Unlike the infamous song "Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio" there's plenty to do any night of the week. And dining on the water or dancing on a moonlit night are just two of the attractions.
The Docks in International Park, directly across the Maumee River from downtown, is always a hot spot. The avenue of restaurants along the water provides something for everyone. Italian? Yep, at Zia's. Cajun? Yep, at Gumbo's. Mexican? That too at Tango's. You want seafood? No problem. There's the Real Seafood Co. And if you want American fare, try Navy Bistro. You can enjoy dining inside and still have a beautiful view.
But at this time of year, it's great to sup al fresco. It's one way to people watch, observe the boats as they dock for dinner and the water taxi that carts people from downtown. Or maybe just follow the ups and downs of the Martin Luther King, Jr., bridge as it opens for boats and then closes for vehicles, or watch as rowers paddle by in their shells. And you'll never know who you will run into, whether you are dining on one of the patios, sipping cocktails at one of the outdoor bars, or just strolling along the boardwalk.
Saturday night was busy as usual. Proud that the Docks is on their side of the river - the east side - were Amy Tansey and Frank Lavallee, dining at Tango's. Also enjoying Mexican fare were Dan and Barb Pindoley and Joe and Debbie Andriette of Waterville, there with Susan and Dave Frank of Maumee.
Just getting off their Dream Boat Annie vessel were Sally and Tim Goligoski, who brought Mary and Bob Ludwikowski and Lee and Steve Banks with them. Sally, Bob, and Lee are classmates from Rogers High School. They were headed to Zia's for dinner. On the patio at Navy Bistro were Susan and Panos Doukides.
Did I just see a bride in a white wedding gown stroll by? Yep. It was newlyweds Nicole Schultz and Billy Weiland II, who had just finished their vows at Cedar Creek Church. They were celebrating at Navy Bistro with family. The affair was intimate since Mr. Weiland, in the 101st Army Airborne that just returned home after seven months in Iraq, is headed back on the 18th. When he returns in November, they plan to have a big reception.
And was that another bride? Jessica Broadway and John Boyle were married at St. Rose Catholic Church that day and their reception was at Navy Bistro.
HUNGRY for more? Go across the Martin Luther King, Jr., bridge onto Summit Street and head north past the I-280 entrance, past Jamie Farr Park, Toledo Yacht Club, Point Place, and turn right at 131st Street. Keep on trucking past several yacht clubs till you can go no farther, and you will arrive at the River Cafe and Webber's restaurants on the Ottawa River.
At Webber's Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge, established in 1933, the place was packed indoors and out, and perch and walleye along with mussels and New England clam chowder, were the popular menu items. Of course, other fish dinners are great too, as are special additions such as chilled pickled beets. There is a menu for the kiddies. For those who are not seafood fans, the steaks and chicken are hard to beat. The buckets of beer, soda pop, varieties of long island ice teas and martinis, and the Webberita - a margie with cranberry juices and Chambord Raspberry liqueur, are a great way to wash it all down.
Some folks prefer the air-conditioned indoors without the bugs, but outdoorsy-types enjoy dining on the deck. Mike and Shelley Crossley were celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, Danielle Rego is gearing up for matrimonial bliss; her bachelorette party was on the deck. It was the only time her girlfriends could all get together before the Aug. 19 wedding.
Also enjoying the scene were Bob Taylor, Don and Patty McGraw, and Jim Serafin.
Looking over at the River Cafe next door, I spotted two best friends - Jeremy Vaughn and Josh Horner - fishing off the dock. But it was not for the fresh catch of the day: It was for fish to go in the Little Kids Viewing Pond at the Edgewater Bait and Tackle. The boys caught bullheads, carp, catfish, and blue gill too.
The River Cafe is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year so all the staff were in special anniversary T-shirts. And just like Webber's, the place was packed inside and out. On the upper deck were Michael and Ditte Galbraith, who had just returned from a trip to England and Denmark.
Waiting to be seated were Chuck and Marge Mendeljian of Temperence and Tom and Carolyn Tiettmeyer of Lambertville. Mrs. Tiettmeyer, who grew up in Cleveland, said they have lived in the Toledo area for several years and when any of their friends visit from big cities, they are always impressed with what Toledo has to offer: from the museum to the zoo to the symphony and opera to theater and more.
Patrons like the Mendeljians and the Tiettmeyers could choose from the standard fresh Lake Erie perch. However, other popular items include the lobster dinner, raw oysters, and the famous seafood stew. And for the turf lovers, there is always chicken or ribs.
Passing by the Edgewater Bait and Tackle, a cat prowled by the children's pond. Hmm. Maybe it planned to do some fishing.
ALL that great food. Need to burn a few calories in an enjoyable way? How about tripping the lights fantastic on an outdoor dance floor? Centennial Terrace in Sylvania, although not on the water, is a wonderful setting for dancing under the moonlight on a warm summer's night. Saturday night the Johnny Knorr Orchestra - The Music You Like The Way You Like To Hear It - drew more than 500 guests.
Maybe it's the giant terrazzo dance floor, the biggest outdoor dance floor of its kind in the country, that entices people to come. But more than likely it is the movielike setting with the dance floor in between the orchestra pit and gazebos surrounded by tables and twinkly lights on the trees. It just screams for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to whirl by. Like Jane Knorr, wife of band founder Johnny Knorr, said, "There's nothing like it."
Saturday night, with the Knorrs' son, Jerry, at the helm and his father, Johnny, a WWII veteran, by his side, the band and singer Gay Hobbs paid a special tribute to veterans, "The Music of the World War Two Generation." All veterans received half-price admission.
A special reveille of war tunes, including "Anchor's Aweigh," "Off We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder," "You're in the Army Now," "Halls of Montezuma," and more, was a grand salute to veterans from all services. "Amazing Grace" was a wonderful wrap up, but it was when everyone stood for "God Bless America" that the tears flowed. But "You're A Grand Old Flag" brought everyone back to a fun evening.
Guadalupe Flores, there with wife, Maria, wore his uniform from his days as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. The proud WWII veteran loves to dance when he is not running his barber shop. In November the Floreses, who have been in Toledo for nearly 58 years, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Veteran Bill Carpenter, there with wife, Gloria, has been coming to Centennial Terrace to dance for 52 years.
There just to enjoy listening to the tunes in the beautiful setting were Larry Nichols, a curator at the Toledo Museum of Art and his wife, Carol.
The crowd of diverse ages included amateur dancers, professionals, and several students from area ballroom dance studios, including Nita and Fred Harrington. The Harringtons get plenty of practice since they are members of the Cotillion Club for dancers. which has been around for more than 65 years. A recent club dance was co-hosted by the Harringtons at Belmont Country Club, where they are members.
So, with all the hustle and bustle in Toledo this week, if you're looking for something to do and you've been to the museum, the zoo, Tony Packo's, Fifth Third Field for the Mud Hens, and Highland Meadows for the Farr, take a break and see what everyone else see's as a fun place to be.