Traveling on the EDGE: Where to Go in 2014, Summer
The third installment in a four-part series, EDGE's travel editor Matthew Wexler scopes out 12 months of adventure, relaxation and surprises for the LGBT jet setter.
Part One profiled Colorada, Vienna and Mexico. Part Two continued the global journey as EDGE explores Madrid, England and the home of World Pride 2014 - Toronto, Canada.
Part Three explores Lucerne, Switzerland; Cleveland, Ohio; and Asheville, North Carolina.
Leave your skis behind and head to Switzerland for a summer adventure that will traverse mountaintops and valleys, along with a few gay-centric outings along the way. Switzerland, long known for its customs and traditions, offers plenty of immersive experiences that will make you feel like Heidi traipsing through the Swiss Alps.
Lofty Ideas: Head off the beaten path. While Zurich, Geneva and Basel top Switzerland’s list of largest cities, explore Lucerne and surrounding areas for regional specialties such as the horse fair and races as well as the famed Tête de Moine cheese. And when you’re ready to get acquainted with the locals, visit Luzern Loft Club for a weekend party that doesn’t wind down until 5 a.m.
River Deep, Mountain High: Mount Pilatus overlooks Lucerne and offers photo opportunities for the naturalist and daredevil alike. Hop on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway for a climb of more than 5,300 vertical feet and experience wildflowers, mountain streams and rock faces. Stay overnight at the historic Hotel Pilatus-Kulm. Built in 1890, it was completely refurbished in 2010 and offers unparalleled views.
Green Fairy: First distilled during the 18th century in the Val-de-Travers region near the French border, absinthe was mystified for its supposed hallucinogenic properties and outlawed for 90 years. The spirit was legalized once again in 2005, and now the licorice-scented spirit, distilled from a variety of botanicals, is found throughout the country. Be sure to have a proper serving, served with a sugar cube and splash of water.
"Why, oh why, oh why, oh - why did I ever leave Ohio?" So goes the lyric from the 1953 musical Wonderful Town. If you’re not familiar with this charming Rust Belt city that gazes over Lake Erie, you might agree. But if you’re on top of what is trending beyond the scope of New York or Los Angeles, you’ve already booked your ticket to the host city of Gay Games 9, which takes over the town Aug. 9 to 16.
Take the Flame: Established in 1980, the Gay Games has been a "vehicle of change" for more than 30 years, bringing together LGBT athletes and allies from around the world. Whether you’re a wrestler, a synchronized swimmer or athletically inclined in one of the other 35 events (darts, anyone?), Cleveland will be pulling out all the stops for the expected 11,000 participants and 30,000 additional spectators, volunteers and performers.
By the Numbers: Head to East Fourth Street and discover more than a dozen restaurants, including Michael Symon’s Lola (ABC’s "The Chew") and Jonathon Sawyer’s Greenhouse Tavern, named one of the country’s best new restaurants in 2010 by Bon Appétit.
Day Trip: Head due west and conquer Cedar Point, the self-proclaimed "best amusement park in the world." With 16 roller coasters that include the GateKeeper - the tallest, fastest and longest wing coaster in the world - you’ll be sure to have a dizzyingly good time.
Asheville, North Carolina
Portland doesn’t have the lockdown on hipster cool. We love our coffeehouses and organic lifestyle, too, which is why Asheville is our 2014 go-to for an artsy, eclectic getaway. With more than 30 art galleries downtown and outlying adventures that include the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail and Navitat Canopy Adventure’s mountaintop zip line (opening this April), the region beckons LGBT visitors on the lookout for a true locavore experience.
Get Crafty: Asheville is known for its diverse range of bed and breakfasts - many of which are either gay-owned or LGBT friendly. The Cedar Crest Inn offers a 10 percent discount to "anyone that celebrates diversity and equality," and it’s within walking distance of downtown and the historic Biltmore Estate.
Beyond Beer: Be on the lookout for two locally produced hard ciders, which are considered by many to be the country’s first craft beverages. Black Mountain Ciderworks produces a small batch, artisanal cider named Pomona, after the Roman goddess of the orchard, while Noble Hard Cider’s light, effervescent flagship product is made from a blend of six locally grown apples.
It’s a Downward Dog’s Life: Explore Asheville in the context of an instructor-led yoga class. Enjoy an all-level practice amid Asheville’s historic sights and discover the city’s Zen side.