are at their best. There is so much opportunity to get away in Fall to enjoy all that the season has to offer.


Fall Foliage Tours

Whether you drive yourself or take a tour bus, there’s nothing quite like seeing the changes of the season reflected in the changing color of the leaves. Of course, some places have better color than other places, and the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont are considered some of the best areas of the United States to take a fall foliage tour, with the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in New Hampshire known as one of the best places in the world to see spectacular fall foliage.

But, New England’s not the only game in town, as awesome fall foliage can also be seen in such places as the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, Lost Maples Natural Area in Texas and Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

You can drive your car, hike, ride a bike or let someone else be your guide on one to 8-day tours.

Halloween Celebrations

It used to be that Halloween was reserved only for the kids. Not anymore. Halloween has become a big adult holiday as well, with Halloween celebrations being held for adults in most major cities. Some cities, however, have become must-visit Halloween spots: New York City, West Hollywood, and Las Vegas.

New York City:

For 33 years New York City has played host to one of the largest public Halloween celebrations in the United States with New York’s Village Halloween Parade, where anyone in costume is encouraged to join bands, puppets, and dancers for a parade in Greenwich Village. The Halloween parade is so popular that is has been chosen by Events International as “The Greatest Event on Earth on October 31,” as well as having been ranked 3rd by Citysearch as the best event in New York City.

West Hollywood:

This Halloween celebration takes place on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, which has a large gay and lesbian population. The celebration usually lasts several days, with such events as “Doggy Costume” contests for you pet pooch, a Drag Race (in high heels), and a costume party on Halloween night, which is billed as the “largest adult outdoor Halloween event in the world.”

Las Vegas:

Let’s face it; Las Vegas is fun any time of the year. But, for those who love Halloween and an occasional trip to Vegas, a trip to Las Vegas on Halloween is double fun. Not for the timid is the “Fetish and Fantasy Halloween Ball,” celebrated on October 27 in 2007. It’s been happening for 12 years now, and has earned numerous accolades, including being named as “One of the Top 10 Events in the World” by the Travel Channel and “One of 5 Events to Attend Before You Die” by Maxim Magazine.

For those desiring something a little tamer, many of the casinos have special Halloween celebrations, and there’s always the “Haunted Vegas Tour” you can take, which is a 2.5-hour tour of Las Vegas’ favorite haunted locations. The tour starts at the Celebrity Room at the Greek Isles Hotel & Casino and runs every Saturday through Thursday. Call 702-737-5540 for more information.


While many people stay home for Thanksgiving, or travel back to their hometowns to celebrate with family and friends, some people like to travel for Thanksgiving, sampling Thanksgiving feasts and traditions in other parts of the country. Where might you like to travel this Thanksgiving?

Plymouth, Massachusetts:

Plymouth was the site of the first Thanksgiving, so naturally it’s a place you might want to consider for your Thanksgiving celebration. You may want to arrive the weekend before Thanksgiving to take part in the “America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade” and “New England Food Festival.”

New York City, New York

You’ve watched it on TV, now experience it live. Get away to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and join over two million people who line the streets watching the festivities. If you’re not into being up close and personal with crowds, get a hotel room along the parade route and watch it from your upstairs room.

San Francisco, California:

No Pilgrims here, but what you will find are superb restaurants, such as the Carnelian Room, fifty-two floors above the city. But, the real reason to come to San Francisco for Thanksgiving is what happens after Thanksgiving – shopping! And, no place does shopping better than Union Square in San Francisco, which is block after block of great shopping experiences. Stay in a hotel in the Union Square area and you can shop, drop off your goodies, and shop some more.

The above, of course, is just a tiny sampling of fall getaways. Just be sure to take it easy after your trip, you want to be fully rested for your winter getaway.

What to See & Do in San Francisco

‘Where should my boyfriend and I go on vacation?’ I was recently asked by a young gay couple from New Jersey. They wanted to visit California in March – not sure where to go. They were tossing between San Francisco and San Diego, or even other fun places in California to visit.

I thought to share my answer with you here:

“Young and Gay? San Francisco wins hands down over San Diego! So let me tell you about San Francisco …

The city choice:
From a gay point of view, actually, a better time to go is June 28 & 29, when the gay pride parade is going on this year! ( However, from a weather point of view, I’d prefer April or October, as it’s foggy in San Francisco in summer in particular.

What to do in ‘San Fran’ as it is lovingly called by locals

Target destination:
Your top attraction is the Castro. It is the gay district, a really fun neighborhood downtown San Francisco. There are fabulous clubs there. I had the best parties ever in this neighborhood.

For a bit of culture:
My favorite is the SF Museum of Modern Art, but there are other must-do and world-famous museums to visit, eg. the Asian Art Museum.

For food & more culture:
North Beach (San Fran’s equivalent of NYC’s little Italy), Golden Gate Bridge with the quaint village of Sausalito at the other end, Golden Gate Park (be sure to visit the Japanese Tea Garden and enjoy the views), The Mission District (lots of artists live here; fun at daytime, might not be safe at night).

For luxury shopping:
Union Square and neighboring streets
On a clear day, go have lunch or tea in one of the revolving restaurants in this neighborhood. Fabulous views and a real pampering experience.

Regarding tourist attractions:

  • Chinatown (Great food),
  • Ferry Building Marketplace (I rate it an ‘oh well’),
  • Fisherman’s Wharf (tourist trap that can be fun on a sunny Sunday when street performers trick tourists),
  • Coit Tower (‘nah’),
  • Alcatraz, the prison island (fun to look at from Sausalito; fun to be on the water, even on a ferry),
  • Angel Island (the hiking island; would go only if you have more time).

There is so much more to see and do, and to advise you depends really upon your tastes and lifestyle.

For things to do, beyond downtown:

  • If you’re the sporty types, in the wider surrounding of San Francisco, you can find excellent hiking & biking trails.
  • Personally, I would hire a car for a few days. On one day, I’d take highway 1 all the way down to Pescadero, have the Sunday fish soup at Duartes, see the lighthouse (there’s a youth hostel there with a romantic ocean look out point in the rocks), and return to town.
  • On another day, I would drive up/bus up to the Napa valley wine country, which is only 1-2 hrs drive away. There are treats for everyone there: Give your boy some wine and you dip in a spa mud bath. Both will enjoy the rolling hills.

OK. that’s enough of a town teaser. You simply have to go see for yourself and report back! Enjoy! ”


About the Author

Vera Lang, lived for 7 years in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Find her travel insights at: