Readers Guide: Paul on Belfast, ME
My name: Paul
My age: 46
My profession: Writer, entertainer, banker
City/town: Belfast, Maine
Relationship status: Engaged (and waiting for Maine to pass a nice law ... but blue is not our color, therefore we shall not hold our breaths!)
What was the last vacation you took? Where did you go? Where do you most want to go?
I went to TJ, Baja California to visit my best friend, Jack, in -- let's see, March of this year. I like Mexico a lot, but I like it most of all because I get to see Jack. We go with friends to the wine country, we hang in the city -- it's all good, the food, the people, it's just a wonderful place and a big change from Maine in the winter.
Are any famous people from your town?
MANY! Belfast is like a hippie artist community, and you're never quite sure who you might see. Jeannie Francis and her husband, Jonathan Frakes, live here.
What are some of the things you love most about your town?
The people. The cinema with the elephant on the roof. The history. The summertime concerts when they block off a different street and have a different band play. The bay. The fact that you can be just who you want to be and everyone seems to accept it.
If someone came to your town for just four hours, what is the one thing he should do?
Four hours? Damn, well, they must go to Darby's for lunch or dinner (the lobster ravioli are the best, but have the fries with malt vinegar, and an XYZ Margarita or an extra spicy Bloody Mary), then down to the bay to check out the view, then to one of the area pubs, then to the White House and hope the owners are extra nice and are serving dinner to the public and they are serving duck with the blueberry reduction (to DIE for!). Oh, and maybe there's a good movie at the cinema.... it's an old turn of the century movie house converted into a three screen cinema, but it's like three little turn-of-the-century movie houses.... with an elephant on the roof. And, no, I am NOT dropping acid.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends?
The White House -- great B&B. Darby's is very nice for anyone. See, that's the thing about Belfast, the best places in town are for everyone.
What are some great restaurants for a romantic gay date?
Oh, Darby's ... I am taking Marc there next weekend; it's so nice and quiet, and the food, well, it's excellent. Then again, if the White House is open, well, I am there. The chef is wonderful, he and his partner are owners, they are the nicest people in the world and make you feel just special.
What about these restaurants appeals to you?
The food. How everyone makes you feel like family, like you are a guest, like you are a friend. The folks from the White House, I stopped there one night with a friend during a blizzard. We ate from, like, 7 to 11, course after course, wine after wine, and of course we had the best time!
What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs?
OK, for that, you gotta take it on the road to Portland. Then again, I like the Ranchero in TJ!
Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out there (or isn't there one)?
Down by the bay, under a full moon.
What is the gay community like there? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene?"
Well, it's like the 1960's have sort of stopped here, and all the better elements stayed. I don't know how to describe it, it's like health food store meets commune meets artist colony meets summer theater, the crossroads of the old and the new.
Where do you shop for clothes?
OK, you need good clothes here, so you need to hit Reny's. It's an institution! Now, for good shoes, you go downtown to either the shoe store or to the guy who makes boots and shoes. For anything else, you go to Bangor, Rockland or Augusta. Now, for me, I like TJMaxx for all the funky trends at a smart price.
Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
This is an artist community. We have a couple theater groups, we have art galleries, we have walking tours of the city, we have it all!
If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "must-dos" you'd recommend?
Stay at the White House, wear good shoes, get ready to walk!
Is there a local cocktail that's popular in your town?
The XYZ Margarita at Darby's.
Where do the hot boys in your town tend to hang out?
Hot boys? No no no, hot MEN ... and they are ALL over! (But -- back away from MY hot man!)
If you had to describe the "average gay boy" style of your town in two words, what would they be?
Do you have any local celebs?
Yes. You'll see 'em, trust me.
What bar has the cutest/hottest bartenders? (Don't name people's names.)
Well, that would be telling. I suggest you do the "bar crawl" -- you'll see them!
Do gay men and lesbians hang out together in your town or is that just unheard of?
Hell, yes, we do!
Has your town ever had a "gay scandal?" If so, describe it -- but don't use names!
I am sure we have, but I'll be damn'd if I remember. I know people used to tell of what a rough place this used to be, but I think it has mellowed a bit, sort of like a fine cider.
Do you have a hometown crush? If so, describe (but don't name names).
Yes. And I have him!
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