Please say it isn’t so
On 1 April 2022, I posted the following on Facebook with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek so far it looked like I had a golf ball wedged
and stuck in there. Still, I hooked some folks with the gag. Hey, it’s just because I’m the credible guy that I’m wont to be. I guess. Or, people are more gullible than I thought. Anyway, I had a good laugh for myself while waiting for a ferry to load. The post read:
“The word around the solid sources of the campfire in the Port of Galilee, is that the Dutch Inn will be restored to its grand and original design: parrots, pool, Dixieland Jazz, and best of all to keep up with current technology, a working windmill.” I figured I’d just post this for some April Fool’s yuks and see how many people I’d get to fall for the gag.
This post on that first day of April received 145 likes, along with 60 comments. Moreover, I noticed several of the people making comments completely fell for the post, which I had to edit, so it would read somewhat credibly and in the realm of possibility. For example, I had to take out the part regarding, “The new and improved Dutch Inn design will feature rooftop dining - year round - with an enclosed rooftop
Olympic-sized pool, which will be surrounded by an enormous tiki bar. Additionally, there will be a seagull feeding platform for the kids.” I figured that these sentences would be a total giveaway, and too over-the-top for the gag. Maybe not.
Most of the comments in the post dealt with the foul-mouthed parrots that hung in the trees around the swimming pool. (I remember being cursed out by them while swimming laps after work back in the day. Ahem, they were some salty parrots. Just sayin’.) One comment
dealt with a musician who fell into the pool during a gig. The band was set up right at the edge of the pool and a guy took a misstep and
ended up falling into the deep end; the guy couldn’t swim and he had to be hauled out by his band mates. There was another comment regarding what a waitress was required to wear: “The waitresses had to dress like a little Dutch girl: braided hair, puffy sleeves, an embroidered apron over a billowing yellow skirt.” The former URI student who posted this memory also mentioned that she was hired because she was “appropriately blond.” I vaguely remember these get-ups but it sounds just about right. The general tone of the Facebook comments regarding this old Galilee landmark were of a longing for what the place was like in its heyday. It was a truly nostalgic tone for what was once a fun place and a substantial and viable business, and perhaps the reason that several people fell for the gag was for the simple reason that they wanted to believe that my post was actually true. Quite frankly, I think all would agree that anything would be better than the blighted scene that stands there now. Time will tell.
Eventually, something will be done with this old and run down building; however, I wouldn’t even begin to speculate what will take shape on the property, which is currently a parking lot. Over the years there’s been lots of talk about what will become of this place; however, after all of my years working for the ferry company in Galilee I’ve learned to only believe things when I actually see them. A prime example of this is the bulkhead restoration that is now under way in Galilee harbor. There was a bit of chatter about this project last fall as the pilings and steel were showing up on trailers in the port. Subsequently, there is no chatter, but just the clatter of driven steel for the new bulkhead; the cranes are in place and the work is being done. Therefore, I believe what I’m seeing. On the other hand, until I see a wrecking ball and trucks removing the debris from this demolished old hotel site, I will believe that nothing that I hear is happening. ‘Nuff said about this. For more information on things actually happening in Galilee, see my recent column, “Cranes, Concrete, Wood and Steel.” Or, simply take a look for yourself the next time you’re at the ferry dock.
Regardless of the old memories garnered from my harmless and catchy April Fool’s gag, it seems like we will not be venturing backwards
to the simpler, halcyon days of the old Dutch Inn. Although we as people are generally nostalgic, perhaps we will always want to look back to these fond memories in time. But in the real world, we can’t replicate the past because the future is constantly in flux and charging forward. As a result, we must be objective and realistic for what will finally appear on this choice piece of property in the center of the Port of Galilee. Hopefully, whatever ends up on this site will serve the greater good for generations to come.
When the Dutch Inn was built in the late 60s, there was demand for hotel space in the port. In the ‘50s and ‘60s Galilee was hailed as the
Tuna Capital of the World. People would flock to the docks during the derby and ogle the giant tuna hung from a gallows frame and stay at the Dutch Inn. It was simply a supply-and-demand drill for a business like the Dutch Inn to succeed. And, it did. Decades later, we find a Galilee which is still evolving as a destination and a point of embarkation, and without question, the property where the old Dutch Inn now stands will morph into something. The million-dollar question is, what will it be? We’ll certainly see.