Bethel is a magical town (see that I often describe as off  the grid of the hustle and bustle of other cities Richard Blanco and I have lived in (Hartford, Guatemala, Washington DC, Miami).  While these other cities have been wonderful in many ways, I got tired of the traffic and the inability to connect like I was able to as a child growing up in a small community in upstate NY called Sherrill (smallest city in NY).  What is magical is that as we get older we learn to appreciate things that we hated as a child.  I needed to see the world before I realized that nothing felt like home until Bethel.  When Richard and I go to almost any restaurant we know the chef, the server, and the owner.  You can feel the connective aspects of how important everyone is in the community.  We are so far off the grid that even a Garmin GPS can’t find our home, but so close to our town that I can walk to get anything that I need including our mail (which is always a social event).

One of biggest fears that Richard and I had before moving to Maine is that as a gay couple we would be shunned by the small town because there is no closet big enough to hide in Bethel.  Surprisingly, I can say not 1 day in three years have I felt that Richard or I have been treated differently than a straight couple.  Because very few gay people live in the area, most of our gay friends live over an hour away, but we have a tremendous number of intimate friendships in Bethel. In fact, Richard as an engineer has been actively involved on the Town Planning Board and on the Sign Ordinance Committee to help improve the branding/image of our community.  Interestingly, the year that we moved to Bethel the ski resort 5 miles from town ( hosted its first Gay Ski weekend (WOW - White Out Weekend).  If you read Richards poems you know that he can’t ski, but at WOW he danced like a pro with his true Latino roots at the peak of the mountain.  On the other hand, I can ski and snowboard any slope, but dancing is another story.   Then when the State of Maine passed the Gay Marriage Bill by popular vote we now feel that the whole state is supportive of our relationship.

As the Vacationland State I can tell you that it is an amazing playground for an active adult who loves nature.  My favorite is snowboarding, but the activities in all seasons seem endless (i.e. hiking, canoeing, intense mountain biking, canoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, camping, ziplines, water skiing, treetop obstacle courses, ….).  I love it all.  Richard on the other hand is cautiously learning how to deal with these new activities that he never experienced growing up in Miami, but definitely relishes in the solitude and community spirit.  I could go on and on about our town, but instead thought I would share some pictures of what our life is like in Maine…..