Down and Out in Denver

East Coat Adventures

Posted in bars, food, gays, outdoors, scene, travel, weather by Blake on August 3, 2010

While Alastair was soaking up the sun in Palm Springs – are you staying at a clothing-optional resort, Alastair? Enquiring minds want to know – I was having an East Coast adventure.  It all began with a work trip last weekend to Rochester, New York; continued with four days at a friend’s cabin in the Adirondacks; then a night in New York City.  I then joined some of my best gal pals from college for a road trip to West Virginia. For a gay wedding.  I kid you not.  Then back to New York, and finally back home.  Some observations about my ten days on the road:

Pandora Boxx

Gay bars in Rochester are fun!  Not only did we see Pandora Boxx, one-time star of RuPaul’s Drag Race perform live at the Tilt Nightclub and Ultralounge (more than a lounge, an ultra lounge), but we also hung out at Rochester’s Leather and Levi Bar, Bachelor Forum (a little lite on the leather and levi, it must be said, not that I’m complaining; they also have what can only be described as a gay sculpture garden out front), and the most fun was had at 140 Alex: karaoke, drag shows, great music, strong drinks.  Best of all, it was as mixed as can be: people of all shades and hues, ladies and gents, butch and femme, even straight people!  This is what seems to happen in small towns: less queer self-segregation.  DOD approves.

The Garbage Plate at Nick Tahou's in Rochester

Rochester is known for something called the “garbage plate”: macaroni, beans, red hots (apparently some sort of spicy miniature hot dog), beef, and a variety of other delicious elements.  Health.com has named the garbage plate the fattiest food in New York State.  Needless to say, I did not partake, though I did have sushi. In Rochester. At a restaurant that “specialized” in the food of at least 5 Asian nations.  And it wasn’t half bad.  The rust belt surprises every once in a while.

The Adirondacks are lovely in July.  Highs in the low 80s and overnights in the 60s.  My gal pals and I swam, we boated, we ran, we ate ice cream at a stand called Northern Lights in a quaint lakeside town sitting on a bench.  One of us (not me) prepared a delicious bourbon marinated (though he said marinaaaded) pork loin on the barbecue.  We even hiked.  In short, it was rather all-American.  And that was not actually unpleasant.

I love New York City.  Sometimes I miss it like I might miss an absent limb.  I used to feel like my life continued on there even while I was physically in Denver.  I am pretty much convinced that it is the center of the universe.  That said, it is a foul disgusting humid pit of a city at the height of the summer.  The nights were actually reasonable but during the day I was a sweaty mess and found myself missing the very dry heat of Denver, which doesn’t leave a boy feeling quite so unkempt.  That said, I must have lost about three and a half pounds in water weight just walking around in one afternoon.

The Hillbrook Inn near Charles Town, WV

West Virginia is beautiful!  I was a wee bit scared that four gay boys on a road trip to WV might well have difficulty making it out of the state alive, and while we definitely got a couple strange looks at a rest stop, we also had a fantastic time.  We were staying at the Hillbrook Inn, a beautiful 1920s Tudor mansion converted to a bed and breakfast and the site was idyllic.  Manicured lawns, patios and porches, and a stream running through the property all made it the ideal spot to lounge around with good friends for a weekend.  They even provide quilts for that very lounging on the lawns. The wedding party had the whole place to itself and it turns out that the grooms’ other friends were lots of fun as well.  We also ate well and drank ourselves silly.  In short, it was all a wedding weekend should be, and this is coming from someone who objects to marriage.

Now, alas, back to work…