It’s true that everything comes to an end. Sad when it’s something that has been part of your life for many years.
Hubby and I just got back from an overnight stay in Niagara Falls. It’s less than an hour away and a frequent “go to” place for us, when seeking a little R & R.
We would normally have dinner at our favourite restaurant, The Love Boat, but, this time decided to try a different place. The idea was to go there for lunch today and also bring home some of their mouth-watering seafood antipasto. I could live on that stuff; it’s so good.
Imagine our absolute shock when we saw this!
Hubby and I have a long history with the Love Boat, going back to the late 1970s, when we used their catering services for our soccer team’s dinner dances. We went there often; alone, with friends, with visiting relatives, for special occasions, or even no particular reason, other than a hankering to go. When our Dalmatian passed away in 2007, we ran away from home and straight to the Love Boat, to escape our grief.
The owner was a personal acquaintance; a wonderful man who always gave us generous discounts. He would say: “No need to order from the menu. I know what you like.” We were then served a seafood feast fit for a king.
As one would expect by the name, The Love Boat had a nautical decor, with actual piping and pieces from ships, including a large steering wheel and a huge wooden captain’s table, with a 17th century world map carved into it.
For our tenth anniversary, we and a couple of close friends stayed the night at the neighbouring hotel, (which was affiliated with the Love Boat). There was complimentary champagne in the room and after dinner, our host brought over a bar cart, laden with many varieties of liqueurs and brandies. “Help yourself to anything you like”, he said, “no charge”. To top it off, breakfast was free the next morning. We’ll never forget such hospitality!
By the time our 25th anniversary came along, his son was running the restaurant. We had organized a party for twelve and he personally cooked for us and served the meal. This was a big hit with everyone! Once again, we were given a generous discount and complimentary bottle of champagne.
Our last visit to the Love Boat was for my birthday, in January 2012. By then, management had been passed on to the third generation; a brother and sister team. It was somewhat disconcerting to see it practically empty. I assumed that was just seasonal. Niagara Falls thrives mostly in the summer months. On closer inspection, it also looked a bit rundown. The food was still excellent, as was the service. No discount this time, but the bill was reasonable. Yes, it had certainly seen better days. We honestly never thought about it closing down though.
I’m a little sad tonight and filled with nostalgia.
[originally published April 2013]
Do you have a favourite “go to” spot?
Have you ever experienced the loss of a beloved place?